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Published May 30, 2010 Updated May 31, 2022

Lewis I. Cohen

Lewis I. Cohen made his first deck of cards in 1832. In 1835 Mr Cohen invented a new machine to print four colours on a sheet at once, which was to revolutionise the entire playing card industry.

1832 USA Lewis I. Cohen New York Consolidated Card Co Innovation Add to Collection

Lewis I. Cohen (1832-1860)

Lewis I. Cohen made his first deck of cards in 1832. In 1835 Mr Cohen invented a new machine to print four colours on a sheet at once, which was to revolutionise the entire playing card industry. This innovation soon led to his dominance in the market. In 1838 he moved to 118 William Street and in 1844 purchased a large building at 184-190 William St., to house his newly expanded plant. At the same time he relocated his store to 134 William St. Meanwhile Lewis Cohen gave control of his firm to his son Solomon L. Cohen and his nephew John M. Lawrence. On Lewis Cohen's death in 1860 the company changed to Lawrence, Cohen & Co. and in 1864 to Lawrence & Cohen.

Above: 'Highlanders' deck produced by L.I. Cohen, c.1840-60. The full-length courts have been made to resemble the wood-block courts of earlier times. A facsimile edition of the deck was published by U.S.Games Systems titled 'Highlanders'. See fragments of cards discovered behind an old door hinge.


Lawrence, Cohen & Co. (1860-1864)

On Lewis Cohen's death in 1860 the company was managed by his son Solomon L. Cohen and his nephew John M. Lawrence, and the name changed to Lawrence, Cohen & Co. In 1864 the company name changed yet again to Lawrence & Cohen. The cards shown below are from this brief period.

Above: one of the earliest decks with the Lawrence, Cohen & Co. name, which can be read on the Ace of Spades along with the 184 William Street address, c.1860. This subsequently became the address for the New York Consolidated Card Company when this was formed in the early 1870s.

Lawrence, Cohen & Co. became Lawrence & Cohen in 1864.

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By Simon Wintle

Member since February 01, 1996

Founder and editor of the World of Playing Cards since 1996. He is a former committee member of the IPCS and was graphics editor of The Playing-Card journal for many years. He has lived at various times in Chile, England and Wales and is currently living in Extremadura, Spain. Simon's first limited edition pack of playing cards was a replica of a seventeenth century traditional English pack, which he produced from woodblocks and stencils.


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