In Europe, as early as the 17th century and before, there have been cads. This being the sad reality of life in this world, you don't want just anyone coming over to your house. And this is where Calling Cards, otherwise known as Visiting Cards, come in.
The way it worked was pretty much like this: a fellow would want to stop by for visit to a pretty lady's house. But he hasn't been formally introduced or anything. So, he drops his calling card off with the trusty butler. If the female in the equation was open to a visit from said fellow, she would drop off a calling card with the fellow's butler. These calling cards might be seriously decorated and embossed, and usually bore the person's name only(unlike a calling cad, who was usually not embossed and was turned away at the door, sometimes with a kick in ye olde back region).
By now you've probably spotted the fatal flaw with this system. That's right, most of us don't have servants, butlers, valets, etc. But even a moderate middle class family in the 1800's had maids or servants of some sort. Oh that we could go back to that system! Alas, such is not our reality any longer, and when that reality started to wane so visiting cards fell generally out of use.
And yet...and yet, they still exist! They are making a sort of come back, and I like the idea. The new version may still be embossed and decorated, but the trick here is that they no longer merely reveal the person's name--they mention, as a business card would, contact information. This might include all of one's contact info (address, email, phone, fax) or just one or two of those things.
Should you get a Calling/Visiting card? Why not? And unlike a boring business card you can employ whatever graphics and the like that you, well, er, like. It's a tradition whose time of return has come! And heck, with printers these days, and a few sheets of card stock, you can print your own.
This segues wonderfully into some recommended links for this Wednesday:
If you don't want to make your own visiting cards, and you want bespoke (yes, bespoke) visiting cards, check out EXIMIUS. And it has a variety of other really great stuff.
Days of Elegance has some good photos of period Victorian calling cards.
Victoriana has bunches of, yes, Victoriana--including some good stuff on men's fashion of the mid-1800's.
With that, toodle-pip, lads!