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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.

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patent

22 Articles

Warren Paper Products

Warren Paper Products Co., Lafayette, Indiana, publishers of Built-Rite toys, games and puzzles.

Warren Paper Products

Rainbow

Rainbow card game and colour mixing guide printed by Goodall & Sons for Robert Johnson, c.1920.

Rainbow

A Royal Game

A Royal Game featuring Queen Victoria’s children and extended family, published by A. Collier, London, c.1896.

A Royal Game

Leather Card Case Patent Application

In 1932, a patent was granted to Colin Hart and George Franklin for a leather case in the form of a book cover for playing cards.

Leather Card Case Patent Application

Zum

Zum card game published by Milton Bradley Co., c.1905.

Zum

Uback

Uback horse racing game patent specification, Chad Valley Co Ltd, 1922.

Uback

Lincard

“Lincard” card game invented by John William Wolf and patented in 1937.

Lincard

Parker Brothers

Parker Brothers, Salem, Mass., USA.

Parker Brothers

Touring

Touring Automobile card game published by Wallie Dorr Company, NY, in c.1920.

Touring

Globe Card Company

“Globe Playing Cards” patented on Oct. 6, 1874 by I. N. Richardson.

Globe Card Company

Tally-Ho

The earliest Ace of Spades had the Centre Street address and the Jolly Joker was used until the “Tally-Ho” Joker was introduced in the early 1900s. The brand has seen only minor variations over the years.

Tally-Ho

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

Russell’s Regulars

Willis W. Russell’s “Regulars” were first issued in c.1906, a brand aimed at the armed forces, in tribute to men of the “regular army”. It was patented with ‘Long Distance Pips’ with shading in the hearts and spades.

Russell’s Regulars

15: Perforated Cards, Metal Finish and Other Oddities

There are some unusual designs in playing cards, even the shape of the card.

15: Perforated Cards, Metal Finish and Other Oddities

Letterpress

Some notes on the manufacture of playing cards taken from Thomas De la Rue's patent, 1831.

Letterpress

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

Samuel Hart, 1846-1871

Samuel Hart was a prolific manufacturer of playing cards who commenced business sometime around 1845 in Philadelphia. He had previously worked for L.I. Cohen.

Samuel Hart, 1846-1871

John Newman’s Colour Cards

John Newman’s Colour Cards

John Newman’s Colour Cards