I found this postcard in several shops in Lisbon, Portugal. It depicts the transatlantic voyage from Lisbon to several locations in North and South America.

I wonder at what time this kind of advertisement was popular.

Some indications: I found this blog: http://20agetravel.blogspot.pt/2012/03/portugal-shortest-way-between-america.html that indicates that the postcard itself may be from 1907, however it does not give explanations why this may be so. Then the city associated to Pena Castle is called Cintra, a name not commonly in use anymore (now it is called Sintra). According to Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sintra#History) the name was used in 1809 but I could not find information in which period the city's name became Sintra.

enter image description here

Full resolution here: http://flickr.com/gp/tk-link/7T2130

  • 1
    hmmmm.... Other avenues of inquiry; 'Fahrenheit' is abbreviated (to this American) in a non-standard fashion - when was this particular style used? There's an address given, can the dates of residence for the listed group be confirmed? I can't make out some of the other city/country names, that might also help. Mar 9, 2013 at 0:24
  • Sorry for the off-topic, but do you remember the price of such postcard, or can make a guess basing on similar ones? Mar 11, 2013 at 19:53
  • This is a reprint, definitely. Sold in every fifth shop I walked across, somewhere between 0.40 to 0.60€. I can try to make a better scan if it is of any use for you.
    – Stockfisch
    Mar 11, 2013 at 20:09

2 Answers 2


Things I'm noticing:

  • Mostly steam ships are depicted. The big one in the foreground also has masts for sails. The first such hybrid ocean liner was the SS Great Western, in service from 1838 to 1856. The last such ocean liner to be built was perhaps the SS La Touraine which was in service from 1890 to the 1920s. The two-mast depiction there looks much more like the La Touraine than the Great Western.

  • It looks like the central route they drew has a break in it at Panama, perhaps indicating an overland journey there. Overland journeys at Panama were only practical during the days of the Panamanian Railway. That would place it between 1855 (the commercial opening of the railway) and 1914 (opening of the canal).

If we further make the assumption that they'd want to depict the most modern transport possible in their promotional material, It would seem natural to put this towards the earlier part of our window. After 1890 steamships with functional masts might start to look old-fashioned. Thus it looks like the most likely window for this would be sometime between 1855 and 1890.

(Note that later steamships did have vestigal posts where the sails used to go, even if they weren't equpped with actual sails to use on them. They usually didn't seem to have all the extra horizontal rigging I think I'm seeing there. Still, I could be wrong on that score, which would move the end of our window way out to 1914).

  • The time window and information provided is good enough to satisfy my curiosity and accept the answer.
    – Stockfisch
    Mar 7, 2013 at 16:35

The "Propaganda de Portugal Society" probably refers to the "Touring Club de Portugal", previously known as "Sociedade de Propaganda de Portugal". It's foundation date is 28/02/1906. That's probably why they date the poster as post-1906. The only thing I can guarantee is that it can't be from before, not in that form. Maybe the society recycled some other, older, images from other sources and that's maybe why it looks out of time for 1907 in some details.

The only sources (like this one) I got about the society are in Portuguese (sorry!) but they are quite trusted.

  • 1
    Good find, and I also agree about the "image recycling". That was one possibility that had me worried. I understand things moved a lot slower back then, so perhaps a company could get away with a few anachronisims in their ad copy for a while without being deluged with (e)mails from basement-dwelling nitpickers. :-)
    – T.E.D.
    Jun 19, 2013 at 19:02

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