Ferdinand Piatnik & Sons of Vienna have used a number of different models for their standard English pattern cards. For a full list of my Piatnik cards, click here►
The earliest I know of are based on the courts of the New York Consolidated Card Co. from c.1910.
These courts were still in use (with redrawn plates) in the 1950s in their oversize Kaffeehaus Whist packs.
Between the two world wars they also used the United States PCCo unturned courts that USPCC used in their wide Congress cards. After WWII a turned version was used and it is still in use today. The
lower pack was bought in 2014.
At the same time the De La Rue versions of Goodall courts, both wide and bridge size, were used as models. These are from the 1930s.
In 1898 the Austrian firm bought the Prague firm of Ritter & Cie, whose courts were later used by the Czech successor firm, Obchodni Tiskarny. Here are cards and the box from a late Piatnik edition of Casino 240 from c.1946.
For their large index cards from c.1960 onwards they used a turned version of Waddington’s design with faces redrawn in their own style. These are also found in some of the Playboy packs.
The design that they are most associated with appears to be related to a design used in NYCC bridge packs during the 1920s and 30s. It is not an exact copy, but has some of the idiosyncratic features of the design, such as the red queens’ hands poking out of circular openings in their clothing. In the more expensive packs they have coloured faces with a “film-star” appearance. (Not a very accurate description, but the style is modelled on the NYCC originals; see below.) There is a smaller version in slim-line packs.
The NYCC original design is below.
There are other versions of this design with somewhat more crudely drawn faces, sometimes coloured, sometimes not. The lower pack is from an early canasta set (No. 263) of c.1950: the black suit-signs are too large to fit between the heads and the frameline.
Redrawn plates: I have a pack of these with a De La Rue AS made during a printing strike in c.1968, and another with a Cambissa AS for the shipping line, Home Lines.
These courts are also to be found redrawn in a large-index, No-Revoke pack for John Newman, otherwise anonymous, 1999-2001. These may have been made by Piatnik or maybe even Richard Edward.
Member since May 14, 2012View Articles
I'm Ken Lodge and have been collecting playing cards since I was about eighteen months old (1945). I am also a trained academic, so I can observe and analyze reasonably well. I've applied these analytical techniques over a long period of time to the study of playing cards and have managed to assemble a large amount of information about them, especially those of the standard English pattern. Read more...
Jacob Wolfe Spear founded his company manufacturing fancy goods in 1879 near Nuremberg in Bavaria, Germany
RCI Playing Cards, a 20th century playing-card maker of Minneapolis, 1969-1985.
The firm of Thomas Woolley lasted for many years from 1836-1904 in several different guises.
Parker Brothers, Salem, Mass., USA.
Ferd. Piatnik produced a very large range of cards with many different standard and non-standard patterns. This is a survey of his standard English output.
SPIELKARTENFABRIEK VON C.L. WÜST, 1811 - 1927. A short history of the Wüst factory by Martin Shaw & Paul Symons.
The “Star” special pack of playing cards manufactured by Thomas De la Rue under their Empire Card Co subsidiary, c.1910.
Hudson Industries Pty Ltd of Carlton in Victoria was first registered as a printing company in 1920. In the 1940s they registered their own distinctive ace of spades and joker.
John Sands had incorporated the earlier playing card manufacturing businesses of Hudson Industries Pty Ltd and Valentine Publishing Co.
The Valentine Group, Australia.
Goodall’s earliest cards were traditional in appearance but in around 1845 ‘modernised’ courts were designed
British Playing Cards Ltd was the predecessor of Universal P.C.Co. and involved Alf Cooke of Leeds and Bemrose of Birmingham, and maybe one or two other printing firms.
In 19th century England there were a number of makers who produced cards in relatively small quantities.
This page continues the presentation of examples of the major English cardmakers of the 19th century.
An overview of the courts and aces of spades produced by James English.
Standard Playing Card Co. started producing playing cards in c.1890 but was in business for only about four years before United States Playing Card Company acquired it in 1894.
The American Bank Note Company was a long-established firm producing national currency, finely engraved stock certificates and other security printing, including postage stamps. They also entered the playing card market c.1908-1914.
An ‘Old Frizzle’ Ace of Spades was assigned to them in 1833. In 1853 James L. & J. Turnbull were listed as ‘Makers of Playing Cards, Pasteboard, Paper Glossers and Pressers and Drawing Board Makers.
Willis W. Russell started a modest playing card business in Milltown, a small town in northern New Jersey, in 1905.
Thomas Wheeler appears in directories at 2 Richbell St (1799), 8 Middle Row, Holborn (1801), 118 Holborn Hill (1802-07) and 127 Holborn Hill (1807-21).
During the 1930s The Ormond Printing Co. Ltd produced playing cards for the Irish market with a distinctive ace of spades, joker and court cards. In 1935 the firm was acquired as a manufacturing facility for Waddington’s cards in Eire.
In December 1831 Thomas de la Rue was granted his patent for printing playing cards by letterpress.
Irish Playing Card Manufacturing Company.
Igor Domicelj commenced producing playing cards in c.1945. By the early 1950s the range had grown to include Naipes La Estrella, Barcelonesa, Chinita, La Española, Fantasio, Cartas Gitanas, Naipes Tipo Húngaro and a Jewish Quartet game.
Berger also produced a Hungarian-type "Seasons" pack with the brand name "La Estrella" and a six-pointed star logo, which was subsequently used by Domicelj and Vigor, suggesting some sort of business succession.
A. Van Genechten ran a flourishing business, supplying various kinds of cards both inside the country and abroad including England, Spain, France, Denmark, South-East Asia, China and Japan.
Originally known as Cappellano Hnos in the 1920s, and undergoing several changes of name and address, the company produced catalan style packs with the brand names "Naipes Triunfo" and "Torcacita" as well as an Anglo-American style pack titled "VELCAP".
Brown & Bigelow of St Paul, Minnesota, was a leading producer of playing cards in the U.S. from the late 1920s - 1980s.
Thai Playing Cards Manufacturing Factory
SOIMCA - Sociedade Impressora Caxiense - is an important playing card manufacturer in Brazil. It was established by Nelson Soares in Caxias do Sul, in the south of Brazil, by 1955.
Rotxotxo Workshop Inventories, Barcelona, 1660-1800.
Amos Whitney Factory Inventory. What it was like inside an 18th century playing card factory...
Colour lithography was invented in 1798 by a Bavarian actor and playwright named Alois Senefelder (1771-1834). It is based on the principle that oil and water do not mix.
The luxury playing card factory founded in Frankfurt am Main by Bernhard Dondorf in 1833 existed for 100 years.
Aluette playing cards manufactured by Dieudonné & Cie, Angers (France), early 20th century.
Non-Standard playing cards manufactured by Joseph Glanz, Vienna, Austria, 1862.
Litográfica del Perú S.A. were manufacturers of playing cards in Peru sometime around the decades of the 1970s and/or 1980s.
The Western Playing Card Company was formed in 1927. The exact history and origins are not clear.
The Mesmaekers firm had been established in Turnhout in 1859 by the partnership of Gustaaf Mesmaekers and Louis-François Moentack.
Brotherton is recorded as operating at 13 Little Britain (London) from 1789-1840. In 1851 his factory was burnt down.