When Was Playing Cards Invented (2023)

By the late 14th century playing cards were in widespread use right across Europe and card-making shops were emerging everywhere. It was in Germany that the giant leap forward took place in printing, and wood blocks were churning out cards by the 100s. The earliest examples of European design displayed the ‘Latin Suits' of Swords, Batons, Cups and Coins. The Germans and the Swiss were producing more elegant forms as Hearts, Bells, Leaves and Acorns (1475) and by the 1480s the French had turned to producing Hearts, Clubs, Spades and Diamonds.

Although the first playing cards to arrive in England were Latin suited, by the 1590's the most common cards in circulation were those of French origin.

It was the Europeans who began to give the Court cards their faces, and as they did so their characters turned to more familiar titles like 'King', 'Chevalier' and 'Valet'. While all this was going on, there was also some conjecture about the optimum number of cards to be playing with. Some decks had as few as 48, others as many as 56. In some the Royal Household was extended to four by including Queens, in others, Queens replaced Kings altogether. In France's high world of Fashion, the Valet was even given some plaits in his hair.

History Of All Card Games

By the late 15th century, most card players had agreed that the standard deck played best with 52 cards. In Germany, that meant the end for Queens, and in Spain they had never really been invited into the Household in the first place. In France, however, just enough elegance balanced with sophistication and the Queens were spared gallows of disregard. Prism casino code. It was from here they found passage to England, flanked either side by King and Knave, to take residence in the Royal Household there.

Design elements took a number of forms. In France, for example, there were some nine distinctive regional patterns, and much experimentation and variation was going on across Europe. It was in the city of Agen, France, around 1745 that fledgling reversible court cards first broke press. Up until then, picture cards were drawn in full length with head, legs, and torso and included many design elements such as weapons and horses. Naturally, the new reversible design eliminated some of these, but since you didn't have to turn your picture cards right way up every time you were dealt them upside down, everybody liked the idea. Ironically, the French authorities prohibited production of these new cards, while everywhere else they were eagerly embraced. As early as the 1800s, even some decks being produced in America had this design feature.

The rise of the Ace to pre-eminence had it beginnings in the 14th century. In early games the Kings were always the highest card but by the late 14th century special significance began to be placed on the lowest card, the One or 'Ace' as we have come to know it. The practice was only further popularized in the republican fervor of the French Revolution (1789-1799) where many more games began to be played ‘Ace high'. There was even the suggestion of doing away with the Royal family altogether and instead of Kings, Queens and Knights have Liberties, Equalities and Fraternities, but that idea just never caught on.

The Ace of Spades is regarded as the insignia card of the deck. Traditionally it is used to display the manufacturers logo or brand name as a testament to quality and a mark of identification. The practice began in 17th century England when, under the reign of King James 1st, a duty was imposed on local playing card manufacturers. The Ace of Spades carried the insignia of the printing house, so they could be identified, and a stamp as proof of tax paid. The duty was abolished in the 1960's but the practice of inscribing the brand insignia on the Ace of Spades remains.

By the late 19th century all the elements we commonly attributable to the modern English playing card were either firmly in place or coming into widespread use. The Kings, Queens and Knaves were firmly installed in the court, the suits of Hearts, Spades, Clubs and Diamonds were being turned out of factories in England and the New World. Corner side indices appeared in diametric corners and the reversible court card was all but the norm. These small improvements may seem minor, but they had taken hundreds of years to refine. All the innovations which had grown and evolved out of the refinement of European manufacturing practices from the late 14th century, had by now coalesced into this single elegant package – the standard playing card.

Meanwhile, over in the New World, all the semblances were gradually falling into place for the first industrial scale production and widespread diffusion of playing cards. https://ffoi.over-blog.com/2021/02/blocs-3-0-7-visual-web-design-tool-download.html. Playing cards entered American through the colonies and with countless immigrants who arrived on her shores. With the growth in population and the relentless push westward, their use was only becoming more and more widespread in the bars and saloons staggered across the frontier. America was building an enviable industrial base and large-scale manufacture was, for the first time in history, a feasible undertaking.

Not surprisingly, as it was some 400 years earlier in Germany, playing card manufacture had provided the impetus for technical development in printing. Spin and win real cash. Around 1834 it was card masters like Cohen and De La Rue who had mastered the four-colour impression in just one pass – a technological achievement that still remains essential to the manufacturing process today. By the mid 1830's playing cards were being churned out of factories in London and New York by the hundreds of thousands. Andrew Dougherty opened his workshop in Brooklyn in the 1840's, Samuel Hart was manufacturing out Philadelphia, and by 1867 Russell and Morgan had formed their partnership in Cincinnati. It was only a few years after that before old friends like John M. Lawrence and John J. Levy would come together to form the New York Consolidated Card Company.

As printers all across America geared up for the first mechanized production of playing cards, a new dilemma emerged. For years the three Court cards had been called King, Queen and Knave. This meant that their respective abbreviations appeared in the corner side indices as 'K', 'Q' and 'Kn' – this latter an abbreviation frequently confused with 'K'.

In order to make the Knave more immediately distinguishable from his Lordship, it was decided that the noble foot servant take on a title he had earned in an old English card game called 'All Fours'. In this game the Knave played the 'Jack of Trumps' and for 1 point he was spared the gallows and for three points he was hung. Downcast v2 9 14 download free. Although vulgar by Victorian standards, the name 'Jack' stuck and it was under these auspices that our newest and youngest member of the Royal Family was ushered into the court.

It was only now for the Joker to appear. In the mid 19th century a particular variation of Euchre, which required an extra trump or Bower, became widely played in America. The name 'Joker' is thought to have derived from a corruption of the German word 'bauer' or 'boer', which was the name given to the Jack of Trumps in this variation of the game. Widely credited to Samuel Hart* (1865) the 'Imperial Trump' or 'Best Bower' eventually came to find roles in a number of popular games including Poker. As Poker spread across America and then eventually to Europe, the Joker quietly crept with it where he was ushered into the court in an incarnation more consistent with the Royal Household of which he was now a member. It was the Europeans that loosely began to portray him the form of the 'Court Jester' or 'Fool'.

The Joker presents us with a kind of irony. Imbued with special powers as 'Imperial Trump' or 'Wild Card' he is the card that resolves all problems and wins all tricks. The card that can be any card. He is, in many cases the invincible Wizard of the Deck. Yet despite this compelling and enviable role, the Joker lacks any real definitive characteristics that would suggest he is the best at anything. No consistent or standard forms have ever really been assigned to him and he remains, almost like an outsider, as an undefined and unexplored character of the Anglo-American Deck.

Card Masters of the 19th Century

Lewis I. Cohen Lawrence and CohenThomas de la Rue
Samuel Hart Andrew DoughertyFerdinand Piatnik

French Regional Patterns of the 18th Century

By the beginning of the Eighteenth century, war, and no doubt extravagance, had drained France's national treasury to little more than copper coins in a tin pot. In 1701 a new duty was imposed on playing cards of 18 deniers a deck. In order to collect the new tax, the country was divided into nine manufacturing regions. Each manufacturer was required to submit a design block to the ‘Recettes generales'. It was in this manner that each region was allotted its own design. Read More »

Early Standard Playing Cards

Very little is known about the history of card making in England. However, through a pictorial history of French, English and American patterns it is clear to see the origins of the English Pattern and its patrimony in the French Rouen design.


♠ Where did Playing Cards come from?
♠ The History of Playing Cards: The Evolution of the Modern Deck

There is an interesting narrative in regards to playing cards. The Illusionist Marco Tempest argues that the standard 52 deck of cards represents 52 weeks in a year. Moreover, the pips in a deck add up to 365 which is equivalent to the number of days in a year. He adds on to say, the 4 suits in a deck of cards represents 4 seasons in a year. Bet you did not know that! However, here is the history of playing cards.

Stream elements roulette. The first set of cards was recorded in a story called Miscellanea at Duyang Collection. They date back to the 9th century. It is estimated that around that same time playing cards were invented in ancient China. The first playing cards were nothing like today's French Standard 52 deck. Playing cards were in the form of money paper. The cards were both the stake and playing tools. Each suit represented a different amount of money.

Moreover, the first invention did not have suits or numbers to rank the cards but instructions and penalty encoded. It is said that the first card created had no court cards (King, Queen or Jack of suits) or pips of suits (ranked in 10s) but a drawing of Emperor Yizong's daughter, of the Tang Dynasty playing Leaf Game with her in-laws.

Over time, playing cards spread all over Europe and Asia until they become known in Egypt.

The Mamluk playing cards date back to the 15th century. They originated from Egypt. It is reported that the cards were of three different packs, probably they meant to substitute the missing ones. They were named the Topkapi pack. The cards consisted of 52 cards containing the polo-sticks, cup, sword and coins. Each suit of the Topkapi pack had a suit with 3 court cards and 10 pip cards.

French-suited 52 card deck

It is argued that the standard 52 card deck is more popular because of the English and French colonialism. The famous Deck of cards consists of the court cards (King, Queen or Jack of suits) and the 13 ranks of each suit.

According to history, the deck of cards evolved rapidly. Countries such as Spain, Italy, Germany, Egypt, Switzerland and many others had their own type of decks. However, it is the French version which is more popular. The French deck of cards is popular with the Diamonds, Hearts, Spades and clubs that are now widespread.

When Was Playing Cards First Invented

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When Was Playing Cards Invented? ›

PLAYING cards were invented by the Chinese before AD1000. They reached Europe around 1360, not directly from China but from the Mameluke empire of Egypt. The history of suitmarks demonstrates a fascinating interplay between words, shapes and concepts.

When was the 52 card deck invented? ›

It's from the late 15th century, probably made in the Burgundian Netherlands territory, and very recognizable by modern standards. There are 52 cards in four suits, with both numbered and face cards.

What is the oldest playing card ever? ›

The Flemish Hunting Deck, held by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, is the oldest complete set of ordinary playing cards made in Europe from the 15th century. As cards spread from Italy to Germanic countries, the Latin suits were replaced with the suits of leaves (or shields), hearts (or roses), bells, and acorns.

When was the modern card deck invented? ›

Another printing company had already printed decks with indices in 1864 (Saladee's Patent, printed by Samuel Hart), but it was the Consolidated Card Company that patented this design in 1875.

Did cards exist in the 1800s? ›

American card manufacturing began in the early 1800s; previously, decks had been imported from England and taxed. Transformation cards, where the suit signs are incorporated into comic or sentimental pictures, began to be printed at the beginning of the 19th century.

Why are there fifty two cards in a deck? ›

The most common theory is that the 52 cards represent 52 weeks in a year. The four colors represent the four seasons. The 13 cards in a suit represent the thirteen weeks in each season, Four suits times 13 cards in a suite equals 52.

When was blackjack invented? ›

The origin of Blackjack is still debated; the most popular belief is that it originated in French casinos around 1700 due to its mention in Cervantes's novel Don Quixote, which dates to the late 16th/early 17th century.

Who invented spades? ›

Spades, according to online sources, was invented by a Mississippi family in the 1930s and popularized by troops worldwide during World War II. It reportedly was spread to college campuses by vets on the GI Bill.

Did people play cards in the 1700s? ›

Try your hand at one of the most popular card games of the 1700s! Whist is a four-player card game that people played in taverns and around campfires during the Revolutionary War. Cards in the 1700s didn't have letters or numbers of them but otherwise had the same suits we used today.

Which country invented playing cards? ›

PLAYING cards were invented by the Chinese before AD1000. They reached Europe around 1360, not directly from China but from the Mameluke empire of Egypt.

What number is J in cards? ›

Ranks are indicated by numerals from 1 to 10 on “spot cards.” In addition, three court cards designated jack (formerly knave), queen, and king are notionally equivalent to 11, 12, and 13, respectively, though actually marked J, Q, and K.

Why is it called a deck of cards? ›

Sense extended early in English from "covering" to "platform of a ship." Meaning "pack of cards necessary to play a game" is from 1590s, perhaps because they were stacked like decks of a ship.

What are the 4 types of cards? ›

The normal pack has 52 cards in it. These are split into four types, known as suits, called hearts, clubs, diamonds and spades. There are numbers on the cards, and there is one card of each number in each suit.

What did people use before cards? ›

The short answer is that, in most cases, consumers actually saved up the funds needed to make a purchase and then paid for it with cash or a check, or they could have bartered. And if they couldn't do either of those, they most likely did without.

Did cigarette cards exist? ›

Cigarette cards are trading cards issued by tobacco manufacturers to stiffen cigarette packaging and advertise cigarette brands. Between 1875 and the 1940s, cigarette companies often included collectible cards with their packages of cigarettes.

Why are playing cards red and black? ›

Rich History of Card Decks

The traditional red and black deck originates from India in the late 1500s. The original design was likely based on the Indian number system, which used different colors to represent other numbers. Red represented 1, Black represented 10, and Green represented 2.

Who invented the deck of 52 cards? ›

PLAYING cards were invented by the Chinese before AD1000. They reached Europe around 1360, not directly from China but from the Mameluke empire of Egypt. The history of suitmarks demonstrates a fascinating interplay between words, shapes and concepts.

What is the oldest pack of cards? ›

Known alternately as the Flemish Hunting Deck, the Hofjager Hunting Pack, or the Cloisters Pack (it is held in the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Cloisters location), the set of cards now recognized as the oldest in the world was originally thought to be just kinda historic.

When was the Joker added to a deck of cards? ›

According to card game historian, David Parlett, the Joker was added to a 32‑card pack in the 1850s specifically for the game of Euchre and is first mentioned in a set of rules in 1868 where it turns out to be a blank specimen card not intended for actual play.

Why there are 13 cards in a deck? ›

There are 4 Seasons in a year. The 12 Court cards (4 Kings, 4 Queens, 4 Jacks) represent the 12 Months in a year. The 13 Values (Ace through to King) in each suit equate to the 13 Lunar cycles in a year. There are 52 cards in a full pack of playing cards (excluding jokers) – There are 52 weeks in a year.


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