Here are four more blotters from the Dale Hastin collection. Only one is dated, but all have the “Union Pacific System” logo which dates from 1914 through 1932.
The first blotter makes the tepid claim that “only Union Pacific offers you such service to California” without actually saying what that service is, other than the “largest fleet of daily trains.” Like many blotters, this one keeps costs down by being printed in a single color.
The second blotter advertises the Portland Limited as the “only through train between Chicago and Portland.” A second train mentioned, the Continental Limited, wasn’t a “through train” because some of its cars went to Oakland and Los Angeles. The Portland Limited operated as UP’s premiere Portland train from 1909 through 1930, when it was replaced by the Portland Rose.
At first glance, the blotter appears to be printed on rose-colored paper. But a close look reveals that it was white paper with rose, black, brown, and red printing, making it one of the more elaborate blotters–though not as elaborate as yesterday’s Rio Grande blotters, which appear to be printed in six colors.
Printed in just two colors, the third blotter features a few of the words and two bars of music from the popular 1919 song, “Let the Rest of the World Go By.” This song has been recorded by, among others, Gene Autry, Willie Nelson, and Ringo Starr. Although the song doesn’t specifically mention California, it does suggest building “a sweet little nest somewhere in the West.”
Curiously, the blotter also mentions that the Union Pacific has “a roadbed of Sherman gravel, the finest ballast known.” In fact, according to historian Maury Klein, “where other roads had reduced maintenance costs by using crushed rock and processed ballast, the Union Pacific still relied on dirt and sand ballast from Sherman.”
The final blotter is dated 1927, which means it is a year older than the previous Death Valley blotter presented here. This one advertises a two-day side trip on the way to or from Los Angeles for $40; the 1928 blotter quoted a price of just $35.50.