Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, when lovers said or sang their Valentines. Written Valentines began to appear after 1400. The oldest Valentine in existence was made in the 1400's and is in the British Museum. Paper Valentines were exchanged in Europe where they were given in place of valentine gifts. Paper Valentines were especially popular in England. In the early 1800's, Valentines began to be assembled in factories. Early manufactured Valentines were black and white pictures painted by workers in a factory. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid 1800's. By the end of the 1800's, Valentines were being made entirely by machine. In the early 1870's, Esther Howland, an American printer and artist was among the first to publish and sell Valentines in the United States. In the early 1900's a card company named Norcross became one of the first companies to manufacture Valentines. With the exception of Christmas, American's exchange more cards on Valentine's Day than any other time of year.