Andrew Dougherty was born in Donegal in Northern Ireland in 1827. He started his playing card business in New York in 1848.
Columbian Exposition Souvenir playing cards, G.W. Clark, Chicago, 1893.
Dougherty was at the forefront of innovation, adding Best Bowers and then Jokers, rounded corners and various types of indices, or indicators, to his cards.
Dougherty first secured a patent for “Triplicates” in 1876, a novel type of indices with a miniature card in the top left-hand corner (and bottom right). These kept Dougherty at the forefront of innovation.
Willis & Company was formed in 1869, having been preceded by Charles Steer at the same address (80 Long Acre, London), who also manufactured playing cards during the 1850s and 60s.