Friday, May 30, 2014

Object of the Day: A Trade Card for Universal Stoves and Ranges


I especially like this trade card, and I’m sure you can guess why.  As is typical of these little Victorian advertising cards, there’s a little, pink-cheeked tot in a scene which has nothing whatsoever to do with the product being sold.  In this case, the little girl (I’m fairly certain this one’s a girl) is cuddled up on an ample silk pillow, holding a doll of our Mr. Punch.  He wears a colorful costume, and though he does not have his usual large, red nose, he is clearly Punch.

At the corner of the obverse is printed, “Universal Stoves and Ranges.”  There’s no connection between this scene and the product.  But, who cares? These cards were meant to appeal to the people who could afford to buy a stove.  They were meant to be collected for their attractiveness and serve as a reminder of what was being marketed.  So, I would say it was a job well done.

The reverse shows an image of a globe (to reinforce the universal aspect, I suppose) which bears the company’s logo.

It reads:

Wolf’s Furniture House
Carries a Complete Stock of


150, 152, 154, 156 Blue Island Ave.

Chicago, Ill.

Well, that was a pretty big store; it seems to have covered a large span of the street.  Let’s see if we can find a picture of what it looked like. 

Here’s the street—Blue Island Avenue—about the time this card was printed.

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