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Published February 14, 2013 Updated July 17, 2023

Craddock Soap Stage Souvenir

The deck is described on the box as “a portfolio of photographs of the leading lights of the stage”

1895 USA United States Playing Card Co. Advertising Movies & Film Souvenir Theatre Add to Collection

Craddock's Soap Theatrical playing cards, published in 1895 by the Eureka Soap Co., Cincinnati, were not only a testimony to the stage stars of that era, but also good for personal hygiene. We learn from the box and the back that the medicated blue soap cost only 10c. However, possibly of more interest are the portrait photos of actors and actresses, described on the box as “a portfolio of photographs of the leading lights of the stage”. The pictures give us a glimpse into the clothing and hairstyles of the period.

Biographies of the actors and actresses depicted can readily be found on-line. For example, Edward Connelly (1859-1928) was a silent movie star. Charlotte Walker (1876-1958) was an actress, and so on.

Craddock's Soap Theatrical playing cards, published in 1895 by the Eureka Soap Co., Cincinnati box from Craddock Soap Stage Souvenir Deck, 1895

Above: Craddock's Soap Theatrical playing cards, published in 1895 by the Eureka Soap Co., Cincinnati. The advertiser did not allow the manufacturer to print its name anywhere on the deck. They felt that since they were paying for the entire cost of the deck, they would not let the manufacturer get a ‘free ride' by advertising it's name on the deck. However, we are able to tell that he deck was made by U.S.P.C.C. by reference to the flap on the box where is printed “Murray’s Pat. Finger Recess No.434,878”. Images courtesy Rod Starling.

Right: "Murray's Patent Finger Recess" referred to on the box flap refers to Samuel J. Murray who worked for Russell & Morgan until 1886 and established The National Playing Card Company. That company did so well that in 1893 Russell & Morgan bought it out. Murray was very inventive and designed a lot of the machinery used in the production of playing cards in addition to the finger recess for the tuck boxes →

See also:  The Stage No.65, 1896“Movie Souvenir” Playing Cards→


REFERENCES

Dawson, Tom & Judy: The Hochman Encyclopedia of American Playing Cards, U.S. Games Systems Inc., 2000

Starling, Rod: Tales from the Stage, in 'Clear the Decks', the Newsletter for 52 Plus Joker (edited by Judy Dawson).

Images from the collection of Rod Starling, author of "The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards".

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94 Articles

By Rod Starling

Member since January 09, 2013

Rod Starling was one of the founding members of the 52 Plus Joker card collectors club. He authored many articles for the club's quarterly newsletter, Clear the Decks. His collection encompasses both foreign and American decks. Rod also authored a book titled The Art and Pleasures of Playing Cards.


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