Geyser Bob
Yellowstone Trade Cards
and Advertising Cards
Ride on back to the History Index page.
Yellowstone Trade Cards are a fascinating novelty for the Yellowstone collector and enthusiast.  They pre-date the postcard era and present a beautiful collection of artwork.  Trade cards in general, also known as Advertising Cards, first became popular at the beginning of the 17th century in London. They functioned as advertising for various commercial "trades" and also served as maps that directed the public to merchants' shops and businesses, as no formal street address numbering system existed at the time.   They were typically about 3" x 5" in size.  The trade card was the predecessor of the modern business card and also the precursor of postcards and modern "trading cards."  As time progressed, some businesses began to create increasingly sophisticated designs on their cards. A few companies specialized in producing stock cards, usually with an image on one side and space on the other side for the business to add its own information, which could be added by a local printer or rubber-stamped by the businessman.    
The Dayton Spice Mills Co., of Dayton, Ohio, the manufacturers of Jersey Coffee, introduced a set of 100 views around the mid 1890s that according to the reverse of the card were, "Embracing Columbian Exposition Buildings, Grandest Natural Scenery in the World, and finest Monuments of Ancient and Modern Architecture." The set included at least 15 different views of Yellowstone National Park, all of them in the style of black and white engravings or woodcuts. The card claimed "One Card in Each One-Pound Package.  No two cards alike in any case of coffee.”  They encouraged people to "Use Jersey Coffee and secure this valuable collection of cards for your home."

The text accompanying the cards is from the reverse of each numbered trade card.  Cards in the series without a number do not have the descriptive paragraph on the reverse.  I believe this series to be older, perhaps late 1880s.  There are at least four different reverses, as shown below:

Go to Page 2
for Un-Numbered Series)
Grand Geyser
Jersey Coffee No. 87
Jersey Coffee
Lone Star Geyser and Keplers Cascade
No. 86

     The geysers or spouting boiling springs of the Yellow-stone are generally in groups not far apart. LONE STAR GEYSER, although one of the most beautiful of the Fire Hole River, is so far from the others and yet so grand it takes its name from its position and the effect the sunlight seems to have upon the mineral substances it emits when it reaches the dizzy heights to which it ascends, from time to time, as nature in its violence vomits up her surplus interior stock in-trade.  Keppler's Cascade is one of the loveliest sights of Fire Hole River, which is formed in the south-west part of Yellowstone Park, ostensibly in Madison Lake but principally by the numerous geysers and hot springs which from time to time explode and overflow into this beautiful torrent stream. A month is not too long for a tourist to spend in the wonderland of Yellowstone would he see one half the peculiar sights and strange phenomena of nature.
Mouse over image for a slightly different version.
Jersey Coffee
The Splendors of the Yellowstone
No. 85

A tract of land 55x65 miles has been set apart by law, about the sources of the Yellowstone and Missouri Rivers and been dedicated as a National Park and pleasure ground for the benefit and enjoyment of the public.  The entire area within the limits of this Reservation is over 6,000 feet in altitude, and the Yellowstone Lake which occupies an area 15x22 miles or 360 square miles, is 7,427 feet in altitude. The ranges of mountains that hem the valleys in on every side, rise to the height 10,000 and 12,000 feet and are covered with snow the year around.  These mountains are all of volcanic origin and hence it is not probable that any mines or minerals of value will ever be found there.  During the months of June, July and August the climate is pure and most invigorating with scarcely any rain or storms of any kind.  The whole region abounds in the most remarkable volcanic manifestations of the internal forces ever seen by human eye.  Hot springs or geysers are adorned with decorations more beautiful than could be produced by art and which has required thousands of years for the cunning hand of nature to form.
Jersey Coffee
Yellowstone Lake and Fish Pot

     Yellowstone Lake is a body of water varying in width from 3 to 10 miles and in length from 8 to 15 miles, situated in the south part of Yellowstone National Park Reservation.  It is one of the sources of the “Father of Waters” and is situated scarcely a mile from what is known as the Continental divide, at which point falling water has an even chance to reach either the Pacific Ocean through the Columbia River, or to the Gulf of Mexico through the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Mississippi Rivers.  The lake, now a paradise for fishermen, was evidently, in prehistoric times, the crator [sic] of a great volcano; the gurglings of which are still present in the shape of holes in the rocks even at the edge of the water of the lake, where forever boils the water over nature’s own fires and where the fisherman may boil his fish as fast as he can catch them.  The lake is 7,788 feet above sea level and furnishes the wherewith for the numerous grand and beautiful waterfalls which have made the Yellowstone River so attractive to the tourist.  Yellowstone Park is not open for settlement but is ever to be kept as a National “Curiosity Shop,” 56x65 miles in dimensions.

Note:  The reverse of this card has a poem by Byron (#38)
"There is a pleasure in the pathless woods,
There is a rapture on the lonely shore,
There is society where none intrudes,
By the deep sea, and music in its roar;
I love not man the less, but nature more."
An inspiring and sometimes fanciful view of Wonderland as seen through the eyes of the world of advertising, circa 1880's-1890's.

Copyright 2008 Robert V. Goss
In its original sense, the "trade" in trade card referred to its use by the proprietor of a business to announce his trade, or line of business. Later on, as emphasis shifted to the exchange or trade of cards by enthusiasts and collectors, the phrase “trade cards” evolved into "trading cards."  By the 1880s, trade cards had become a major method of advertising business products and services. Some of the products most heavily advertised by trade cards were medicine, food, coffee, tea, tobacco, clothing, household goods, sewing notions, stoves, and farm equipment.  Originally the cards were handed out by grocers and storekeepers, but by the mid-1880's, many companies began  to include advertising cards, or "trade cards" inside the packaging of their product in order to tout the virtue of their merchandise. 
The Arbuckle Coffee and Dayton Spice companies, along with other coffee, tea, and tobacco companies carried the concept a step further. They believed that these cards, if they were sufficiently attractive and desirable enough, could actually be an inducement to the consumer to choose their product over their competitors' goods.  As part of that approach, they began to issue cards in numbered thematic series and encouraged people to collect entire "sets."  These sets included flowers, exotic peoples, military heroes, birds, animals, sports heroes, and of course, the beauties of nature, such as found in America's National Parks.  The companies suggested that if a buyer happened to get two of a particular card, they could exchange the extra one with a neighbor who had two of another. Thus, "trade" cards began to evolve into "trading" cards. These cards were often pasted into scrapbooks, so as to be easily displayed and showed off to friends and neighbors.
The popularity of trade cards peaked around 1890, but by the early 1900s had begun to fade into obscurity.  Competition from newspapers and magazines began the death knoll for trading cards.  These media sources, particularly magazines, were becoming more popular and accessible to the average consumer.  The advertisements in them, which could be printed in color, became a more cost effective and popular business practice.  In recent years these cards, many of which are almost miniature works of art, have again become popular to collectors and can be found on eBay and other online auction sites.  
So, take a trip with me through Wonderland, courtesy of the views of these unique and beautifully artistic trading cards.
One side of the card usually consisted of a color lithograph designed to be visually appealing to the average consumer of the Victorian era, in hopes that they would be induced to save the it. The card might show pretty flowers, artistic still lifes, scenic vistas of far-away places, unusual animals, adorable children, happy families, religious scenes, or contemporary humor. The company would sometimes imprint their name or their products name on the illustrated side of the card, or even work the product into the illustration. In some cases the back of the card would be blank, while others would display the company's advertising message.  It was hoped this message would be imparted to the consumer (and the consumer's friends and family) every time the card was looked at and admired, and of course, help increase sales.
A rather fanciful  French trade card from the Liebig Co. depicting the hot springs of Yellowstone. The company produced a type of liquid meat extract, perhaps for making soups and broths. This card is probably from the early 1890s.
Jersey Coffee No. 92
Castle Geyser & Grotto Geyser
Jersey Coffee
Falls of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee
Great Falls of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee
Palace Butte in Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee
Cañon and Great Falls of the Yellowstone
No. 91

A realization of the height, depth and distance, in other words, "the perspective," is almost an impossible impression upon the mind, as a result of seeing pictures of such wonders as the Grand Canon of the Yellowstone.  Those unaccustomed to sights so deep, so high, so far, so beautiful, yet so awful, can hardly believe that the picture here represented attempts to portray a chasm five times as deep as the height of Washington Monument, where the roaring torrent river at the bottom is so far away not a ripple can be heard; where one tower of rock after another seems in strife to excel, not only in size and height, but in color as well. Surely the walls of the new Jerusalem must have been quarried here; all twelve of the sacred stones of the Revelation are here and side by side, and as the noonday sunbeams dance between their glistening sides one almost imagines this to be the gateway to Heaven; and while in wonder, lost with all the dazzling beauty, amid such dizzy heights and depths, the eye is drawn, as if by a magnet, to the great waterfall a few miles in the distance, white with crystal spray made glorious by a thousand rainbows.  Could it be the "Great White Throne?"  Words are too feeble to express one's feelings when sights like this are revealed.
Jersey Coffee
Castle Geyser and Grotto Geyser

      CASTLE GEYSER is one of the most imposing sights of Yellowstone Park. It is rumbling and boiling nearly all the time, emitting a volume of boiling water every few minutes to the height of 10 or 15 ft. above the top of the chimney of a cone which is a castle like formation of rock some forty feet in height, with a funnel on top resembling a chimney 25 feet high. It has evidently at some previous time been one of the most powerful vent holes for the escape of the boiling waters of the cauldrons below this wonderful "Fire Hole Basin," in America's “Wonderland.” Grotto geyser is not over 200 yards from Giant geyser and is well described by its name, it being a delightful place to play hide and seek if one can have instinct sufficient to get out betimes before the eruptions take place which come without a moment's warning, and often rise in a great column of water 60 feet high. Many basins exist near by which are continually filled with boiling water.
Jersey Coffee - South from Mt. Washburn - No. 93

THE SUMMIT OF MT. WASHBURN is 10,340 feet above sea-level, 2552 feet above Yellowstone Lake, and 5,000 above the bottom o( the Great Canon; it affords one of the best views of all the Park, as it lies a little north-east of the center.  The view shown in this picture looks south affording a glimpse of the Grand Canon in the near fore-ground.  Pack mules are the only vehicles for the transportation of the necessaries of life sufficient for a satisfactory visit to the vast National Park, as there are scores of points one wants to visit where no wheels ever have been.  Many stops for camping must be made, as the tourist, hungry, weary and sore with the continuous change of elevation, scene and temperature, is reminded that humanity must stop betimes to recuperate.  No one should think of visiting this Reservation of wonderland's curiosities without taking at least a weeks' time.  The area of the Park is 300 square miles, nearly every one of which is full of interest for the visitor.  The entire region must once have been volcanic, as the many geysers, still boiling, strongly attest.
Jersey Coffee - Cañon of the Yellowstone & Upper Falls  - No. 94

It has been the privilege of the very few to witness the wonderful grandeur and awful splendors of this yawning chasm.  No language can sufficiently depict the appalling splendors to be seen from its dizzy verge.  Away down beyond the 2,500 feet of solid walls of rock lies the surging river spun out like a slender thread, but so far from the eye and ear of the observer as to fail to impart the slightest token that it moves.   A feeling of awe holds the observer in a spell of weird fascination, from which he finds it difficult to tear himself away lest any movement on his part might induce those solid rocks to give way and precipitate him into the depths below. Those who have ventured down these dizzy heights, state that when at the verge of the river, stars were plainly seen in the sky above, so much of the sunlight being obscured by the walls of the chasm.
Jersey Coffee - Camping in the Rockies - No. 95

Camping in the Rockies if one of the necessary experiences of those who visit the "Nation's Wonderland," YELLOWSTONE PARK.  It is 56x65 miles in area and many of the richest beauties are far from hotel or even a wagon road.  The pack mule here is worth his highest value.   In the high altitudes of the Rockies the air is so pure and dry, all that if needed at night is plenty of covers to keep warm; as far as eating is concerned, the exhilarating tramps here and there taking in the countless beauties to be seen in Yellowstone Park bring appetites ready to eat almost anything that is provided.  The regular tour of Yellowstone requires five days, but for those who have the time and means many times five days can be delightfully spent among the ever-changing scenes of waterfalls, geysers, canons, gorges, lakes, mountains and plains. Crystal Falls, which is here but dimly shown, is only one of many scores of dashing mountain torrents to be found in Yellowstone Park.
Jersey Coffee
Paint Pot
No. 96

      Wonders never cease, especially in "Wonderland," — (Yellowstone Park). Tired with the sights of spouting geysers of Fire Hole Basin, the tourist turns away for a change of scene. Starting south, a large pot of boiling mud is seen about 40x60 feet in diameter. On the top of the mud numerous puff-balls appear, which explode with a dull report, from time to time, throwing the contents around the sides and into the air. These balls vary in color, from pure white through the whole known colors of paint, each bespattering in turn the ever-muddy sides. It is strange indeed that volcanic action should choose an elevation of over 7,000 feet above sea level to operate in geyser form. One would naturally expect geysers to appear more nearly sea level, but in "Wonderland" the tourist is ever prepared for peculiarities of nature in canon, water fall, mountain, lake or plain; there are also thousands of crystal and mineral springs, many of which are very deep and a few are almost unfathomable
Jersey Coffee
Mammoth Hot Springs and Liberty Cap
No. 97

      MAMMOTH HOT SPRINGS. The Tourist enroute to Yellowstone Park leaves the main line of the Northern Pacific Railroad at Livingston station and proceeds about five miles south over a branch railroad to Cinnabar station whence the entire circuit of the Park is made by stage and horseback. The first scene of importance is soon revealed.  "Mammoth Hot Springs" or as formerly called the "Pink Terraces of Gardiner River."  Upon a pyramid of carbonate of lime occupying over 160 acres these springs, about fifty in number, have been boiling up each in its own highly colored basin for thousands of years; each day there is an infinitesimal increase in the height of these basins through the adhesive action of the minerals of the waters. No painter can depict colorings or shadings quite so beautiful as those with which nature has here bedecked this wonder of her own making. Many strange, solitary but massive rocks like “Liberty Cap" are to be seen here and there like sentinels guarding the vast loneliness.
Jersey Coffee
The Giantess, The Giant, and The Queens Laundry

     On the south side of Fire Hole River, Upper Geyser Basin, is a large group of springs, the chief of which is the Giant. It has an immense ragged crater, shaped like the base of a large broken horn 10 or 12 feet high. This opening or nozzle is about 7 feet in diameter.  When In a quiet state, the boiling water can be seen in its chasm at a depth of 30 or 40 feet where it produces a mumbling noise. This great geyser throws up boiling water to the height of nearly 200 feet, diameter of the stream being 7 feet.  On one occasion it operated continuously for more than three hours.  Near, and acting in concert with it, are half a dozen smaller craters from 2 to 8 feet in height, constantly full of water and boiling violently from 2 to 6 feet into the air. The Giantess Geyser sends out eruptions lasting 20 minutes at a time and reaching a height of 260 feet. It operates about twice each 24 hours, and is one of the grandest sights of the whole valley.  Some Chinese recently started a laundry in this section, having built their tent above one of the hot water pots. When it started to boil, the action was so sudden, the Chinese were dead before they knew that it was loaded.
Jersey Coffee
Tower Falls
No. 90

Tower Creek and Tower Falls are sights for the last day of the tourist's round of Yellowstone National Park.  The Falls themselves are only 166 feet in height but are surpassingly beautiful.  It starts from amid a collection of tower like rocky spires which stand there in grim silence and awful grandeur as if a guard of sentinels.  These rocks are composed of what is called volcanic breccia.  Some of them stand alone to the height of 250 feet.  On account of the many peculiar rock formations in Tower Creek Canon, it has often been called "Devil's Den," and a few rods below the Falls, is to be seen that great rock called "Devil's Heel."  Many kinds of mineral specimens are found in this vicinity, such as asbestos, fine granites, lava, quartz, mica, etc.  Tower Creek empties into the Yellowstone River, a short distance below Tower Falls and at the mouth of the Grand Canon, which with its sea of glass, its portals of all manner of precious stones, its dizzy height and depth, and wild and awful chasms, surpasses all other sights in the world.
               Yellowstone Trade Card Inventory List

Aa Aa Coffee  95 - Camping in the Rockies
Arbuckle Coffee  75 - Idaho                    
Arbuckle Coffee  79 - Wyoming               
Arbuckle Coffee  98 - Montana

Jersey Coffee   83 - Old Faithful Geyser
Jersey Coffee   84 - Bee Hive and Splendid Geysers              
Jersey Coffee   85 - Splendors of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee   86 - Lone Star Geyser & Kepler Cascades
Jersey Coffee   87 - Grand Geyser
Jersey Coffee   88 - Fish Pot & Yellowstone Lake
Jersey Coffee   89 - Yellowstone Lake & First Boat on Lake
Jersey Coffee   90 - Tower Falls
Jersey Coffee   91 - Canon and Great Falls of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee   92 - Castle Geyser & Grotto Geyser
Jersey Coffee   93 - South from Mt. Washburn
Jersey Coffee   94 - Canon of the Yellowstone & Upper Falls
Jersey Coffee   95 - Camping in Rockies
Jersey Coffee   96 - Paint Pot & Sounding Big Blue Spring
Jersey Coffee   97 - Mammoth Hot Springs & Liberty Cap
Jersey Coffee   98 - The Giant, The Giantess, The Queen’s Laundry
Jersey Coffee   Beehive Geyser
Jersey Coffee   Falls of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee   Geysers in the Yellowstone National Park
Jersey Coffee   Falls of the Gibbon River
Jersey Coffee  Great Falls of the Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee  Mammoth Hot Springs & Mammoth Hotel
Jersey Coffee   Palace Butte in Yellowstone
Jersey Coffee   Gardiner River Hot Springs - Idaho (YNP actually)
Jersey Coffee  The Three Tetons  (Grand Tetons NP)

Fleishmann's & Co.    Giant Geyser Hot Springs

Liebig Co.   Sources Thermales de Yellowstone

Royal St. John Sewing Machine Co.     Grand Canyon - Yellowstone
.  If you have other trading card views of Yellowstone, I would love to have you share them with me.  Please send me a high quality digital image of the card and I will post it to this page, giving you full credit, unless you desire otherwise.  I have yet to find any other online inventory of Yellowstone Trade Cards, and it would be nice to expand this collection as much as possible for the edification of Yellowstone enthusiasts.
Jersey Coffee
Grand Geyser  No. 87

  THE GRAND GEYSER of the Yellowstone and also of the world is situated in the south west corner of the park among about 50 other hot springs and geysers.  When quiet it appears like a well 20 or 25 feet in diameter and 100 feet deep.  About once in 30 hours the water begins to rise and boils at a great rate until within a few feet of the top, then a few terrific intonations, as of earthquake shocks, are heard and at once a mighty stream of solid. water 20 or 25 feet in diameter shoots up into the air a distance of 200 feet and steam and spray 300 feet higher, which divides before reaching the highest limit into five different streams, each varying slightly in gravity and direction.  This exhibition continues 20 minutes then all suddenly subsides. When the eruptions take place in sunlight the hundreds of changing rainbows and flashes of color caused by the slightest change in the wind, afford one of the grandest scenes possible to the human eye.  Although there are 71 important geysers in Yellowstone Park, no two of them are known to be in close enough conjunction to operate together.
All rights reserved.  No part of this work may be reproduced or utilized in any form by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording or by an information storage and retrieval system without permission in writing from the author.
Click on pictures for a larger image.
To find additional information about Trade Cards, view other great cards, or look for cards to purchase, check out some of the following websites:

Moody's Collectibles
Arby Cards (Arbuckle Coffee)
Dave's Great Cards Galore (Great to do business with, eBay-based)
Ebay Victorian Trade Cards (Probably more than you ever wanted to know about coffee; Click on  "Advertising")
Baker Library Historical Collections
The Dayton Spice Mills Company
Corner of First and Foundry Streets

Among the best known concerns in Ohio, devoted to the manufacture of pure and unadulterated spices, baking powder, etc., is the Dayton Spice Mills Company, whose goods are noted from Ohio to the Missouri river and beyond for their absolute puiry, freshness and low prices, and customers have the satisfaction of knowing that nothing inferior or adulterated will be foisted upon them by this house. This has been the principle upon which the business has been conducted from its inception, and the management has never deviated from this path.
The Dayton Spice Mills Company was established in 1885 and the premises they occupy are comprised in a three-story brick building, 34 x 196 feet in dimensions. The equipment of the establishment includes roasters and grinding machinery of the most modern mechanical construction which are operated by a 75 horse power engine.  As the company are content with a reasonable profit, customers may depend that they can not obtain goods of equal value at lower prices anywhere. The specialties of the house are Jersey Coffee, Jersey Baking Powder, a pure, wholesome and unquestionably valuable article, and Jersey Spices, warranted strictly are represented, and the business of the house is entirely wholesale.
We may with justice urge all prudent dealers, who desire to put before their customers pure and reliable goods- goods of the classes mentioned and at prices as low as oft-times are exacted for inferior goods- to entrust their favors to this house, as every article is of a character in keeping with the reputation of this well known and highly esteemed establishment.

From "Firms and Manufactories of Dayton", circa 1889
With Illustrations and Historical Information
Compiled by Curt Dalton ,  Copyright 1996
Go to Page 2
To view more Yellowstone Trade Cards:
* Jersey Coffee Un-Numbered Series
* Arbuckle Coffee Co.
* Aa Aa Coffee
* Liebig Meat Extract Co.

Go to Page 3
to view Yosemite and other National Park Cards
More Trade Card Pages:
Yellowstone Page 2
Niagara Falls & The East
Yosemite & California
"The West"
More Trade Card Pages:
Yellowstone Page 2
Niagara Falls & The East
Yosemite & California
"The West"
Check out Yellowstone History Books by Robert V. Goss - aka Geyser Bob
Jersey Coffee
The Bee Hive - Upper Geyser Basin & the Splendid
No. 84

Prominent among the hot water gushers of Upper Geyser Basin, Yellowstone Park, is the BEE HIVE GEYSER.  It is situated not far from "Old Faithful."  Once in every two or three days, without any preliminary warning, a stream of hot water 2-3 feet in diameter and 219 feet high, is belched forth, from the center of a silicious rock cone resembling an old fashioned bee hive. The stream of water is almost a perfect perpendicular and continues for about 18 minutes.  The action of the minerals in the waters of the geysers continually increases the height of the cones, at the same time diminishes the diameters of the openings.  Many such pillars or cones exist in the neighborhood which were formerly gushing geysers, but which have been slowly closed by the gradual accumulations of lime and mineral upon the sides.
Jersey Coffee
Yellowstone Lake & First Boat on Lake
No. 89

Yellowstone Lake is a body of water varying in width from 3 to 10 miles, situated in the south part of Yellowstone  National Park Reservation.  It is one of the sources of the "Father of Waters" and is situated scarcely a mile from  what is known as the Continental divide, at which point falling water has an even chance to reach either the  Pacific Ocean through the Columbia River, or the Gulf of Mexico through the Yellowstone, Missouri, and Mississippi  Rivers.  The lake, now a paradise for fishermen, was evidently, in prehistoric times, the crater of a great  volcano; the gurglings of which are still present in the shape of holes in the rocks even at the edge of the water  of the lake, where forever boils the water over nature's own fires and where the fisherman may boil his fish as  fast as he can catch them.  The lake is 7,788 feet above sea level and furnishes the wherewith for the numerous  grand and beautiful waterfalls which have made Yellowstone River so attractive to the tourist. Yellowstone Park is  not open for settlement but is ever to be kept as a National "Curiosity Shop," 56x65 miles in dimensions.
Jersey Coffee
Old Faithful
No. 83

Of the 71 important hot water "factories" (geysers) of Yellowstone Park, "Old Faithful" was the first to be discovered in action.  It takes its name from the regularity of its outbursts which occur at intervals of a little over an hour, twnety times a day.  It is situated in Fire Hole region in the south-west part of the Reservation.  It stands on a mound of rock some 30 feet above the surrounding land; close to the opening of the geyser, its walls 6 to 8 feet high, have been rasised up by the mineral action of the waters upon the surrounding stone.  It is all of stalagmite nature and earth has used its richest treasures in the beauty of the material of which the walls are composed.  "Old Faithful" sends up a column of water and steam 125 to 150 feet high, 3 to 7 feet in diameter, continuing 15 or 20 minutes each eruption.
(Click here for reverse of card)