Digest>Archives> May/Jun 2021

Vintage Color Post Cards Preserved History


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Vintage color lighthouse post cards often have a story to tell that will not be found elsewhere, especially in the era when most photographs taken of lighthouses was with black and white film. This was even more so with what was called “linen post cards,” which were not actually made from fabric, but rather embossed stock roughened in a process meant to maximize the brightness of the colored ink and give the appearance of an image on canvas.

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The vintage “linen style” post card of Boston Harbor Lighthouse published by United Art Company is of historical significance because it shows a time when the roofs on all the buildings at Boston Harbor Light Station had green roof shingles.

Such is also the case with the Nubble Lighthouse post card published by Thomson’s of York Beach that shows green shingles on the roof.

In the days of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the buildings at most lighthouses had green shingles. When the government, most likely during the Coast Guard era, started to use the red shingles, and in some cases black or gray shingles, the appearance of the lighthouses changed dramatically. However, as time went by, the previous color of roof shingles at lighthouses was forgotten.

This story appeared in the May/Jun 2021 edition of Lighthouse Digest Magazine. The print edition contains more stories than our internet edition, and each story generally contains more photographs - often many more - in the print edition. For subscription information about the print edition, click here.

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