PHILADELPHIA TRADE CARDS. Album of 708 chromolithographic trade cards from the 1870s to the 1890s for perfumers, ice cream parlors, shoes, coffees, soaps, dry goods, florists, glovers, clothiers, restaurants, patent medicines, milliners, pets, toys, umbrellas, among many others. A wide-ranging collection of Philadelphia area merchants and manufacturers, showing commercial lithography at its most exuberant. This wonderful period piece was formed by an unknown Philadelphia collector who carefully sorted and mounted them. By the development of color lithography in the 1830s, trade cards became popular among both the businesses that used them as commercial publicity and the general public that relied on then not only for comparing goods but also as a collector's item. With the opening of the 1876 Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition, printed ephemera met color lithography head on. Until then, color was used sparingly in trade card production. Philadelphia was the major center for American chromolithography, and it was natural for ambitious printers to promote these cards. Centennial exhibitors put thousands of these bright little pasteboard salesmen into the hands of a product hungry public. Grocers handed them out for every imaginable product, from soap to soup. In some cases cards were put right into packaging. They set off a collecting craze and people saved the cards with a passion right into the 1890s. Many an evening was spent pasting them into ornately covered scrapbooks. Wise admen of the era knew that a product or service would seldom be forgotten once a collection was started. It became a pastime to collect trade cards and organize them in scrapbooks such as this. Trade cards feature colorful illustrations, sayings, humor (sometimes bordering on the insensitive by today's standards), poems, and religious aphorisms. Between 1870 and 1900 the use of trade cards by business establishments was widespread and products advertised ranged from tobacco and medicines to clothes and restaurants. Cards were either customized to a specific business or trade, or they would have an illustration and a blank back so they could be personalized by the advertiser. Collectors today call the former "custom cards" and the latter "stock cards," examples of both sorts are present in this album.