The Leaf – White Sewing Machine Trade Card

Leaf tc

Trade card in leaf shape for White Sewing Machines. Circa 1886.

Price:  $20.00        Size:  About 3 x 4″

Beautiful leaf trade card in shades of green, red and gold, for White Sewing Machines. This is the second trade card for White appearing on this website. The wonder of it though, is how this paper leaf survived this amazingly well through the years, only showing a small fold on the right-hand side. (The card is the leaf itself; the yellow background was just for scanning purposes.) The White was immensely popular, with it’s factory in Cleveland at 10 and 40 Canal St. and sales office at 57 and 59 Euclid Ave. The company shipped not only all over the United States and Canada, but also had a large overseas market. The statement here of 100,000 machines being sold yearly would be the best clue as to this card’s date. A couple of old publications help to somewhat define the time-period. An 1879 issue on Cleveland Industry states “from July 1876 to the eve of 1878, the demand for the White Sewing Machine has increased from ten or twelve per day to one hundred and fifty or two hundred per day…”  An 1886 publication on Cleveland manufacturers and merchants states that the factory on Canal St. was a “substantial building, nearly 500 feet long, 50 feet wide, and four to six stories high, with a capacity of manufacture of three hundred sewing-machines per day.”  So, perhaps this card was printed somewhere around year 1886.

Sources:  Industries of Cleveland:  Trade, Commerce and Manufactures for the Year 1878. Published by Richard Edwards, Cleveland, 1879. Pages 107-108. (Google eBooks)

Leading Manufacturers and Merchants of the City of Cleveland and Environs. A Half Century’s Progress. 1836-1886. International Publishing Co., 102 Chambers St., New York, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago. Page 76. (Google eBooks)


Foster’s Molasses Candy Trade Card

Fosters tc

Victorian Era trade card

Price:  $15.00        Size:  2 and 5/8 x 4 and 1/16″

Foster’s Un-X-Ld Old Fashioned Molasses Candy. Made Daily at 244 Essex St., Salem, Mass. Nothing has been found online so far regarding this company. Perhaps a Salem, Mass library has information. The subject matter is a little unusual, I think:  A compact beautiful little lady kissing a doll. Due to the size of the flowers she wears, and the leaves at the bottom of her dress, it’s possible that she is supposed to be a flower fairy. But whatever the artist had in mind, this is a really cool trade card. The term “un-x-ld” stands for unexcelled, as in none better!

Gilmore Blu-Green Gasoline Trade Card

Gilmore Lion tc frontGilmore Lion tc back

Not being raised on the West Coast, and not being a collector of petroliana, I had never heard of Gilmore Oil until researching this trade card, (or possibly had but hadn’t payed enough attention) but have since discovered a lot of fascinating information. I am just including some things here that I’ve learned from other websites, to go along with this trade card post. The Gilmore Oil Company was based out of Los Angeles, California, and started by Arthur Fremont Gilmore. A.F. Gilmore owned and operated a 256-acre farm, near the La Brea Tar Pits and found oil (that makes sense) while drilling for more water for his dairy herd. A.F.’s son, E.B. (Earl Bell) joined his father, and became chief executive of the company, and a master at promoting and marketing. The company, among other things, sponsored race cars, airplanes, boats, motorcycles, had it’s own sort of traveling circus, a radio show, and a lion cub mascot named “Gilmore” who flew thousands of miles as “co-pilot” in a company plane. The pilot was Roscoe Turner (lots already written about Roscoe and Gilmore, the cub. See below for sources.) And Gilmore Oil was highly successful. According to the Farmer’s Market website ( ” A.F. Gilmore and his son, Earl Bell (E.B.) turned their Gilmore Oil Company into the largest distributor of petroleum products in the Western U.S.”  Why does a farmer’s market website have facts about an oil company? Because the Gilmore land that was once dairy farm, then oil field, eventually became the site of a farmer’s market, and that is another whole story.

More interesting stuff:  Gilmore the cub logged over 25,000 air miles, and is said to have been the inspiration for MGM’s “Leo” the lion. E.B. Gilmore is said to have been the first to offer a self-service gas station. And the company’s radio show called “The Gilmore Circus” featured “Blu-Green, the longest song in the world.”  It was advertised as such since every week, a new verse on the excellence of Blu-Green gasoline was added, chosen from hundreds? that had been submitted by the public. Winners were awarded weekly and monthly prizes.

Price:  $45.00   AVAILABILITY STATUS:  SOLD – No longer available


Images of America, Los Angeles’s Original Farmer’s Market by David Hamlin and Brett Arena. Copyright 2009 by A.F. Gilmore Company. Published by Arcadia Publishing. (googlebooks online)

Airspace blog post by Allan Janus, Dec. 27, 2010 (

Another great post to read on the subject of Roscoe and Gilmore: “Rosco and ‘Gilmore the Lion’ – March 13, 2013” at Robert Novell’s Third Dimension Blog. (

Princess Louise


Nellie H. Bonney trade card showing a beautiful print of Her Royal Highness, the Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. Miss Bonney can be found in various Haverhill, Massachusetts city directories and also on the 1880 Federal Census taken in Haverhill, showing her occupation as milliner,  and born about 1844. To the bottom right of the drawing is the lithographer’s last name and location:  Bufford, Boston. This print was produced by John Henry Bufford (1810-1870) an artist, lithographer, and publisher of prints. It is uncertain who was the actual artist of this work.

Trade Card. Nellie H. Bonney, Milliner. Haverhill, Mass. Circa 1880 – 1885.

Price:  $25.00     Size:  About 2 and 5/8 x 4 and 1/2″

Sources:  Princess Louise, Duchess of Argyll. n.d.,_Duchess_of_Argyll. (accessed November 14, 2015).

John Henry Bufford. n.d. (accessed November 14, 2015).

Year: 1880; Census Place: Haverhill, Essex, Massachusetts; Roll: 529; Family History Film: 1254529; Page: 25D; Enumeration District: 182; Image: 0476. (