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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.

C.W. Faulkner

C. W. Faulkner & Co Ltd, London, an important publisher of games, pictorial souvenirs, children’s books, and postcards.

C. W. Faulkner & Co Ltd, 79 Golden Lane, London E.C.

An important publisher of games, pictorial souvenirs, children’s books, and postcards.

C W. Faulkner & Co were prolific card game manufacturers and art publishers for over 80 years (c.1870-1950s). Faulkner was originally in the Christmas card business together with Albert Hildesheimer working as lithographers and printing in gravure. In 1885 the partnership ended with Faulkner taking over the business, becoming a limited company in 1905. They published a number of family card games illustrated by well-known artists of the day, including Ethel Parkinson (1868–1957), John H. Bacon (1865–1914), George Lambert (1873–1930) and Albert Ernest Kennedy (1883–1963).  C. W. Faulkner and Co also produced all types of Calendars, Christmas and New Year Cards, Birthday Cards, Painting Books and Boxes, Motto Cards, Diaries, Story Books, etc. and in 1922 they were cited as “The Leading Art Publishers”. Many of their cards were printed in Germany and Austria.

The principal game titles published over the years include:

Bluffing, Union Jack, Misfitz, Domestic Economy, Musical Snap, Fairy Tales, C.W.F Snap, Flora, Card Golf, Kings and Queens of England Misfitz, National Misfitz, Fairy Legend Misfitz, Animal Misfitz, Golly Misfitz, Society Misfitz, Many Folk Misfitz, Shakespearian Misfitz, Patriotic Misfitz, Zoological Misfitz, Zooloo Misfitz, Wonderland Misfitz, Dolly Dump Misfitz, Hurry-up Misfitz, All The Winners, Race Cardo, Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum, Happy Families, Busy Families, Bargains, Fighting for the Standard, Mallentino, Questions & Answers, Stock Exchange, Musical Notes, Spot it, The Cat & The Mouse, Attracto, Association Football, Cries of London, Farmyard Snap, Kicardo, Steeplechase, Wordmaking, Authors, Animals, Our Pets Snap, Zooloo, Circulating Library, Fox & Hounds, Empyr as well as Jig-Saws.


C. W. Faulkner's “Little Folk Misfitz” illustrated by Ethel Parkinson, c.1910

Above: Little Folk Misfitz designed by Ethel Parkinson, c.1910

Nursery Rhymes Misfitz by C. W. Faulkner & Co

Above: Nursery Rhymes Misfitz.

Above: Faulkner's “Animal Misfitz” was designed by George Lambert, c.1900.

Above: Faulkner's “Hurry-Up Misfitz”, with some of the finest card illustrations depicting vintage methods of transportation, was designed by George Lambert, c.1907

Faulkner's “Fairy Legend Misfitz”, c.1908

Above: Faulkner's “Fairy Legend Misfitz”, c.1908

Faulkner's “Patriotic Misfitz”, c.1909

Above: Faulkner's “Patriotic Misfitz”, c.1909

Usually it seems the older Misfitz games with 72 cards were reissued at a later date in packs of 54 cards or 60 cards. The later Misfitz games from around 1920, were issued in packs of 54 cards but there were only 9 figures with all the cards duplicated.


REFERENCES & NOTES

Grace's Guide to British Industrial History

NOTE: On the boxes of games published by C. W. Faulkner & Co it often reads: “Printed in Bavaria” or “Printed in Saxony”. Faulkner marketed Dondorf packs in their own boxes, best-known is probably Dondorf’s / Faulkner’s Shakespeare pack, but there are also others. However, Dondorf was in Frankfurt/Main, and that was neither Bavaria nor Saxony but Prussia since 1866.  J. W. Spear might fit with Bavaria, as they produced in Nürnberg, but otherwise I do not have any definite information where the cards might have been printed. (Thanks to Peter Endebrock for this information).

Above: “Bargains”, designed by George Lambert, c.1900, offering an insight into the wit of a different era.

Above: Busy Families, 1903

Above: Shakespearian Misfitz, designed by George Lambert, c.1907

Shakespeare Playing Cards

• “Three Bears Snap”, designed by Albert E. Kennedy c.1930 →

• “Our Pets Snap”, designed by Albert E. Kennedy c.1930 →

• “Fairyland Snap”, designed by Albert E. Kennedy c.1930 →

Above: Faulkner's “Happy Families”, designed by Albert E. Kennedy, c.1930

Above: Faulkner's “Farmyard Snap”, designed by Albert E. Kennedy, c.1930

1922 advertisement

Box Bottoms with lists of games

From the lists on the backs of boxes we can see new titles appearing over time. C.W. Faulkner & Co became a limited company in 1905.

1896 box from Bluffing Snap

Above: 1896 box from Bluffing Snap.

1902 box from Musical Snap

Above: the list of other Faulkner games on the back of the Musical Snap box, 1902.

1902 box from CWF Snap

Above: 1902 box from CWF Snap; there are now 4 misfitz games to choose from.

box from Flora, 1903

Above: box from Flora, 1903.

1903 box from Fairy Tales

Above: The list on the back is puzzling. It says that there have been two designs before the International Misfitz they are promoting. This contradicts the CWF Snap box where Original Misfitz, Busy Folk, Zoological ad Dolly Dump are promoted.

Above: all images from the collection of Rex Pitts.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

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Curator and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996.

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