Companies in the late 1870's to early 1900's distributed trade cards as promotions with products. Almost any consumer item of that era can be found advertised on a card, including laundry day products like pressing irons, soap and wringer washers.
The front of the cards were usually decorative, humorous, or offered some sort of political commentary; the backs were reserved for company advertising. They were made of a combination of paper pulp and rag, similar in composition to paper money, and have proven extremely durable. Collectors today prize these albums, as the valuable trade cards can be carefully soaked from the album pages, pressed and dried.