In 1861, John Charlton of Philadelphia obtained the first copyright on privately produced postcards which he transferred to HL Lipman. The first “Lipman Postal card” was postmarked October 28, 1870 and required letter-rate postage.
In 1898 – congress passed an act approving a special rate for postcards, one cent, which was the same rate as used for cards issued by the Post Office Department.
A Lippman private postcard
Originally, the picture and a space for a message appeared on the same side of the card, with the entire flip side used for the address. This changed in 1907 with the first card issued with a picture on one side, with sections for the message and address on the other. That is the design that is still used today.
As early as 1900, businesses began using postcards to advertise products and services.