Brass instruments and Victorian trade cards

Prior to the advent of cigarette cards, and subsequent food product collectors’ cards (e.g. tea, bubble gum), Victorian companies often included trade cards advertising their wares with various pictorial images. The introduction of colour lithography in the 1870s led to a golden age of such cards which lasted until the early 1900s when newspaper and magazine advertisements became more economical. A wide range of topics and images were featured on the cards, some of which were in the form of a series or group of similar items. Occasionally images were directly related to the products being offered, while others had no apparent connection whatsoever. Indeed, some were very strange and disturbing, to say the least, and certainly would not pass modern advertising standards!


In the paper below, I have collected together a range of such cards that featured brass instruments and brass players – most of the time with no connection to the products or businesses being advertised. Nonetheless they are a fascinating insight into the advertising practices of the 19th century.

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