The Original Rockford Nostalgic Website

Trade Cards

Gallery One

Over a century ago, during the Victorian era, one of the favorite pastimes was collecting small, illustrated advertising cards that were called trade cards. Although examples from the early 1800's exist, it was not until the spread of color  lithography in the 1870's that trade cards became plentiful. A cheap and effective way to reach consumers, their heyday was between 1876 and 1904. Expositions (such as the Saint Louis Worlds Fair) were popular places for companies to distribute their product cards. Druggist's and other merchants counters often had a number of different trade cards on them, in the hopes of encouraging  patronage. Some of the products most heavily advertised by trade cards were in  the categories of: medicine, food, tobacco, clothing, household, sewing, stoves, and farm. Some were one sided cards while others two sided. The popularity of trade cards peaked around 1890, and then almost completely faded by the early 1900's when other forms of advertising in color, such as magazines and post cards, became more cost effective. Here is a small sampling of Rockford trade cards that were once in existence. Some cards also appear in different articles on this website.

N. J. Kraft - Dyeing & Cleaning Establishment - 504 West State

Glassell & Billings - General Hardware, Stoves and Tinware - 811 South Main Street

M. A. Fountain, Steam Job Printing of Every Description, 121 West State Street

Trahern Pump Company

Crown Drug Store - Forest Flower Cologne - 426 East State Street

Alex Ciffen - Staple & Fancy Groceries - 316 State Street

Sawyer's Drug Store - 426 East State Street

J. F. Anderson - Domestic Sewing Machine

J. J. Andrew - Andrew's Champion Soap - Office; 507 North Church Street

Rockford Painting and Decorating Company

N. E. Benoit - Watches, Jewelry. Clocks, Silverware and Musical Instruments - 310 West State

Rockford Manufacturing Company - Agricultural Implements

J. W. Secomb - Books, Stationary, Wall Paper, Picture Frames & Mouldings - 317 West State

D. J. Stewart - Successor to Brown & Stewart - 202-204 South Main Street

G. A. Shoudy - Telephone Soap

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