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How Playing Cards Are Made at Bicycle® and Some Interesting History

Tue February 11 2014 3:17 pm  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=68432
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How are playing cards made? Step by step! Take an exclusive tour inside the Bicycle® playing card factory and learn the art, science, and craftsmanship that goes into making every deck of cards.

The United States Playing Card Company of Cincinnati is the maker of playing cards with the “Bicycle” trademark. The company was founded as the United States Printing Company in 1885. The brand has been in continuous production since 1885, although the United States Playing Card Company was separated from the printing company because of such rapid growth on its own.

Bicycle is a standard issue deck of cards consisting of 52 red and black colored cards. Each card may have one of the four suits: spades, clubs (sometimes called “clovers”), diamonds, and hearts. The numbers on the cards range from 2 to 10, then proceed onward to “Jack”, then “Queen”, “King”, and “Ace”. The “Ace” has also been known to be the first card in a typical deck. The bicycle trademark is usually printed on the Ace of spades.


Bicycle® Cards is your worldwide source for playing cards. From Cardistry and Flourishing to Magic and Collecting, Bicycle® has a deck that’s right for you. Cardistry by Andrei Jikh.

During World War II, Bicycle cards were produced that, when submerged in water, could be peeled apart and both halves had a map on the inside. When all the cards were put together it made a large map. These were specially designed cards supplied to POWs so if they escaped they would have a map. The United States Playing Card Company joined forces with American and British intelligence agencies to create the very special deck of cards. The decks were specifically created to help Allied prisoners of war escape from German POW camps.

The United States Printing Company provided “spotter” cards, which illustrated the characteristic shapes of tanks, ships and aircraft from the more powerful countries.

In 2003 the United States Playing Card Company introduced Iraq’s Most Wanted Decks, which identified the most-wanted members of President Saddam Hussein’s government. When introduced, 750,000 decks were sold in one week.

Corporate Headquarters for the United States Playing Card Company is located in Erlanger, Kentucky.

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