Manufacturing Processes

18th century playing-card manufacturing workshops
cardmaker's tools

The manufacture of playing cards provided jobs and livelihood for large numbers of people (as well as entertainment to even larger numbers). Often taxes were raised from the industry for the benefit of the poor, orphans or widows. Before industrialisation cards were hand-made by apprentices and workers with diverse skills. Gradually these skills were replaced by machinery which was intended to make business more competitive and profitable. Innovations in printing technologies - woodcuts, engraving, lithography, offset, digitisation - have impacted the appearance of playing cards.

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