Discussion in 'The Bar' started by Bro, Sep 14, 2012.
I'll be there.
Be there in a second
I just registered BUMP
Playing cards are flat, rectangular pieces of layered pasteboard typically used for playing a variety of games of skill or chance. They are thought to have developed during the twelfth century from divination implements or as a derivative of chess. Cards are produced by the modern printing processes of lithography, photolithography, or gravure. In the future, more computerized methods will likely be adopted promising to generate a substantial increase in the playing card manufacturing industry.
The exact story of the emergence of playing cards is debated. Some historians believe that cards were developed in India and derived from the game of chess. Others suggest that they were developed as implements for magic and fortune telling in Egypt. The first written record of the use of playing cards comes from the Orient, dating back to the twelfth century. Playing cards were introduced to Europe during the thirteenth century from the Middle East. Evidence suggests that they first arrived in Italy or Spain and were quickly spread throughout the continent.
Some of these early playing cards were very similar to our modern day cards. They consisted of 52 cards with four suits including swords, cups, coins, and polo-sticks. They also had numerals from one to ten and face cards, which included a king, deputy king and second deputy king. When Europeans began to produce their own cards, they did not produce consistent designs and any number of suits or face cards would be made. In the latter part of the fifteenth cenwry, standardized versions of cards began to appear. The modern day system of spades, hearts, diamonds, and clubs first appeared in France around 1480.
The availability of cards became more wide-spread as production processes improved. The earliest decks of playing cards were hand-colored with stencils. Consequently, they were extremely expensive to produce and were owned almost exclusively by the very wealthy. Cheaper products were also produced, but it is likely that they deteriorated quickly with use. With the advent of new printing processes, production volumes of playing cards were increased. During the fifteenth century, a method of producing cards using wooden blocks as printing templates was introduced in Germany. These decks were quickly exported throughout Europe. The next significant advance in card manufacture was the replacement of wood blocking and hand coloring with copper plate engraving during the sixteenth century. When color lithography was developed in the early 1800s, the production of playing cards was revolutionized. New printing techniques promise to further improve the production of future decks of cards.
A standard deck of playing cards consists of 52 cards which have a rectangular shape, dimensions of about 2.5 x 3.5 in (6.35 x 9 cm), and rounded corners. The cards are made up of layers of paper and are often called pasteboards. The faces of these cards are typically decorated with two colors, red and black, and four suits including clubs, spades, hearts, and diamonds. Each suit has thirteen cards consisting of three face cards (king, queen, jack) and number cards from one (ace) to ten. The face cards are doubleended, which means the same design is on both halves of the card. This eliminates the need to orient these cards in a hand as both ends will automatically be positioned correctly. In the upper left corner of most cards are index numbers and symbols, which make the card value clearly visible when held in a fan position. This is the position most often used during a card game. Two jokers are also typically included with a new pack of cards.
The backs of the cards are decorated with a unique pattern indicative of the card manufacturer. Red and blue are the most commonly used colors, but almost any color or design is possible. Often a company will order a deck of cards as an advertising specialty and have their logo printed on the card back. Some card backs have a white border while the pattern on others extends to the edge of the card. In general, the back patterns are symmetrical so cards have only one real orientation. Notable exceptions are advertising specialty and souvenir cards, which typically have a non-symmetrical picture on the back.
Cards are used for a variety of purposes. The most common use of cards is for playing parlor games. Some of the more popular games include bridge, rummy, and gin. Gambling games such as poker and black-jack also employ standard decks of cards. In addition, specially printed cards are used as game implements for board games. These cards may have trivia questions, words, or symbols on them that are important in game play. Other types of cards are used as teaching aids.
Non-standard decks of cards are also available and used for different reasons. Tarot cards are typically larger and heavy than standard cards. They have 78 cards, 22 of which have symbolic images. They are used for fortune telling and divination purposes. A variety of magic, or trick, cards are produced. One type of trick cards is marked cards. The back design of these cards is subtly changed so that the faces can be determined just by looking at the back. Other trick decks have shortened cards or have tapered ends, which help a conjuror find a selected card. Novelty cards are also manufactured. This includes oddly shaped cards or metal cards for outdoor use, which can stick to a magnetized playing surface.
Union playing cards printed at the time of the American Civil War.
(From the collections of Henry ford Museum & Greenfield Village.)
Playing cards may have been used in China as early as the seventh century and perhaps were known in India around this time as well—early European playing cards include Indian motifs associated with Hindu Gods. No one is sure how the playing card moved from Asia to Europe—did Niccolo Polo or his son introduced the playing card and associated games to Italy? Or perhaps the Arabs introduced the Spanish to the colorful hand-painted cards? Nevertheless, we do know that by the thirteenth century the entire continent enjoyed card-playing; the British card-makers petitioned for protection from imported cards, and German printers were block-printing rather than hand-painting cards by the late 1400s.
Dutch, French, and British settlers in the New World brought playing cards with them. Americans and others use the 52<ard deck based on the French deck, and include the medieval motifs of the spade, club, diamond, and heart. While the deck motifs have remained relatively unchanged, clothing and appearance of the court cards have been altered according to card designer and intended market. The "Union Playing Cards," shown here, were printed around the time of the American Civil War. They include no depicted European-style royalty, but use politicians and famous Union generals in their place! They were surely printed to bolster pride in the Union cause and thumb their nose at the European royalty at the same time.
Read more: How playing cards is made - material, manufacture, making, history, used, dimensions, steps, industry, machine, History, Design, Raw Materials, The Manufacturing Process of playing cards
Did someone say bump bump?
I miss playing! I will try to join tomorrow if I have time. I'm in the middle of moving so I have been packing and hauling stuff all.day and I'm way exhausted.
The day will be mine Trebek!