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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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Brown & Bigelow

13 Articles

Stancraft Playing Cards were manufactured by Brown & Bigelow of whom they were a subsidiary.

Brown & Bigelow

Brown & Bigelow of St Paul, Minnesota, was a leading producer of playing cards in the U.S. from the late 1920s - 1980s.

Brown & Bigelow

Vargas Girls

‘Vargas Girls’ paintings by Alberto Vargas in a deck of cards published by Creative Playing Card Co Missouri.

Vargas Girls

Maya Deck

The Maya Deck produced by Stancraft for Hoyle, 1976.

Maya Deck

Eastern Airlines and Ryder Trucks by Hoyle

Dual advertising deck for Eastern Airlines and Ryder Trucks, produced by Hoyle, 1983.

Eastern Airlines and Ryder Trucks by Hoyle

Stancraft “Split Deck”

Stancraft “Split Deck”, 1979.

Stancraft “Split Deck”

Nu-Vue for TWA

Nu-Vue playing cards by Brown & Bigelow have novel courts and a special tint which are promoted as “the modern eye-saving concept in playing cards”

Nu-Vue for TWA

Binary Playing Cards

Promotional deck for Honeywell Computers by Brown & Bigelow c.1968 with the cards marked in binary notation

Binary Playing Cards

Remembrance

“Remembrance” playing cards, courtesy of the American Legion, manufactured by Brown & Bigelow, c.1940.

Remembrance

Michie Tavern Museum

Historic Michie Tavern Museum playing cards by Brown & Bigelow.

Michie Tavern Museum

Stancraft

Stancraft Playing Cards were manufactured by Brown & Bigelow of whom they were a subsidiary.

Stancraft

Hoyle

A subsidiary of Brown & Bigelow was established in 1927 to bring Hoyle products to the retail market.

Hoyle

Submarine Cards

Lighting in submarines involved wearing red goggles to preserve night vision for viewing instrument panels. The goggles solved one problem but created another: the red suits on playing cards were not visible through the red goggles.

Submarine Cards

Nutrimientos Purina

Nutrimientos Purina (Purina pet foods) advertising playing cards produced by Miguel Galas S.A. (Brown & Bigelow), Mexico, c.1960.

Nutrimientos Purina

Brown & Bigelow

Brown & Bigelow of St Paul, Minnesota, was a leading producer of playing cards in the U.S. from the late 1920s - 1980s.

Brown & Bigelow