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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.

Heber Mardon (1840- 1925)

Heber Mardon was born in 1840. With his father he founded the firm of Mardon and Son which, in 1863, became Mardon, Son & Hall.

Heber Mardon was a former head of the well-known firm of Mardon, Son & Hall. He was born on the 28th April, 1840 and was the son of Mr James Mardon who, in 1846, moved to Bristol to join his cousin, Mr John Harris, in the printing trade at 39 Broad Street. Heber and his brother John were trained in the business, which developed considerably in the course of years, absorbing others and ever requiring larger premises.

In 1860 Mr Heber Mardon founded, with his father, the firm of Mardon and Son, with works at 10 & 11 St. Stephen Street. In the same year he married a daughter of Mr Joseph Hall, of Clifton, whose son George became a partner in the printing business in 1863, the name then becoming Mardon, Son & Hall. The firm became known far and wide for cardboard box making and artistic colour printing, including cigarette picture cards.

In 1867 the business moved to Milk Street. Mr James Mardon died in 1896, having retired many years earlier, leaving Mr Heber Mardon sole proprietor. The extensive factories at Temple Gate were erected in the 1880s and in 1897 a limited company was formed with Mr Heber Mardon as chairman. The firm catered largely for Messrs W.D. and H.O. Wills and other leading tobacco manufacturers, and became associated with the Imperial Tobacco Company on its formation.

Heber Mardon retired to Teignmouth in around 1914, where he made an impact in the local community. The land now belonging to the Teignmouth Golf Club had been generously given to the club by Heber Mardon in the 1920s. He also made a superb gift of engraving plates to the Bristol Museum and gave his collection of Napoleonic artefacts to Exeter Museum.


REFERENCES

Heber Mardon obituary in the Western Daily Press, 2nd April 1925, kindly provided by Miss Viv Wilson MBE.

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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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