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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.

Browsing manufacturer:

W.H. Willis & Co.

6 Articles

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.

W. H. Willis & Co

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.

W. H. Willis & Co

66: Adverts and related material 1862-1900

Some further material relating to cards from nineteenth and twentieth century periodicals.

66: Adverts and related material 1862-1900

37: Late 19th Century Card-Makers and Problem Cases

After the Old Frizzle period and the tax was reduced to 3d per pack, from 1862 onwards, a number of makers started up, who hadn't made cards before, although they were part of the paper and pasteboard industry.

37: Late 19th Century Card-Makers and Problem Cases

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

There is a very interesting collection of playing cards held at the Strangers' Hall Museum in Norwich.

27: Cards at Strangers’ Hall, Norwich

Deakin’s 1st edition

Deakin & Co., 45 Eastcheap, London EC published a political pack in 1886 with caricatures of political figures relating to the Irish Home Rule movement which was a contentious issue of the day.

Deakin’s 1st edition

W. H. Willis & Co

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.

W. H. Willis & Co