For sale is a terrific Victorian CLARK’S ONT (Our New Thread) SPOOL COTTON THREAD trade card featuring a girl making a bow for archery. The trade card is entitled “Please break dis for me” since the girl is trying to break off the extra thread from the bow but of course Clark’s ONT thread is too strong. Card is in fair condition with small ink splatter stains and surface wear. Measures 3-1/4 inches wide by 4-1/2 inches tall. A great collectible.
The Clark Thread Company operated in Newark and East Newark, NJ from 1866 through 1949. In the 1880s, Clark’s “O.N.T.” (Our New Thread) was widely advertised in national publications. In 1883, the U. S. subsidiary of the John Clark, Jr. & Co. of Glasgow became Clark Mile-End Spool Cotton Company. The American economy was expanding following the civil war. Home machine sewing fueled demand for quality spooled thread. Today antique Clark’s ONT Spool cabinets command top dollar from collectors.
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.