Who was "F S"


Cards by "F S"

This research started because I was interested in the identity of "Karaktus" and the Crown Publishing Company who published comic post cards in St Albans in about 1908. I discovered some slightly earlier "Crown Series" post cards which included some signed "F S" - who had also published cards for the London View Company which went bankrupt shortly before the Crown Publishing Company appeared.


This raised an interesting question. Was "F S" the founder of the Crown Publishing Company and if so could identifying "F S" help me to identify "Karaktus"? On ebay "F S" is sometime referred to as "Fred Stone" and sometimes to "Fred Spurgin" - but most sellers do not associate a name with "F S."


So I decided to try and find out about who "F S" was by finding out what he published and where. His publication pattern turned out to be very complex  - with a range of different post card companies printing his work, at least three different back on cards published in the United States, and other cards on simple backs. Some designs were printed by more than one publishers - sometime omitting his signature.






The current evidence strongly points to one very talented artist, Fred Spurgin, who initially used the name Fred Stone prior to about 1906. He then simply used the initials "F S" between 1906 and 1910 (with some cards being reprinted as later as 1916 without the initials) and from 1910 usually signed his own name.  He also used other names on post cards - such as Karaktus, Syllikuss and Tom Gay - and it may well be that he did unsigned work for various publishing companies.


  Karaktus Post Card - St Albans - Deer Dear  
by "Fred Stone"   by "Karaktus"   by "Syllikuss"


This online catalogue will concentrate on listing the "F S" cards, and any others that he he produced under any name before 1910. Only a brief outline will be given of his vast output of postcards and other art after 1910.