It's shocking how far communication has come since, let's say, the 1800's. What is now a quick text (or even more succinct emoji) was once a painstakingly designed piece of paper that relied on analog means to delight the receiver. Calling cards were the media of choice for Victorians looking to make an impression. When arriving in a new town, leaving for a trip, searching for a daughter's suitor or simply introducing themselves to someone from a distance, these elaborately decorated cards not only conveyed information but also signified class—especially if you shelled out the extra dough for some border fringe). From hidden sayings and intricately placed names to "Victorian scraps," check out some of these crazy-detailed artifacts of communication from yesteryear:
The rules and customs that come with receiving a calling card were sophisticated, to say the least. A story covering "Calling Card Etiquette" on The Complete Victorian explains it best:
During the afternoon, calls to known acquaintances took place. If one was well acquainted, the call was generally paid between 4pm and 5pm, if you weren't that well acquainted with your hostess, calls were made between 3pm and 4pm. If a caller did get to see the lady of the house, they were shown into the drawing room, located on the first floor of the house (second story, to Americans). Ladies left their parasols on the ground floor, gentlemen took their riding crop and hat with them. A proper call only lasted 15 minutes. If someone else came during their call, it was polite to ease their way out after introductions (if the other caller was a social equal, or superior and didn't mind the introduction). With another person present, conversation stayed comfortably in the areas of the weather and other generalities, without mention of people who might not be acquaintances of everyone present.
Business cards aside, what would your modern day calling card look like?
Erika is the editorial assistant at Core77. When she isn't covering design, you can find her writing about music, food, and healthy living habits. But mostly music. She also has a strong affinity for hedgehogs, bowling, and bands with goofy names.