His background coupled with a certain artistic flair and an interest in photography made possible a departure from the family business.
His first major enterprise was the production of illustrated lanetrn slides, a form of entertainment held all over the country. He later introduced photography, replacing the painted slide which proved to be highly successful.
In 1904 his factory expanded with half the floor space taken by photographic studios as an average of 600 takes a year had to be illustrated.
The Bamforth Postcard evolved from the slide and by the early 1900′s had become increasingly popular. By 1905 he had branches in New York and London, although the head office remained in Holmfirth, and by the end of WW1 20,000,000 cards were being printed every year. By 1960 Bamforth Postcards had become the world’s largest publisher of comic postcards.
Bamforth’s Postcards were the market leader throughout the twentieth century. Their artists poking fun at every aspect of human activity. They commented on politics, fashion and the changes in social activity and perhaps most famously they invaded the toilet and the bedroom. Sex, in various guises and disguises, was the main subject fom the start of the genre.
In 1910, Bamforth’s introduced their first artist-drawn comic postcards employing just four staff artists – Douglas Tempest, Arnold Taylor, Philip Taylor and Brian Fitzpatrick – who contributed the bulk of the output. In addition various freelance artists were used on an irregular basis, including the famous Donald McGill.
The staple characters were extremely fat ladies accompanied by small, ineffectual and hen-pecked husbands. Thin, unattractive girls looking in vain for a boy, entire families, courting couples and men resting from work. The picture said it all, and the cards struck a chord.
In 90 years approximately 50,000 comic designs have been published – the success was phenomenal.