ART BY TECHNIQUE: lithography

New: vintage inspired place mats from Small Equals

seed pack place mats from
Seed Pack placemats

New from my company, Small Equals, three new products using vintage images. These are made in Vermont by Flashbags, using recycled paper, plastic laminte and machine stitching. 


4 seedpacks no text
four seed pack vegetable placemats


Faithful readers of this blog will know that I have been collecting vintage ephemera for years. These images come from seed packs in my collection. The originals were produced using stone lithography, a process which, because it is printed using tiny dots of color, allows for enlargement beautifully. I think the images are very exciting as they grow larger. I hope you agree. 

flower place mats from
Set of four flower placemats
Jello placemats from
set of six place mats with yummy vintage Jell-O images

My love of vintage Jell-O images is well known. I have used these images for place mats before but they were out of production for a few years. Now back, in limited edition, these will certainly create conversation and inspire the appetite. 

All products availble at my online store

NEEDLE PACKS: More from the archives.

For all you fans of needle packs, sewing ephemera, mid century ephemera, women's history, historians of sewing and needlle arts, graphic design lovers ...have I named all the fan categories for mid twentieth century needle packs? Of course not. Why do you love needle packs? Enlighten me.

Meanwhile here are some more delicious images from the Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Needle pack coal easel drop signed 1000
Unusual needlepack in the shape of a coal bin. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.


Needle pack home guard custom color paint easel s Liza Cowan Ephemera collections
A gift from Gambles Home guard Custom Matched Colors, diecut in the shape of a paint can. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Needle pack united states ship liza cowan ephemera collections
United States, Ocean liner. The popular travel theme.

Needle pack lucky lucky new york paris Liza oan Ephemera collectioan
Lucky Lucky New York-Paris. Needle book, Lucky That's all. Liza Cowan Ephemera collections.

Needle pack one world Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
One World.  World's best needle book. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.


Needle pack bulldog  children running with dog liza Cown ephemera collections
Bulldog Needle Book. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.


Needlepack pigo needle book Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
Pigo Needle Book. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections


Needle pack army navy Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections
The army an Navy Needle Book. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections



J. Megan Mays is one of my favorite customers at Pine Street Art Works. She gets what I'm doing -  and shares my passion for ephemera. Last week she brought in a disc of scans from her collection of vintage needle books so I could share them with you. Yay Megan, thanks so much for spreading the love of mid century needle book graphics.

The first three are just graphically stunning and simple. They are unusual for the genre because they do not feature people. I've never seen another one like this homage to sewing accessories.

Needlebook, sewing illustration, pin cushion, sewing tape measure, scissors, pins  

Needle book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in USA.

Needlebook Ideal Laundry (house) from J. Megan Mays 

Needle book -Ideal Laundry. Collection of J. Megan Mays

Needlebook, Woolworth, needle illustration, thread, needles in sunrise

Woolworth Needle Book - Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Western Germany.

Typical for needle books is the travel theme because a needle and thread can be so handy on a journey. Railway, airplane, ships, even rockets are common themes for travel in needle land. This family seems on a mythical trip through the Alps.

Needlebook, family travel by train, family 1940's, rail travel, needle case, mother father duaghter in train

The Silvertown, needle case. Collection of J. Megan Mays

Here is the same family in a different, probably earlier guise. You often see the same graphic worked and reworked by different artists and factories.

needle book, maple brand, family looks at mountains, train travel, child pointing 

Maple Brand Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays

This family of four is traveling by air. Or maybe they are welcoming Daddy home after an arduous journey by propeller plane. Gone are the days when we dressed up to travel.

needle book, family with airplane, travel, 1940's, airplane, lady in gloves, father hugs children

Reliance Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan.

This couple is off to the stars on their own private rocket.

Needlebook, atomic, ride a rocket, man woman ride rocket ship, travel to outer space 1940's 

Atomic Gold Eye Needle Book. Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan.

Meanwhile, back home, we revisit the theme of women and children sewing. Or, in this case, Mom is sewing and the kids are fighting.

Needlebook, mother sewing, kids fighting, huge sewing needle 

My Own needle book, Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan

And here we are back to one of the endless variations of a group of women sewing and embroidering.

Needlebook, lovely lady, three women sew, embroider, sewing circle, needle and thread 

Lovely Lady Needle Book, Collection of J. Megan Mays. Made in Japan

So, thanks to Megan for letting me use her collection and I hope you enjoyed it.


This summer marks the 400th Anniversary of Samuel Champlain discovering  invading the body of water known by the Abenaki as Biawbagok - the waters in between, and by the Iroquois as Caniadari Guarunti, the door to the country. The hoopla over the quadricentennial of Lake Champlain now begins.

Ephemera fans can rejoice not in Native American images but in a bounty of European-American images produced over the last hundred or so years. Here are but a few I've collected:

Steamboat Vermont 1809 postcard 

Postcard. Steamboat Vermont. copyright 1909. PSAW ephemera collections

Steamboat Vermont postcard back 

Postcard back.

"This is a picture of the first Steamboat on Lake Champlain. (and the second in the World) It was built and launched at Burlington Vermont, in 1808, just 200 years after Champlain had entered its waters in a birch bark canoe.

The owners and builders were two brothers, John and James Winans; it was called the "Vermont;" and it was 120 feet long, 20 feet beam, 167 tons measurement; with an engine of 20 horse power, and commanded by Capt. John Winans"

Lake Champlain, steamer Ticonderoga, Lake Champlain, burlington 

Postcard. Steamer Ticonderoga.  Ephemera Collections PSAW.

Steamboat Ticonderoga web

The Ticonderoga is now at the Shelburne Museum, Shelburne VT.

"Built in Shelburne in 1906, it operated as a day boat on Lake Champlain serving ports along the New York and Vermont shores until 1953. In 1955, the Ticonderoga was moved two miles overland from the lake to Shelburne Museum in a remarkable engineering effort that stands as one of the great feats of maritime preservation."

Rock Point, lake champlain, huge rocks, tall rocks, rocks on shoreline, pink sunset, hand tinted postcard, vermont 

Rock Point, Lake Champlain. Postcard. PSAW ephemera collections

lake champlain, red rocks, auto 1910, women looking over fence, island lake champlain, burlington vt

Lake Champlain from Red Rocks. Postcard PSAW ephemera collections.

Red Rocks is about a mile from Pine Street Art Works. 

Diamond dyes, 1890's, children's clothing. clothing dye, burlington vt, wells richardson & Co, pug, girls with doll stroller, girls with little dog, girl carrying basket, park bench, sad girl, haughty girl 

Wells, Richardson & Co, Diamond Dyes Trade card. PSAW ephemera collections

Wells, Richardson & Co was a huge business in Burlington during the late 1800's up to the 1930's. I've always imagined that this image takes place at Red Rocks. See the Lake in the background?

Jello Desserts From Around The World.

In this week's mail: the great Jello book I blogged about recently.

This booklet, Desserts From Around the World, is from 1909, almost a hundred years old! It features very Eurocentric versions of people from around the globe and the Jell-0 recipes they've inspired. Here's the centerfold.

 jello desserts of the world centerfold. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

so you can see the details better:

Jello deserts from around the world centerfold, detail. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections.

Jello. The model is Elizabeth King. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections. Li


This one is the Paris Jello eaters. The Eurocentric version of Parisians is, of course, pretty accurate, Paris being a fairly European city.

Jello Desserts, Paris. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

The view of Eve in the Garden Of Eden- eating apple snow Jello - is a riot. I love her garment made of fig leaves. And the text - check out the embedded assumptions:  "Whether woman has always been privileged to prepare man's food for him or not, and to persuade him to eat, is a point on which history furnished unsatisfactory information." But hey, in 1909 women in the United States couldn't even vote.

Jello Desserts. Eve in the Garden Of Eden. Liza Cowan Ephemera Collections

There are additional pages for the Indians (i.e. Native Americans), "now a vanishing race," as well as natives of India, Hawaii,  Japanese, Russia, "oriental countries," and Holland. With enough encouragement, I will post some of these pictures.



Yesterday I posted a couple of details from Jello recipe books. I'm enamored of the way the details of the lithography breaks down into dot patterns. Here are some more.

Jello girl what 6 famous detail Jello Booklet, detail.
You can see that someone wrote over the "W" with pencil. People leave mysterious traces of themselves.

Jello girl red detail blog Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello a door hand detail Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Jello telephone detail
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello and hand detail blog
Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello house jello built detail blog Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Jello girl gv Jello recipe booklet, detail

Jello hands and letters Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Marbled jello Jello Recipe Booklet, detail

Spanish jello detail blog Jello Recipe booklet, detail

Sew and stitch detail blog Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Sweetheart needle detail Needle pack, detail. made in Japan.

Needle detail head
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan

Needle face close
Needle Pack, detail

Needle girl face detail
Needle Pack, detail. made in Japan.

Broadway needle face
Needle Pack, detail. made in japan

Broadway needle kitten close
Needle Pack, detail, made in Japan

Happy home needle book detail blog Needle pack, detail

Rolling chairs-women detail blogAtlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Rolling chairs-detail blog Atlantic City Rolling Chair Postcard, detail

Corset-secret-open detail blog Corset trade card, detail

Diamond dyes detail blogDiamond Dyes Trade Card, detail

Eureka health corset detail blog Corset trade card, detail


Here are some more images from my Jello Ephemera Collection. We'll start with the 1916 recipe book, which is all about the new bride starting her family life with Jello.

Jello bride cover COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONSJello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello =their first dinner at home cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Though the honeymoon is not yet over and everything she does is still perfect, the young housewife who is no cook has gone through a period of awful trepidation while preparing that first dessert."

This was in the day when young ladies of a certain class didn't live alone before they were married, and most likely had household help doing the cooking.


Jello surprising father and mother blog

Jello recipe book. 1916, Liza Cowan ephemera collections.

"In her old home she had never been taught to cook, as so, when her father and mother, making their first visit to "the children"miss her from the room for a moment and then witness her triumphant return, bearing a tray with tea things and napkins and spoons for two, and two beautiful dishes of Jell-o upon it..."



Jello another caller blogJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

"Father and mother and other "company" have come and gone many times  before baby arrives, and the lovely bride, looking hardly a day older, has become a proficient housekeeper."


Jello bride centerfold COWan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book, 1916, centerfold. Cowan ephemera collections.

Jello -a treat for old schoolmates cowan ephemera collectionsJello recipe book, 1916. Cowan ephemera collections.

On this beautiful summer afternoon three of her schoolmates - all happily marries- gather at her home to live again their girlhood life and exchange confidences regarding the whims of their husbands and the cleverness of their babies..."

Jello girl schoolroom recipe book cowan ephemera collections


The Jello girl made her first appearance in 1904. She was Elizabeth King, whose father, Franklin King, was an artist at the ad agency that made the Jello Ads. The Jello girl remained a staple of Jello ads for forty years. She appears at the end of the Jello Bride Recipe Booklet, as well as on the front cover.

"Attention, children! Some day you will be buying groceries, and if they have continued to go up in price, you will do well to consider the cost of different articles of food."

Jello girl no matter where you live COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello girl what 6 famous cooks say of Jello cowan ephemera collectionsJello Recipe book. 1912. Cowan ephemera collections



Jello girl all doors open cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. 1917. Cowan ephemera collections

Jello a door opens detail

Detail. Jello recipe book 1917. Cowan ephemera collection.

Look how beautifully the lithography tolerates enlargement.

Jello girl recipies new talks about jello americas most favorite dessert cowan ephemera collectionsJell-o Recipe book. 1918. Cowan ephemera collections.


Jello girl the kewpies  recipe book cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book, 1915. Cowan ephemera collections.



Jello america's favorite dessert cowan ephemera collections

Jello Recipe book. Date unknown. Cowan ephemera collections

This book has more gorgeous beautifully printed images than any other. And the copy I have is in brilliant shape. The rest of the images in this post are from this book.


Jello america's favorite detail blog

Jello vintage recipe book cowan ephemera collections orange

Jello girl raspbery




Jello house jello built COWAN EPHEMERA COLLECTIONS

Jello recipe booklet vintage centerfolCowan ephemera collections.




My blog banner says, "wherever the ride goes" and I swear I never know what that will be. I was looking a the postcard of the Ambassador Hotel in Atlantic City and I remembered that my mom, Polly Spiegel Cowan, took me to Atlantic city for a weekend when I was about ten years old. It was rainy and cold and I hated it, but I did enjoy her stories about her visits there as a youngster. Of course she stayed at her Uncle Simon's hotel, The Ambassador. It would have been special trip, since she lived in Chicago as a girl. Her favorite memories seemed to be of the rolling chairs. And the salt water taffy. Honestly, I wasn't paying that much attention, I just wanted to get back home. But this vague memory inspired my search for images of Atlantic City rolling chairs.

Atlantic city rolling chairs detroit publishing company 1880-1920
Late 19th or Early 20th Century. The boardwalk was originally built to keep sand out of the hotels. Atlantic city, in it's early days of the 1850's was a health spa and middle class vacation playground. Leisurely walks, or rides, along the boardwalk were a famous attraction.

 1905 blog
Sheet music. 1905

The rolling chair song art neauveau cover
Same song, different version

Atlantic city early rolling cart
Early 20th Century Postcard

Atlantic city nght boardwalk 1908
1908 Postcard, Boardwalk at night

Rolling chairs-women blog
No date on this one. But early 20th century.

Atlantic cityboardwalk 1910 circa
Boardwalk 1910

Atlantic city rolling chair 1914
A Boardwalk pastime. 1914

Rolling chairs-night blog
Atlantic city rolling chairs 1948

Atlantic city rolling cars 1961
Rolling Chairs in 1961, around the time I went with my mother.

Atlantic city rolling chairs circa 196's
This must be late 1960's. The rolling cars have lost their elegance, and there's some horrible piece of institutional architecture added to the otherwise elegant cityscape.

Now Atlantic City is a big gambling strip and since I don't like to print ugly images on my blog I'll stop while the going's good.


I’ve been collecting Jello ephemera for thirty or more years. I used to find recipe booklets at yard sales for a dime, but that Jello_icecream_powder_small_for_blowas then. Now they are a bit pricier, and harder to find, although with eBay anything’s possible, with patience and determination.

Jello started advertising heavily at the beginning of the 20th Century. The early booklets are lush with chromolithographed color. The Jello really does seem to shimmer off the page. Jello was an innovative advertiser throughout the 20th Century, and my collection goes right up to the seventies.

My collection will stay intact and is not for sale unless I have doubles. I do, however, make reproductions and have them mounted by Silver Maple Editions, for sale at Pine Street Art Works.

I only reproduce images from ads in my collection, in limited editions, and only those before 1925. Although it is possible to find good scans of Jello, and other, ads on some websites, I  find it somehow unseemly - if not unethical - to sell copies of electronic copies of copies of art.The parade of simulacra must not be allowed to get too rowdy.

Hello_they_all_want_jell111_3 The back cover of this booklet - of which the above Jello Ice cream Powder was an insert - shows the Jello girl on the phone to the grocer, who is pictured on the front of the booklet answering the phone. Phones were a new technology, and using them in the advertising shows just how modern and up to date the product is. The telephone cord in the picture becomes a real life green string which is threaded through the  green hole on the upper right.

If this ad were  being made today, the girl would be using her Blackberry to call the grocer. If we called the grocer anymore. "Hello, City Market, send over a box of Jello please."