Skip to main content

When Everything Hung By A Thread

July 2024
1min read

The business boom in the post-Civil War decades spawned an arresting advertising device fully as charming as it was effective—the trade or premium card. Given away by merchants, usually to the children of customers, they were welcomed into the American home for their bright lithographed color and their depictions of the newest developments in an age of rapid change. Many families even saved their favorites in scrapbooks. These thread industry cards are from the collection of Samuel Rosenberg.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.