“Lights Out” for Uncle Silas – Comic Postcard (copyright 1907)

This comic postcard was not mailed, so there is no story attached to the sender or the recipient.

Published by Julius Bien & Company of New York, the postcard was one of a “Comic Series”.

(Julius Bien has a fascinating history, he fled Prussia after the revolution of 1848 and pursued a distinguished printing career in New York City. His work varied widely – from art folios, maps and guidebooks, to art postcards and to popular ephemera and comic postcards.)


The face of the postcard is largely covered by a drawing of an unkempt man preparing for sleep in a rented room.

Behind him, a poster lists regulations and charges of the boarding house.

The elderly man, called “Uncle Silas” in the legend, is clad in gaily-colored pajamas.

The scene is lit by a gas lamp, and that is the crux of the joke.

Uncle Silas, apparently fond of drink, is about to make an attempt to blow out the lamp.

Unfortunately, the old man is so filled with alcoholic fumes, that his efforts would lead to tragedy.

Beneath the drawing is the legend, “The Blow that Killed Uncle Silas”.

Someone in the early 20th century seems to have appreciated the humorous postcard collected it so that it survived for more than a century.


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