La Grande Roue, Paris, Circa 1900

Black and white view of La Grande Roue. Paris, circa 1900.

Price:  $3.00

There are a number of postcard views of this, La Grande Roue, though this is not one of them. It’s actually a printed card, postcard size, with nothing on the reverse. At the time of its construction, this mammoth wheel, measuring 328 feet tall (100 meters) was the largest in the world. It was disassembled in 1920. The buildings in the neighborhood really put the giant into perspective. See this Wikipedia link for some very interesting facts about the passenger cars.

Source:  Grande Roue de Paris. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grande_Roue_de_Paris (accessed October 25, 2020).

Café de Flore, Paris

Divided back, unused postcard. Circa 1920s. Publisher/printer:  Patras, 9 av. Marguerite, A Boulogne-Sèine, France.

Price:  $7.00

….un chocolat chaud et un croissant, s’il vous plaît.

We’re taking a mini-virtual vacation to the Café Flore (Flora Café), 172 boulevard St-Germain, for some relaxation and conversation – back to what appears to be the 1920s. After much clicking on videos recently, I’m taken with the idea that we could push the play button and have this scene come to life (!) But enlarge to get your imagination going on the stories evolving…..There’s the group of men on our left, one in uniform; the couple; the two girlfriends deep conversation; the two separate gentlemen in hats and overcoats; the woman with her young daughter, waiting for traffic to clear; the group of three who appear to have been caught in a delighted chance encounter; the man with hands in pockets at the curb; the man with the briefcase looking as if he’s hailing a cab; the others in blur, caught in motion, and those in the background or partial shadow; and last but not least, the contented-looking young woman at the second story window, arms folded, surveying the scene below.

Young Woman In Hanover, Pennsylvania

Photograph by John G. Feeser, Hanover, PA. Circa 1880s.

Size of photo:  About 4 x 6″       Size including cardboard frame:  About 5 x 7″

These are digital images, front and back, graciously donated by one of our readers. The family name that might belong to this beautiful young lady may be from among the following:

-Smith
-Myers
-Beitzel
-Underwood
-Wilt

Here’s to hoping someone will recognize this woman. But in any case, this is a lovely portrait showing wonderful details:  We wonder if this was taken for a special event, evidenced by the corsage of roses she wears on the left lapel of her coat, with its two large buttons perched on the other lapel. In peering at an enlargement, the writing on the top button, one feels, is almost readable. Beneath the coat, which is heavily gathered at the shoulders, is a bodice in velvet, gathered at the neck and likely waist, creating soft folds. The bodice is set off by a wide flowery ribbon at the neck, which is tied into a bow in back. Her wavy brown hair is parted down the middle, and is probably long but gathered up from behind. She gazes slightly up to her right, from clear blue or green eyes, underneath straight brows.

Félix Potin Calissons Box Top

Cardboard box top for Calissons from Félix Potin, Paris, France. Circa 1880 to 1910.

Price:  $17.00           Size:  About 8 and 1/2 x 3 and 3/4″

For the collector of antique items from the French company Félix Potin or for the collector of antique pastry ephemera, in general:   A cardboard box top from a box of calissons. A calisson is a french pastry with a distinctive shape that’s made from ground almonds – below are some beautiful examples:

And how nice that this box top has hung around this long, over 100 years and counting. Imagine the lovely presentation the pastries had made as a gift for someone, or just as a treat for the one who bought them. The date of the item is estimated to be from around 1880 to 1910 due to its gorgeous Art Nouveau style border. In the center is displayed an aerial view of the cookie factory that was located in La Villette, Paris, in the 19th arrondissement. The weight of the box, or perhaps just the pastries, was 500 grams or just over one pound. Scrawled across the top is,  “guides de la machine”  (machine guides) and another word, difficult to decipher. Whether this was somehow related to the factory (maybe written by someone that had worked there) or is evidence that the box had held small machine pieces after the cookies were gone, or is from something completely unrelated, we may never know.

Below, a wonderful article clipped from The Wichita Price Current dated October 30, 1899 about Félix Potin. Bravo, Félix!

Sources:  Félix Potin. n.d. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F%C3%A9lix_Potin (accessed October 23, 2020).

“images of calissons” Google.com search (accessed October 23, 2020).

“The Biggest Grocer’s Shop In The World.” The Wichita Price Current (Wichita, KS) October 30, 1899. Monday, p. 5. (Newspapers.com).

To Peter From Elizabeth

Postcard, unused, undivided back. May 25, 1907.

Price:  $7.00

A twin of the beauty in the prior post, it seems. 😉 The sender wrote:

“May-25-07.   Hello Pet. bet you cant take my picture and make it look like this. Elizabeth”

This woman is Elizabeth, right? Well, maybe from another lifetime. (Who could not relate to our sender’s wish to be a knock-out beauty from a different era?) The artist’s rendition reminds me of the French Aristocracy, maybe Marie-Antoinette, that particular blue of her gown, the powdered hair and complexion, the hat full of ostrich feathers…..

Addressed to:   “Mr. Peter. Meutnech – Jr., Ulster Hieghts, Ulster Co., N. Y.” 

Surprisingly, we didn’t find either Peter Jr. or Sr. in Ulster Heights or Ulster County, though there may well be a different spelling of the name in city directories and census records that we hadn’t thought of.

To Max Lutzner in NYC 1903

Postcard, undivided back. Postmarked from Goppingen, Germany, February 5, 1903. Printed in Germany.

Price:  $7.00

Another one in German. I can’t decipher the handwriting for this one either (Jeesh!) But we do know that it was sent to:

“Mister Max Lützner. 334 Est. 41 Street. New York, Amerika”

Max Lutzner was found in the city directories at 334 E. 41st in 1899.

Source:  Trow’s General Directory of the Boroughs of Manhattan and Bronx, City of New York. Vol. CXIL, for 1899. p. 806. Ancestry.com. U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995.