The Daily Postcard No. 24

I showed you an early postcard produced by Bamforth & C0. Ltd a couple of days ago, so today we take a look at a more typical Bamforth production from the Great War years. 

James Bamforth had begun a company producing slides for ‘magic lanterns’ (look ’em up) in the late 19th Century which, by 1900, had developed into postcards, and which by 1910 had seen the introduction of the saucy seaside postcard that Bamforths were to become famous for, similar examples of which you can still buy today.

Unique to Bamforths was the introduction of what was a novel concept to the postcard industry at the time, that of producing cards in sets, which in turn directly led to the rise of the deltiologist (that’ll be me, then) as people searched for full sets of these cards.

By the end of the Great War, Bamforths had produced some 20 million postcards and were market leaders in the United Kingdom; their heyday would be the 1960s, by which time they would be market leaders across the world.

James Bamforth had also made fourteen silent films around the turn of the century; in 1913 he returned to making films and within two years had produced a further one hundred, surpassing even Hollywood in quantity and, they say, in quality too.  The Great War eventually put paid to the film-making side of the business, and production would not restart after the Armistice.

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13 Responses to The Daily Postcard No. 24

  1. Sid from Down Under says:

    There’s only one word for the loving looks ….”Ahhh”

    Who doesn’t know what is a magic lantern? I also have some 3 1/2 inch square Val Morgans (Google it) cinema glass advertising slides – our local cinema used to throw them out into a rubbish bin and we kids would rummage through to find all sorts of exciting stuff

  2. Morag Sutherland says:

    I will send you an email ………..

  3. Margaret Draycott says:

    No idea Sid what is a magic lantern? Can you do anything with those slides now.
    I like that postcard quite poignant .

  4. Nick Kilner says:

    A very nice set indeed. Did you manage to acquire them as a set or did you have to seek them out individually?
    Be a bit depressing if you only got to number three lol

    • Magicfingers says:

      I managed to get them as a set. I have quite a lot of Bamforth sets. Some in mint condition. However, some Bamforth are actually sets of three, not four, and it causes all sorts of problems, because they don’t have ‘1 of 2’ or ‘3 of 4’ or similar on the back, so you don’t actually know, without serious research, whether you are looking for a fourth card to complete a set, or not. Does that make sense? This set is actually one of my two favourite Bamforths, and it will reoccur at some point in a different guise.

  5. Margaret Draycott says:

    So it would seem magic lanterns was a pop group from the 60’s-70’s but not a very successful one although some of its members went onto greater things.
    Val Morgan’s appear to be glass advertising slides used in the cinemas of yesteryear.

    And apart from all that I love this set of postcards call me sentimental but found them quite moving.

    • Magicfingers says:

      Evening M. I’m with you – I think these are great cards which is why you shall see more in due course. Sid will now explain about magic lanterns.

  6. Margaret Draycott says:

    Evening yourself M….. that’s good I look forward to seeing them, my favourites so far, understand how that became the top firm for producing cards.
    Over to you now Sid for the magic lantern explanation, I tried , you can see the result.

    I’ll be responding to the articles you sent me on Monash shortly Sid, quite a lot to read. But I did ask.

  7. Sid from Down Under says:

    Belated reply to Margaret.

    Magic Lantern unmasked – not to be confused with proprietary firmware on certain Canon digital cameras or pop groups or magic mushrooms et al

    Dutchman Christiaan Huygens is credited with inventing the Magic Lantern circa 1660. They were used by both showmen and as toys (wish I had one) until about the 1950s when 35mm slides took over and nowadays everything is digital.

    What we call a “Projector” was originally called a magic lantern because they were located some distance behind a sheet (screen) projecting a large image onto the screen (as do today’s movie projectors) and viewers in the theatre thought it magic. They originally used glass slides with intricate coloured images painted upon them.

    There is a website that gives a beginners history and pictures but after three tries here I can’t include the name even with the hyperlink removed – replies won’t post with web addresses included – try Googling the words “luikerwaal magic lantern”. Enjoy!

  8. Margaret Draycott says:

    Thanks for that Sid I understand now and can see why they thought it magical I was always fascinated by the projection in the cinemas you could see the small window and the light colours etc projecting onto the screen.

  9. Margaret Draycott says:

    Found the website Sid it’s a virtual Dutch museum very good and interesting.

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