Walkie styles

Walking Pictures emerged in the 1920s, and many of the operators had their own equipment and techniques. As a result, while walkies are quite easy to recognise, there are a number of differences in the way they were taken and processed. The bulk of all walkies were single images sold on postcard size prints (as seen top left), with a regular postcard layout on the back, often including the company name and address (useful if you wanted reprints). The idea was that you could post the card back home to relatives (with one company coining the slogan ‘Go Home On A Postcard’), though in practise only a small proportion of the cards were ever mailed as most which survive are unfranked.

Double images were produced by some companies, with two identical images side by side on a postcard, as on the example below (taken in Torquay in 1936).

Triple images also exist. These have three consecutive images printed on longer strips of photographic card. Few survive as naturally most people cut the strips up to give frames to friends and relatives. The backs often carry the printed words ‘Walking Pictures’, and we believe the paper was sold specially for this trade.

Another type also has sequential frames but was printed so the film edges show on the side of the print (the example here was taken in Derby). Many of these multiple image prints were taken using adapted movie cameras, altered so they only took three images when the handle was cranked. The two frame example here might originally have had three images, with one cut off for a friend.

Almost all walkies have a reference number added to the negative. On early walkie postcards, these were scratched into the glass negatives. Later small numbering devices were built into the camera to show up in the corner of the negative. Other companies wrote the reference number in ink onto the negatives. Some firm went to greater lengths and incorporated logos and even small illustrations at the bottom of the postcard, with the names of the town, and occasionally the year, as seen in the example from Sunny Snaps in Bournemouth taken in 1934 on this page.


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