Michael Bushnell

This advertising postcard for the M&T Tire Company at 4629 Troost was produced in the late 1920s and is an excellent example of advertising postcards of the day.

The hand-drawn, hand-colored image was done by none other than John Held, Jr., a nationally known artist who was wildly popular during the 1920’s for creating the “flapper” art style. Held’s signature can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the picture.

Held’s image shows the “boyfriend” working feverishly with a hammer and a pry bar, “sufferin’ blowouts, if I only had a spare,” to separate the two-piece wheel rim to install the new inner tube and tire.

The “girlfriend,” obviously not impressed with the boyfriend’s ineptitude, tells him in no uncertain terms, to “get Goodyears on all four rims,” or color her gone.

Changing tires back in the day was not for the faint of heart. Tools involved were usually hammers, pry bars (numerous, as seen in this postcard), gloves and usually a high tolerance for pain. Spoke wheels, common on most of the cars of that day, had bias ply tires that required inner tubes and a rubber flap that covered the inside part of the spoke wheels so the inner tube wouldn’t pop.

There was also a locking ring that fit around the edge of the wheel rim that held the inflated tire on the wheel. The locking rings could and did often explode off a tire with tragic consequences if it wasn’t seated correctly when the tire was inflated. Improvements in wheel design in the 1950’s and 60’s prompted the NTSB to ban split rims on passenger car tires in the mid-1960’s for safety reasons.

Held, who was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, began his art career in 1905 at the Salt Lake City Tribune drawing sports characters and cartoons with his high school friend Harold Ross. Relocating to New York City in 1910, he drew department store ads and subway posters.

By 1925, Held’s work had appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar and the New Yorker. It was during this period Held was commissioned by F. Scott Fitzgerald to create the cover art for his new books.

Held’s first cover for Fitzgerald was a companion book of short stories for “The Beautiful and Damned,” Fitzgerald’s 1922 classic, “Tales of the Jazz Age,” and in 1923, “The Vegetable.” Held also designed the cover for Edna Ferber’s 1924 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, “So Big.”

When asked about creating the flapper image, Held indicated he just drew what was around him. When the style became incredibly popular, he just kept on drawing.

Held continued working through the 1940’s and 50’s, passing away in 1958 at the age of 69 from throat cancer.

This postcard was mailed on July 13, 1928, to Mr. R.T. Dempsey at 4501 Holmes in Kansas City. Held was probably commissioned by Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company to create a set of cartoons to be used in advertisements by their network of franchise affiliates across the country.

The address on the card today is the site of the Midland Hardware Store.