Oh! This cigar won't light! - 1907

It's hard to imagine a time when the incandescent light bulb was still new enough an invention for this comic Belgian vintage postcard to have made people chuckle. It depicts a classic vagabond figure complete with walking stick and his possessions tied in a handkerchief as he tries, in vain, to light his cigar, clearly still expecting there to be a naked flame! Oh! Ce cigare ne prend pas feu!

Whilst Thomas Edison may have invented the light bulb in 1879, it was actually the use of ductile tungsten as the filament material by the General Electric Company and William Coolidge from 1906 onwards that saw the birth of the light bulb we know it today, so once again, this is a vintage postcard that beautifully illustrates a little bit of history. Those incandescent bulbs, of course, have also now had their day and are currently being phased out across Europe and being replaced by energy-efficient fluorescent or halogen lamps to help tackle climate change.

This is a really lovely example of a chromolithographic print with wonderful details – look at the wood grained floor, the wallpaper, the spotted 'kerchief and the hint of stubble on the chap's chin. Sadly I have been unable to decipher the publisher’s logo – if anybody has come across this one before, please feel free to leave a comment below. The back of the card reserves a final gem – a spectacular flourish of a question mark in black ink filling the entire message side!

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dakotaboo said…
Great postcard. As you say, incredible detail in the illustration. Particularly like the wallpaper.
Christine H. said…
What a question mark that is!