Cranberry Harvesting

Looking down into a cranberry bog.

Cranberries grow on low lying vines planted in bogs composed of peat soil topped with a layer of sand.  After planting, the first crop is ready for harvesting in 3-4 years. They are harvested in the fall from mid-September until mid-November. A closeup of a cranberry bog ready for harvest is shown above. There is a closely grown mat of green vines and red berries.

Most of these cranberry postcards were published from the mid-1950s until the 1970s, so some of the information and views  shown are outdated. The majority are from Massachusetts, the state that was formerly the largest cranberry producer. Wisconsin has been the leading producer since 1995.  Approximate current percentages of cranberry production by state are Wisconsin 63%, Massachusetts 24%, New Jersey 7%, Oregon 4%, and Washington 2%.

Sign ar Edaville Station — Edaville, So. Carver, Mass.

There are two methods of harvesting cranberries: wet and dry. Dry harvested cranberries are sold as fresh fruit and are most often used for cooking and baking. Dry harvesting formerly used hand held scoops like the ones shown below on the next postcards. The N.C.A. letters on the crates stand for National Cranberry Association.

Frosty September nights and Indian Summer days color the cranberry to a rich, ruby red and the cranberry harvest is on, scooping from the low-lying vines in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Washington, and Oregon. Circa 1950s.

Cranberry bog at picking time, Cape Cod, Mass. Originally published 1954.

Harvesting cranberries on Cape Cod. (when Massachusetts produced about 50% of the national cranberry crop.

Cranberry picking time, Cape Cod, Mass.

The next postcard has a handwritten “Cape Cod Christmas Carol” (to the tune of O Christmas Tree) on the back:

O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
All gourmets, they know ya
O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
To think dear Cape Cod grows ya.
The finest fruit twas ever grown
Yes, you deserve a heavenly throne.
O Cranber-Ree, O Cranber-Ree
Thy taste is just Ambrosia

Cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod.

Picking Cranberries on Cape Cod. postmarked 1968

A typical “Cape Cod” Bog with pump house which is used when flooding is necessary. The old fashioned SCOOP as shown has now been replaced by a mechanical picker.

The next postcard shows both the older and newer methods of dry harvesting. The newer method uses  mechanical pickers resembling lawnmowers to comb the berries off the vines.

Replacing the picturesque wooden hand scoop are various types of mechanical picking machines.

Cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod with a mechanical cranberry picking machines.

Cranberry harvesting in Northern Wisconsin.

Wet harvesting is used for the majority of the cranberries. Wet harvested cranberries are used for juices, sauces, sweetened dried cranberries, and ingredients in processed foods. The bogs are flooded with water and  water reels, nicknamed “egg beaters”, are used to stir up water and loosen the cranberries from the vine. Cranberries have air pockets inside  which allow the berries to float to the surface of the water. The floating berries are then rounded up  with a boom

Wet cranberry harvesting on Cape Cod, Massachusett

Wet cranberry harvesting in northern Wisconsin. In this scene the water reel picks the fresh berries from the vines.

Wet cranberry harvesting in Washington state. Berries are loaded on trucks by conveyor for transportation to processing plant near Long Beach, Wash.

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Photo Enthusiasts

:pwer Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan's Upper Peninsula

The camera enthusiast can have a “field day” when visiting the Majestic Tahqamenon River.

I took the title of this post “Camera Enthusiasts” from the caption on the postcard of  Lower Tahquamenon Falls in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. One of the main attractions of postcard collecting is that collectors can collect any topic that they wish and categorize their collections in any way desired. Other collectors might file a postcard like this under Michigan, waterfalls, or families. I file it under the topic of “People with Cameras.” This is a rather narrow topic, but enough examples exist to make it fun .

I think that postcard views that include people as observers or participants are more interesting than plain views, and the “People with Cameras” category is a subcategory of that. Seeing people in the scene invites my vicarious viewing and participation.

One can’t really search for this topic, so collecting it is mainly a matter of recognizing it when one sees it. Sometimes the photographer is obvious, and sometimes it is just a tiny figure among many in the scene. Some variations show the camera person shooting a group of people, a scenic attraction, an unusual natural phenomenon, posed in front of a man made attraction, or at a spot designed for  tourist picture taking.

Here are a couple of views of what I assume are families posing in a wide angle view:

White House Sightseeing Tours of Washington, D. C.

El Capitan, Yosemite National Park, California-.

an sutumn scene at Peacham, Vermont

The inclusion of people can help establish the scale of the main subject of the postcard, as in the following examples.

The world’s largest and most photographed cacti are the Giant Saguaro of Arizona.

Old Faithful, one of the larger petrified logs in the Rainbow Forest of Petrified Forest National Monument is a popular backdrop for snapshots.

Balanced Rock in Texas

Entrance to world famous Silver Springs in Florida

The Pioneer Woman Statue, the “most photographed statue in the Southwest” at Ponca City, Oklahoma, symbolizes the spirit of frontier women whose energy and faith helped turn the wilderness into wonderland.

Next I have two postcard views that I can especially relate to, because they are from places that I have visited and photographed myself.

The Public Gaol at Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia,  a restoration and re-creation of an 18th-century colonial American city.

Glacier Park railroad station at Glacier National Park in Montana.

I never went on a road trip to a National Park back when feeding the bears was a common practice among tourists. If I had done so about 50-60 years ago, I might have had an opportunity to photograph some traffic stopping begging bears like the ones on the next postcards.

Bear Beggars in Yellowstone National Park. These bears have become so tame they waylay the motorists begging for handouts.

Mother and bear cubs on Logan Pass Highway, in Glacier National Park, Montana.

My final card is one of my favorites. I think it is the most fun, and it also features the type of roadside attraction that I like to collect.

Hansel and Gretel,
The Gingerbread Castle
Hamburg, New Jersey

I hope you have enjoyed this Photo Enthusiasts tour. To see more camera related posts, visit Sepia Saturday 393.

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To the Loved Ones at Home

This week’s Sepia Saturday 389 prompt, which shows a young girl sitting at at a desk writing, has given me a good excuse to post one of my favorite old postcards. My  postcard above shows a cute little girl writing a post card to her “dear Father and Mother.” This postcard not only shows a cute little girl, but embodies two of my favorite postcard collecting themes: postcards about postcards and letter writing. In addition, the little girl reminds me of my mother’s childhood, when big hair bows were the style for little girls, and my childhood, when I had a play letter writing set with fake stamps.

Another related theme is what I call “To the Loved Ones at Home” or “To My Dear…” Several different postcard publishers issued series with cards especially for various family members, “dearest friends,” sweethearts, etc. These postcards featured designs made up of large letters and colorful flowers. A few of these cards are shown below.


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Will Bradley Bicycle Art

© SandyVal Graphics Ltd. 1966, C14. 6″ X 8½”

Here are two oversized postcards with reproductions of Will Bradley’s posters  advertising Victor Bicycles made by Overman Wheel Company. These are part of a series of “Art Nouveau and Turn-of-the Century Posters in miniature by Sandy Val, New York 10022.” My cards are somewhat discolored, because I originally had them taped to my walls.

© SandyVal Graphics Ltd. 1968, C46. 6″ X 9″

Both bicycles and posters were big fads in the 1890s, and they both showed a reawakening of interest in the late 1960s. Will Bradley, who was one of the top graphic artists of the 1890s, designed these Victor Bicycle posters ca. 1895. Bradley’s  graphic art was influenced both by Art Nouveau and Arts and Crafts styles.

The second bicycle poster design shown above was also printed in Black and white.

Victor bicycles. source: New York Public Library Digital Collections.

Bradley was known for his typography as well as his illustration skills. The examples below show off some of his typography done for the Overman Wheel Co. 1899 catalog. These designs are nearly all composed of a simple type, but Bradley was also skilled in unifying decorative types with images.

Victor Bicycles, MDCCCXCIX. Catalog of the Overman Wheel Co., designed by Will Bradley. source:

The Overman Wheel Company was  forced out of business after 1899 due to cheaper bicycles flooding the market. The American cycling boom was over by 1902, when bicycle sales were reduced to a quarter of their previous peak.

Visit Sepia Saturday 383 for more bicycle inspired posts.


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Slovak Catholic Sokol

This postcard commemorates the XXIII Slet of the Slovak Catholic Sokol that was held at Morton West High School Stadium in Berwyn, Illinois on July 23, 1967. A sokol is a Slavic gymnastic society aiming to promote a communal spirit and physical fitness, and a slet is a mass gymnastic festival.

The Sokol movement originated in Prague in 1862 to promote physical fitness. It spread to other regions populated by Slavic cultures, and early Czech immigrants brought the Sokol movement to the United States.

The early Sokol movement was nonsectarian. In the early twentieth century, Catholic Slovak immigrants formed a Sokol group for Catholics. The Slovak Catholic Sokol is an Athletic Fraternal Benefits Society. It offers insurance protection and promotes physical fitness among its members through various programs and activities.

The following text is from the back of the postcard:


The Slovak Catholic Sokol affords its members, juniors and seniors, the opportunity to participate in gymnastics, track and field events, and other body-building sports.  —  Join our Organization today and enjoy these benefits at no extra cost.



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Colorful Mid-Century GE Kitchen Appliances

In the 1950s, color was  the newest trend in kitchen appliances. Nowadays, it is hard to find appliances with any real color. These advertising postcards all show GE appliances from the mid- to late-1950s. The dates have been estimated from similar ads featured in print publications. Below each image is the text from the back of that card.

The first four cards are standard size. They show “Built-in” and “Color-Style” kitchens “for Living.”  These are circa 1955-1956.

Built-In Kitchens — for Living . . . This kitchen created a sensation when it was featured editorially in America’s largest circulation magazine. To the left is G-E’s new Elexctric Kitchen Center combining washer-dryer, Disposall, dishwasher and range under a one-piece stainless counter top. At the right is the wall refrigerator-freezer which hangs on the wall like a picture.


Built-In Kitchens — for Living . . .Here is advance design in kitchen appliances available today. In the upper left is the new wall type refrigerator-freezer5; the right wall is the Electric Kitchen Center with automatic washer-dryer, Disposall, dishwasher and range under a one-piece stainless steel top. An auziliary wall oven is at the right.


Color-Style Kitchens — for Living . . . Turquoise is today’s most popular kitchen color. Note the built-in oven and the convenient range surface units. The lower part of the refrigerator is a big 4 Cu. Ft. freezer. Turquoise is one of General Electric’s new Mix-or-Matche colors, the others being Canary Yellow, Petal Pink, Cadet Blue and Woodtone Brown.


Color-Style Kitchens — for Living . . .Here is an example of kitchen compactness, enhanced in beauty with G-E’s new Mix-or-Matche colors. This one-wall arrangement includes Disposall, Dishwasher, Space-Maker Range, Refrigerator and ample cabinet area. Canary Yellow is a warm color, ideal for kitchens facing north or west.


The postcards below are circa 1958 and are wider than standard size, measuring 3½ x 6¼ inches.


GARDEN PARTY KITCHEN . . . This kitchen brings the magic of an enchanting vacation right into your home. Bright with brilliant tropical beauty-brimming with livability and elegant ease. A room in which to work culinary wonders — a holiday-everyday haven for gracious living.


MERRIE MANOR KITCHEN . . . An around-the-clock room that offers informal fun for the entire family. Beside the handy anack counter there’s a hi-fi setting, desk area — everything for hours of enjoyment — a kitchen where the “cook” can be a part of the party.


NAUTICAL ‘N NICE KITCHEN . . . New active leisure in this sun-blessed companion-kitchen. Yes, it’s a delightful companion for doing, because it’s filled with work-saving wizardry for free and easy living. Great as all outdoors for get-togethers with all its wonderful go-togethers.

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Vend-a-Kard Postcards

Vend-A-Kard postcards were introduced in 1949. They were postcards made to be sold in sets from vending machines. The Vend-A-Kard name, shown above was printed at the bottom of the message section on the back of the card.

I found two brief articles about Vend-a-Kards that were published in Billboard Magazine on the Internet. The first article is dated July 16, 1949 and is titled Vend-a-Kard to Intro New Automatic Post Card Unit. An automatic console post card vender, developed by O. W. Wahlstrom of Texas, which displayed 32 full-color cards was being introduced by Vend-a-Kard, Inc. Four postcards appeased simultaneously in framed windows on the face of the vender. The four cards remained stationary for 3½ seconds, then changed to the second series and so on thru the 32-card total. Customers could deposit 25 cents¢ in coins o obtain a packet containing five (?) cards. The cards displayed in each window formed complete sets so that the customer could choose his packet by pushing the delivery button corresponding to the window display.

The Vend-a-Kard company was planning to follow a procedure of franchising operators and then making up special card series for the operator’s particular locale. The first series of scenic postcards was expected to be tested in New Orleans. The July 16 article described a vender that was 63 inches high. The second article, dated October 1, 1949, described a 14 inches high counter card vender, selling packets of eight cards for 25 cents. The company intended to have a national consumer advertising program, but it is not known how many locales actually sold the Vend-a-Kards or for how long.

Below are two unused Florida Vend-a-Kards that I have found. The cards are numbered in the lower left corner of the back. The Billboard articles implied that the cards were to be made by facilities of McCormick-Armstrong, Wichita, Kansas. However, the backs of these postcards state that they were made by Mercury Lithographing company of Miami, Florida.

vintag Miami Beach postcard


123 FLORIDA MOTEL – Where modest vacations are spent in luxurious surroundings.


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