Saturday, April 11, 2015

page 117 -- celebrate color! Saratoga Hammock by Travers Bros.; Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann

updated 8 January 2016
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COLOR! When color was absent from most magazines and magazines had low, mostly urban readership, trade cards were the unique and unusual. You can get a taste of the offerings of the magazines of the time at The Magazine Museum. Until color became common in magazines, the color of the advertising trade cards displayed in the Arnold Collection dazzled the public and made trade cards the preferred mode for sales stimulation.

This could have been a cut-out from a D.M. Ferry seed catalog.

From Digital Commonwealth, the back of the card:

mfg. by Travers Bros. 107 Duane St., NYC
Another card back from the British Museum  elaborates on some of the features that made these hammocks better than their competition:


Google Books has an interesting description of the business from the following source:




Thanks to YouTube, we learn hammocks aren't just for humans!





According to  The Color Explosion by Jay T. Last (Hillcrest Press, 2005),
"By the mid-1800's Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann [publisher of the Saratoga Hammock card above] had become one of the largest American lithographic firms. They did a wide variety of work, including advertising posters, pamphlets and reproductions of oil and watercolor paintings. In the 1880's and 1890's Mayer Merkel & Ottmann shared the honor with the Donaldson Brothers of being the largest American trade card producers. In contrast to most trade card lithographers, Mayer, Merkel & Ottmann made practically no stock cards, but instead produced specially designed cards for individual advertisers. The varied designs documented everyday life in America."
From the Library of Congress comes this interesting historical lithograph and explanation published by Mayer, Merkel & Ottman:

"Illustration shows Senator Roscoe Conkling, leader of the Stalwarts group of the Republican Party, playing a puzzle game. All blocks in the puzzle are the heads of the potential Republican presidential candidates, among them Grant, Sherman, Tilden, and Blaine. Conkling rests his head on one hand and the other on Blaine's "head" as though ready to move it to the empty space in the box."
If you can find any information on the artist, "J.A. Wates," please comment below or email me. Thanks!


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