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Published January 20, 2015 Updated July 23, 2022

Reed Paper Products

Reed Paper Products of Waterloo manufactured playing cards until the late 1970s.

Australia Reed Paper Products Paper 1961

Above: jokers and aces of spades used in Nall and Paper Products era. Aces are from the 1900s to late 1920s and the shape of the later ace became narrower after 1937. The Indian Head is reasonably difficult to find, whilst the Imp, Scotsman and especially the kookaburra are easier to find. Only the kookaburra/snake and Ada Reeve jokers (below) continued into the post 1937 era. Images courtesy John Daniels.

A company named Fuerth and Nall is believed to have commenced in the 1880s. Robert G Nall was in partnership with Leopold Fuerth but the partnership was dissolved in 1882, with Robert G Nall maintaining the name and business of Fuerth and Nall (Ltd added after 1905). In c.1920 the name changed to Robert G. Nall Ltd and was changed yet again in c.1928 to Paper Products Ltd. This then became known as Reed Paper Products in 1961.

Reed Paper Products of Waterloo manufactured playing cards until the late 1970s. Paper Products became Reed Paper Products in 1961, then Reed Consolitated Industries in 1966. Around 1978 Reed sold the playing cards off to Hardie Industries, and that part of the business became known as James Hardie Spicers, and a new factory was opened in Melbourne around 1979/80.

All the Reed cards were printed in Sydney at the Amelia St Redfern factory from 1936 to 1979/80. These all have more ‘rounded’ corners. Some kookaburra joker decks were printed in Melbourne around 1980-81. The kookaburra joker - with some changes, and in color - continues to be used in ‘500’ decks.

Above: two advertisement cards showing the range of playing card brands and a change in the company name. See also: Southern Cross Patience

Combo deck, printed by Paper Products in 1934

Above: “Combo” deck printed by Paper Products in 1934. Interesting thing about this deck is although it is printed by Paper Products, the courts are based on Sands & McDougall, and the back design is Spicer-Detmold.

Tintara back designs by Spicer & Detmold Ltd, 1930s

Above: an interesting series they produced was for Tintara. These backs had previously been produced by by Spicer & Detmold Ltd and now have special aces and a kookaburra joker. The backs came in at least 2 colour versions each, at least one had 4 different coloured backs.

Above: Reed’s Queen’s Slipper 500 pack, red/black courts and Kookaburra Joker, after 1979, by Hardie/Spicers - you can tell by the squarer corners. Image courtesy Ken Lodge.

See view of uncut sheet

Above & Right: cards by Reed Paper Products Ltd, c.1975, with pictorial backs. The colour lady joker is taken from a programme cover, and is of Ada Reeve, a singer/performer from early last century. She did the show ‘Spangles’ at the Palace Theatre in 1922.

See: Wikipedia Ada Reeve

Older Paper Products cards have a ‘lineny’ textured paper, and corners are squarish, in pre 1936 cards. The Southern Cross deck of cards has a reg. number of 19194 on the box but all efforts to find a registration application for it have been fruitless. It must have been a popular seller, as decks show up regularly. The 61 card deck is minus the 2 red 13s whilst the 63 card deck includes them.

Above: colour kookaburra joker from a current Queen’s Slipper 500 deck.

Notes courtesy John Daniels.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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