One of my many fascinating hobbies is collecting old business cards. Here are just a few from the collection:
Here's a card from the McMann & Tate Advertising firm. For many decades they were the number one ad agency in New York; none of their other competitors could touch them. No one could ever figure out the secret to their success. In fact one of their rivals said their ability to win over important clients and come up with innovative campaigns was almost "like magic."
A rare matching sets of cards from a now defunct California bank. It's unusual to find two cards in such good shape from the same business. The Commerce Bank was a cornerstone of the California financial system for many decades. Then tragedy struck as their largest depositor pulled his assets from the bank sometime in the 1980s, sending the institution into a downward spiral from which it could not recover. Tragically the C.E.O. took his own life by leaping from the roof of the bank when the F.D.I.C. arrived to take control.
Here's the story of this classic card dating from the 1970s. Phillips & Associates was a small architectural firm that produced few noteworthy designs. Many of their critics denounced their concepts as "out of date" and "stuck in the past." They limped along for many years, barely managing to survive, until sometime in the early 2000s. Suddenly their retro designs were "in" again, and the public went wild for their work, generating their greatest successes to date.