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.

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Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

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This firm commenced producing playing cards with the name Kalamazoo Paper Box & Card Co in 1903.

Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

This firm commenced producing playing cards with the name Kalamazoo Paper Box & Card Co in 1903.

Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

This firm commenced producing playing cards with the name Kalamazoo Paper Box & Card Co in 1903.

Kalamazoo Playing Card Co

Russell Playing Card Co.

Willis W. Russell started a modest playing card business in Milltown, a small town in northern New Jersey, in 1905.

Russell Playing Card Co.

Smart Set 400

The “Smart Set 400” brand with named backs was introduced in c.1906 by the Kalamazoo Playing Card Co. in Michigan. Kalamazoo subsequently merged with the Russell Playing Card Co. in around 1913 or 1914. Thereafter the “Smart Set 400” series continued to be published by the Russell Playing Card Co.

Smart Set 400