Postcard craze

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Between 1895 and 1920 the purchasing, sending and collecting of picture postcards became a craze, in Ireland as elsewhere. About 200–300 billion of them are thought to have circulated worldwide during this period, and postcard production became a big international business that appealed to entrepreneurs everywhere, employing huge numbers of people. The first plain postcard was issued in Austria in 1869, with space for the address on one side and the message on the other. Pictures were added on the message side in the 1890s, and from 1902 onwards space was allowed on the address side to write messages as well as the address. By 1900 picture postcards could be bought almost anywhere and became a very popular means of communication, as they were quick, cheap and easy to write and send. Their visual appeal also made them suitable as souvenirs, gifts and collectibles. Their sudden enormous popularity was associated with the rise of a new consumer culture, a more affluent society and a new middle class.


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