Large, lift-the-flap, insensitive, steam boiler advertising postcard card featuring the devasting Mt. Pelee volcanic eruption destroyed an entire city, killing 30,000 people
Large, lift-the-flap, insensitive, steam boiler advertising postcard card featuring the devasting Mt. Pelee volcanic eruption destroyed an entire city, killing 30,000 people
Large, lift-the-flap, insensitive, steam boiler advertising postcard card featuring the devasting Mt. Pelee volcanic eruption destroyed an entire city, killing 30,000 people

Large, lift-the-flap, insensitive, steam boiler advertising postcard card featuring the devasting Mt. Pelee volcanic eruption destroyed an entire city, killing 30,000 people

Boston, Massachusetts: Smith & Thayer Co., 1903. Card. This advertising postcard for Winchester Steam Heaters measures approximately 10” x 6”. It features an all-over print, titled “The Secret of Mt. Pelee” in grey, green, and red, perhaps with a little additional hand-coloring, that shows an idealized version of the volcanic eruption, the island of Martinique (a Caribbean island in the Lesser Antilles), and the city of Saint- Pierre. A flap in the center of the volcano can be lifted to reveal the force behind the eruption, a Winchester steam boiler. The card is postally used, franked with a 1-cent Franklin stamp (Scott #300) cancelled with a Boston postmark. In nice shape. Very good. Item #009447

Mt. Pelee’s eruption in 1902 destroyed the entire city of Saint-Pierre, killing over 30,000 people. It was the third worst volcanic eruption of all time, only surpassed by those of Mouth Tambora in 1815 and Krakatoa in 1883.

Precursors of the eruption began on April 23 when yellowish clouds appeared near the mountain top and cinders rained down on its sides. By the 27th, deep rumbling sounds like underground boiling water could be heard and an unpleasant sulfurous smell permeated the region. Loud explosions and minor earthquakes began on 2 May and a steady pillar of black smoke rose from volcano’s throat. On the 5th the sea suddenly receded and then rushed back to shore, flooding parts of the city. That night, atmospheric disturbances disabled the electric grid, plunging Saint-Pierre into darkness. Over the next two days, underground rumblings grew louder, and volcanic lightning crashed around the mountain top, which had begun to glow red. Early the next morning, while a telegraph operator was sending his daily status report, the transmission abruptly ceased. A ship at sea, but within sight of the city reported that suddenly the mountain exploded, and a gigantic black mushroom cloud rocketed skyward. A glowing thick cloud of superheated steam, gas, and pulverized rock roiled down the mountain’s side, engulfing the entire city in less than a minute. Only two badly burned people survived the pyroclastic surge (which volcanologists estimate approached 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit and over 400 mph), although a few sailors and passengers aboard ships in the harbor were spared as well. Several more explosions over the next week killed an additional 3,000 rescuers as well.

I’m not sure this is the type of an explosive event one should use to advertise pressurized steam boilers.

Rare and the only extant example. As of 2019, no similar items are for sale in the trade. OCLC lists no similar items in institutional collections, and the are no auction records for similar items showing at Rare Book Hub, Worthpoint, LiveAuctioneers, or the StampAuctionNetwork.

Price: $600.00