The World of Playing Cards Logo

Playing cards have been with us since the 14th century, when they first entered popular culture. Over the centuries packs of cards, in all shapes and sizes, have been used for games, gambling, education, conjuring, advertising, fortune telling, political messages or the portrayal of national or ethnic identity. All over the world, whatever language is spoken, their significance is universal. Their popularity is also due to the imaginative artwork and graphic design which is sometimes overlooked, and the “then & now” of how things have changed.

Browsing keyword:

Innovation

9 Articles

Hesslers Enhanced

Matt Hessler’s “Enhanced” four-colour playing cards, 2015.

Hesslers Enhanced

33: Functional Changes to Playing Cards

The emphasis throughout my collecting has been on the design of the courts cards, and it should be pointed out that there have been some functional changes to cards, which have affected the traditional designs, especially in the 19th century.

33: Functional Changes to Playing Cards

Triplicate No.18

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).

Triplicate No.18

Secondary Uses

The unprinted backs of playing cards have led people to use them for secondary purposes such as memorandum slips, bibliographic index cards, for declarations of love, rendezvous notes, emergency money, visiting cards and so on.

Secondary Uses

Pneumatic Playing Cards

The surface of the cards was slightly grooved by being rolled on prepared plates, so that there were little pockets of air between each card, which prevented them sticking together.

Pneumatic Playing Cards

Lewis I. Cohen

Lewis I. Cohen made his first deck of cards in 1832. In 1835 Mr Cohen invented a new machine to print four colours on a sheet at once, which was to revolutionise the entire playing card industry. This innovation soon led to his dominance in the market.

Lewis I. Cohen