Clark’s O. N. T. Black Spool Cotton Trade Card

Trade card for Clark’s O.N.T. Spool Cotton. Lithograph, M & K Company. Circa  1880’s – 1890’s.

Price:  12.00                Size:  About 2 and 3/4 x 4 and 1/4″

“Across the line from pole to pole the children’s clothes depend upon it.”

A gorgeous design for this one and clever. It’s a windy day. (Those clothes will dry pretty quick!) Actually, it looks like a storm’s coming in – maybe a further illustration of the point – strong thread, strong enough to make a clothesline 😉 and withstand the storm. If the back had no wording and you were just looking at the shape, would it make you think of a spool of thread? Maybe so.

O.N.T. stands for Our New Thread. See Sources below.

At the bottom right the print reads, “Copyright Secured”  and at the bottom left is the lithographer name of M & K Co.

Major & Knapp

M & K was the very successful New York City lithography firm of Major & Knapp. The company began life as Sarony & Major, headed by lithographer, artist, draftsman (and later photographer), Napoleon Sarony. Major was James Major and then brother, Henry B. Major. The name then changed to Sarony, Major & Knapp (sometimes called Sarony & Co.) and then when Sarony left the firm in 1858, it became Major & Knapp, the full name of which seems to have been The Major & Knapp Engraving, Manufacturing and Lithographic Company, but we often see them as the Major & Knapp Co. and Major, Knapp & Co. And here it’s unclear whether that last was an actual name change or just sometimes reported incorrectly. Major were brothers Henry Broughman Major and Richard Major and Knapp was Joseph F. Knapp.

Sources:  Clark O.N.T. Thread. (accessed December 19, 2023).

Coats Group. n.d. (accessed December 19, 2023).

Napoleon Sarony. n.d. (accessed December 19, 2023).

Spooner, Ken. (2010). “The Knapps Lived Here.” Elm & McKinley Books, New York. books.

“Sarony, Major & Knapp:  New York City Lithographers.” (accessed December 16, 2023).

The National Archives and Records Administration; Washington, D.C.; Internal Revenue Assessment Lists for New York and New Jersey, 1862-1866; Series: M603; Roll: 56; Description: District 4; Monthly and Special Lists; June-Dec 1865; Record Group: 58, Records of the Internal Revenue Service, 1791 – 2006.

Holiday Wishes For Verna Watkins

Divided back, embossed postcard. Postmarked December 22, 1909, Dayton, Indiana. Printed in Germany.

Price:  $12.00

“Dear Verna – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Lizzie Goldsberry.”

Addressed to:   “Miss Verna Watkins, Lafayette Ind. R.F.D. No 4.”

Here’s our second angel-tree-deer postcard (see prior post). Our angel in this one is again barefoot in the snow, but this time with wings very visible, and it’s a beautiful scene with wonderful color variation for the snow…dolls in the deer’s “saddle” baskets…church and sunset in background.

There’s an Elizabeth A. Goldsberry showing up in 1909 in Lafayette, Indiana at R.F.D. 3 and she is probably the sender of this card, and a Peter with wife Lizzie at R.F.D. 24 in Dayton, Indiana from the same city directory record.

Verna Watkins, is probably the daughter of Ray and Sadie Watkins, who appears with her parents and older brother Ernest on the 1910 Federal Census for Perry Township, Tippecanoe County. According to this record Verna was born in Indiana, about 1899. Perry is located just north of Dayton, both being located in the Lafayette vicinity.

Sources:  R. L. Polk & Co.’s Lafayette Directory with Tippecanoe County, 1907. p. 538. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.

Year: 1910; Census Place: Perry, Tippecanoe, Indiana; Roll: T624_381; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0177; FHL microfilm: 1374394. (

H. Thompson’s Grand Soap

Trade Card for H. Thompson’s Grand Soap, Buffalo, NY. Lithographer:  Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY. Circa 1874 – 1890s.

Price:  $15.00           Size:  3 and 1/16 x 4 and 11/16″

“Ask your grocer for H. Thompson’s Grand Soap, Manufactured only by H. Thompson, 270 to 280 Perry, & 233 to 241 Chicago St., Buffalo, N.Y.”

Here’s a gorgeous card in peach and blue of a little girl holding her doll, and standing in front of a wooden trellis upon which a flowering vine is supported. Though the card says “over” at the bottom right, there is nothing on the reverse. This is another card by Gies & Co.

Hugh Thompson, soap and candle manufacturer

According to his obituary appearing in the Buffalo Commercial, “Mr. Thompson was born in Carhill, Ireland, February 29, 1824. He came to this country with his parents as a young boy. After spending about two years in parts of New York state and Ohio, the family settled in Buffalo in 1833.”

Hugh Thompson manufactured soap and candles (and was a dealer in soap making supplies) at the corner of Perry and Chicago streets in Buffalo for around thirty-seven years. He and his wife, Rebecca (Bell) Thompson, also native of Ireland, had four children, Mary, William, Louisa and Clara, all born in New York. Hugh died April 1, 1905 at his home in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Per the below 1881 Buffalo city directory ad, the business was established in 1853:

A kind-hearted man

Where was Carhill, Ireland? It’s not found on a present-day map, but may have been the same “townsland” mentioned in The Guardian (London, England) news clipping from 1858, shown below:

Sources:   The Courier Co.’s Buffalo City Directory, 1881. pp. 173, 656. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. (

“Obituary. Hugh Thompson.” The Buffalo Commercial, April 3, 1905. Monday, p. 5. (

Year: 1880; Census Place: Buffalo, Erie, New York; Roll: 828; Family History Film: 1254828; Page: 8C; Enumeration District: 119. (

Hugh Thompson. Memorial # 75112709.

“Counties Of Wexford And Carlow.” The Guardian, (London, England) June 8, 1858. Tuesday, p. 1. (

Another TJ Tourist RPPC

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Divided back, unused with writing, Real Photo Postcard. Circa late 1940s or 1950s.

Price:  $7.00

“See my Straw Mule. Wellie look like he was drunk but he wasn’t. J.T. is about ready to take off. ha ha.”

A group of four tourists in sombreros and serapes, the one gentleman is astride a donkey (no stripes this time) wearing a sombrero. I don’t get the reference to the straw mule. Maybe somebody out there does and can comment. The younger woman holds a woven straw doll, though. Click on the image to enlarge. And how do you like the use of “wellie” for “well he” or is Wellie a nickname for either of the guys in the photo?

Ruth E. Dimond, Stamford CT, 1905

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“This is not a little boy but your friend. Ruth E. Dimond. March 29/05.”

An oval photo of Ruth, on the porch steps, in double-breasted caped coat with belt and cap. Just behind her to her left you can see her doll. (Awww!)

Addressed to:   “Miss Nellie Irene Hexamer, 48 Grove Street, Stamford, Conn.”

Well, the sender believed in being detailed! (What with the name, and assuming that Ruth was probably her daughter, and then the addressee’s first, middle and last name.) And that’s good for us.

Though Ruth’s last name is a little hard to read on the postcard, she was easily found in the 1910 Federal Census for Norwalk, CT, along with her family. This census shows:  Charles J. Dimond, age 43, born in CT about 1867, occupation Superintendent at a Corset Factory; his wife, Nora J[?]. Dimond, same age, also born in CT; Ruth E., age 7, born about 1903 in CT; Harriet C., age 4, born about 1906 in CT; and Annie Kovac, “Servant” age 35, born about 1875 in Hungary.

As for Nellie Irene Hexamer, she is the daughter of Adolf C. and Nellie Hexamer, and found on the 1920 Federal Census for Stamford at the address given on the postcard, along with Nellie Irene’s younger brother Adolf. Nellie Irene is listed as Irene on this census, born about 1901 in CT, so Ruth and Nellie Irene must have been playmates.

Price:  $15.00

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Norwalk, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: T624_130; Page: 8B; Enumeration District: 0100; FHL microfilm: 1374143. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Stamford Ward 4, Fairfield, Connecticut; Roll: T625_179; Page: 17B; Enumeration District: 174; Image: 577. (

A Singer For The Girls

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Trade card. Circa 1910 – 1914.  Publisher unknown, Form 1653.   Size:  5 and 1/4 x 3 and 1/2″

Price:  $15.00

True, this trade card is not in the best of shape, with some major creasing at the top right, and the name Ella written in childlike handwriting on the front and back (Ella Ellison.) But as of the date of this posting, there do not appear to be any others showing online (though Pinterest shows an ad of the same design that contains some added wording and appears in brighter colors.) Anyway, the front shows a charming illustration of a little girl in pink, seated at a small wooden table, sewing on the Singer 20. Her dolly in high chair is keeping her company, as well as her toy monkey (looking rather politically incorrect) who is seated on the table. The front of the card reads:

“A Singer for the Girls. Not a Toy But A Practical Singer Sewing Machine. Price $3.00.”

The back shows:   “The Singer ’20’  Practical and Instructive. Useful and Amusing. Price $3.00”  and an illustration of the machine with a girl’s face in the center.

Here are two excellent websites regarding this model:   Alex I. Askaroff’s,  The Sewalot Site and  ISMACS International.

According to Alex Askaroff, the Singer 20 was made at the Elizabeth factory in New Jersey, starting around 1910. It was first billed as a toy, but those in charge must have quickly realized the value of marketing for adults as well. (See the second link for the illustration of the machine fitting in the palm of the hand.) Later called the Sewhandy, production ran all the way until the 1970s, with some changes along the way, of course. The original name came from it’s being the 20th unique machine after Isaac Singer’s very first model No.1 (awarded patent No.1 in 1851). The Singer 20 was the most popular of any toy sewing machine, came in different colors, was copied by other manufacturers after patents ran out, sold worldwide and manufactured in other countries. This particular trade card is said to be pre-WWI.

Sources:  Askaroff, Alex I., “Singer Toy Sewing Machine.”  Sewalot. Web accessed May 17, 2015.

“Singer No. 20.”  ISMACS International. Web accessed May 17, 2015.

Girls And Doll

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Divided back, unused, Real Photo Postcard. AZO stamp box. Circa 1907 – 1918.

Price:  $5.00

Awwww! A Real Photo Postcard showing two little girls, sisters no doubt, standing just inside the doorway to their house. Maybe they were at the side or back door because the entrance way seems a bit narrow. We can see the flowered pattern of some curtains in the background. And notice the rustic look of door and frame – hopefully, that door is still intact somewhere….But, back to the girls – they can’t be any cuter. The older one, age maybe about age five, holds her dolly and smiles into the camera. Her younger sister, maybe about two or three, gazes off to her left, and is holding her baby bottle.

The date of the postcard can be estimated with help from the AZO stamp box that shows all four triangles pointing up, which estimates 1904 – 1918, and the fact that it’s a divided back which puts it at least at 1907. But for me, I get the feeling that it may have been taken in the latter half of the 1910s.

A Christmas Wish

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Divided back, artist-signed, used postcard, embossed border. Artist and publisher unknown. Postmarked December 16th, year unknown. Sent from Dover, Massachusetts? Circa 1910 – 1920.

Price:  $15.00

“A Merry Christmas and a

Happy New Year, Your Pockets

full of Money and your Hearts full of Cheer.”

Here’s a stunning card; the colors are gorgeous! (I love the pale pink and orange variation of the upper background.) It shows a mother, father and daughter, all very fashionably dressed; time-frame about mid-19th century; on their way, with wrapped presents in hand, to bring the above good wishes and cheer for Christmas. This appears to be an artist-signed card that would have been produced from a painting or drawing (how to determine the artist’s media?) however the signature, at the bottom right, is not readable. The family has that look of being “caught on camera,” as if this were a photo. As for the date of the card, the postmarked year is missing. Hopefully the addressee’s information will be able to reveal a likely time-frame. The card is addressed to:  “Mrs. L. Estelle SinClair, Pleasantdon, California.”

According to the 1920 Federal Census, Louise E. Sin Clair, born about 1883 in Massachusetts, was married to Rutherford F. Sin Clair, born about 1882 in Canada, occupation carpenter. They were living in Pleasanton on Pleasantree Avenue at this time. The 1930 census shows the couple have an adopted 8-year-old son, Gordan Sinclair, born in California. On the 1930 Rutherford R. is now listed as Frederick R. Sinclair, (a very common occurrence for the middle and first names to show up as switched around at various times) and his occupation is building contractor. The message from the sender reveals, heart-breakingly, that Estelle had lost a child, and that Cora was offering her support and caring wishes, would write a letter and was also sending a little present. Per the 1910 Federal Census the couple was residing in Pleasanton, so this postcard is probably from about 1910 – 1920.

The couple’s record of marriage shows that Frederick Rutherford Sinclair and Louise Estelle Jewett were married September 1, 1909 in Ipswich, Massachusetts. The groom was born in Scotch Ridge, New Brunswick and his parents were Dougald B. Sinclair and Margaret Babb. The bride was born in Ipswich, and her parents were Stephen Jewett and Mary E. Hall.

Sources:  Year: 1910; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: T624_72; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0153; FHL microfilm: 1374085. (

Year: 1920; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: T625_92; Page: 10B; Enumeration District: 207; Image: 369. (

Year: 1930; Census Place: Pleasanton, Alameda, California; Roll: 112; Page: 7A; Enumeration District: 0340; Image: 131.0; FHL microfilm: 2339847. (

“Massachusetts, Marriages, 1841-1915,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 16 December 2014), Frederick Rutherford Sinclair and Louise Estelle Jewett, 01 Sep 1909; citing p 464 no 63, Ipswich, , Massachusetts, State Archives, Boston; FHL microfilm 2,315,509.