For sale is a Ryland & Lee, Piano Trade Card with an 1882 Copyright date from the Mason & Hamlin Organ & Piano Company.
Over a century ago, during the Victorian era, one of the favorite pastimes was collecting small, illustrated advertising cards that we now call trade cards. These trade cards evolved from cards of the late 1700s used by tradesmen to advertise their services. Although examples from the early 1800s exist, it was not until the spread of color lithography in the 1870s that trade cards became plentiful. By the 1880s, trade cards had become a major way of advertising America’s
products and services, and a trip to the store usually brought back some of these attractive, brightly-colored cards to be pasted into a scrapbook. Some of the products most heavily advertised by trade cards were in the categories of: medicine, food, tobacco, clothing, household, sewing, stoves, and farm. The popularity of trade cards peaked around 1890, and then almost completely faded by the early 1900s when other forms of advertising in color, such as magazines, became more cost effective.