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Mechanical Trade Cards usually have rotating, sliding or hinged parts that move to create an animated effect. Rotating parts are usually disks fastened by a grommet and display different images as the disk revolves. Sliding parts are usually activated by pulling a tab. Hinged parts are usually a person's arm or leg that moves as the card is opened. Mechanical cards having a show girl's leg pop up into the air were quite popular among men and are called "kickers."

Mechanical trade cards are to be distinguished from metamorphic trade cards which usually employ one or more folds to show a transformed image as the card is unfolded, usually a before to after change. The distinction is sometimes blurred and confusing, however, because mechanical cards involve a transformation and metamorphic cards have moving parts.

Some examples of mechanical trade cards are shown here at 25 percent of actual size. Click on a card for a larger view and a description that includes the price it brought at auction (without buyer's premium).