Making of 30,000 valentines (1904)

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Making of 30,000 valentines

For months, a dozen Minneapolis women have been busy with paints and brushes illustrating sentimental and humorous, lines — and new designs are in demand.

>> See 14 vintage Valentine cards (1900s)

Way at the top of one of the big office buildings on Nicollet Avenue, a dozen girls have been busy for months making valentines. From 8 o’clock in the morning until 5 at night, they have plied their brushes and their industry is shown in the thousands and thousands of pretty and amusing trifles which will be found in the stores from now until February 14. Just how many valentines have been made is a question that was answered with a shrug and the exclamation: “Oh, about 30,000!”

The valentine of today is not much like that of fifty years ago, and humor as well as sentiment seems to be what the designers strive for. The American people want to be amused, and their valentines must contain a laugh as well as a heartthrob.

Designs for Valentines are obtained from all sorts of sources, although the Minneapolis artists are not represented in any of them. There is a little woman in St Paul who has made a clever set of vegetable designs for which success is prophesied, but, in the main, the proprietor of the publishing house furnishes the ideas and the dozen girls carry them out.

George Parker, the proprietor, is always on the lookout for clever suggestions, and he pays for them at the rate of $1.50 up.

After the drawing is made and the cards given the desired shape, a die is cut and the card printed with the outlines of the picture. These printed cards are distributed by the dozens to the girls, who color them after a pattern until they have learned it by heart. As the copy directs, they wash in a pink radish with besesching eyes and sentimental mien, or a haughty purple-topped turnip whose scorn is expressed in a tip-tilted nose.

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A clever girl can color a hundred of these cards a day, and when she is through with them, she knows that another hundred will be ready for her on the morrow, for the demand for valentines is large and insistent.

Valentines this year seem to come in sets, and there are groups of half a dozen in the vegetable designs, as many more of flowers, ballet dancers, funny pickaninnies and saucy little girls. It is not necessary to buy the set, as each is complete in itself, but popular fancy runs to collections just at present, which is the reason why the valentines are designed in groups.

By next week, the valentine factory will stop work for a breathing space, but it will not be long after February 14 that the eager search for ideas and designs for the valentine of 1905 will commence, and the making of the amusing and sentimental cards will begin all over again.

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