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Nationalities

“Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897.

The educational “Game of Nationalities”, with beautiful illustrations of the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897. Some card makers wished to produce games for children but needed to allay their condemnation by religious communities. In 1896 executives of the United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati, Ohio, formed a separate company, The Fireside Game Company, to produce card games filled with historical facts, foreign customs and other information, which were endorsed by pastors and bishops. By about 1908 the need for a dummy company selling educational cards had passed and the U.S. Playing Card Company sold educational games under its own name. For other games in the series, see the extra cards

“Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897 “Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897

Above: “Nationalities” card game published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897. the Fireside Game Co. and the Cincinnati Game Co both belonged to the US Playing Card Co and the three names were used to published many games around either side of 1900. Lots of them were a bit dull with black and white or sepia pictures but all of them came in a nice lid + bottom box.

“Nationalities”, the people of many nations, published by the Fireside Game Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, c.1897
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By Rex Pitts (1940-2021)

Member since January 30, 2009

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Rex's main interest was in card games, because, he said, they were cheap and easy to get hold of in his early days of collecting. He is well known for his extensive knowledge of Pepys games and his book is on the bookshelves of many.

His other interest was non-standard playing cards. He also had collections of sheet music, music CDs, models of London buses, London Transport timetables and maps and other objects that intrigued him.

Rex had a chequered career at school. He was expelled twice, on one occasion for smoking! Despite this he trained as a radio engineer and worked for the BBC in the World Service.

Later he moved into sales and worked for a firm that made all kinds of packaging, a job he enjoyed until his retirement. He became an expert on boxes and would always investigate those that held his cards. He could always recognize a box made for Pepys, which were the same as those of Alf Cooke’s Universal Playing Card Company, who printed the card games. This interest changed into an ability to make and mend boxes, which he did with great dexterity. He loved this kind of handicraft work.

His dexterity of hand and eye soon led to his making card games of his own design. He spent hours and hours carefully cutting them out and colouring them by hand.


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