United States Playing Card Company, Cincinnati   Save
Ohio Guide Photographs
Description: Reverse reads: "U.S. Playing Card Co. Norwood, Ohio. Cincinnati, Ohio." The United States Playing Card Company, located on Beech Avenue at the end of Park Avenue, is a buff brick building with a Neo-Romanesque square clock tower. Russell, Morgan & Co. was started in 1867 in Cincinnati, Ohio, as a printing company making mostly posters, placards and labels. The company began printing playing cards in 1881, with 20 employees making about 1600 packs a day. In 1891, Russell, Morgan and Company renamed themselves The United States Printing Company. In 1894, due to growing sucess, the playing card business was separated from the main company and became The United States Playing Card Company. By 1900, The United States Playing Company moved from downtown, to a newly built factory in Norwood, a suburb in north-east Cincinnati. The four story bell tower was added at the main building entrance in 1926, and housed 12 carillon bells, which ranged from 1 1/2 feet to 5 1/2 feet. The chimes were connected electronically local radio station WSAI, and were the first set built for the purpose of radio broadcasting. WSAI was not only owned and operated by USPC from 1922 to 1930, but was located on their main campus, and used to broadcast bridge lessons, which could be heard as far away as New Zealand. WSAI was sold to Crosley Radio Station during the 1930s. Along with playing card accessories such as poker chips, it distributes cards, such as Kem, Bee, Bicycle, Arcane, Aviator, Alladin, Maverick, Tuxedo, Hoyle and tally Ho. The cards are also used by famous magicians and companies like Bicycle make cheats decks only for illusionists. Bee is a high quality brand used in casinos, while Bicycle is an inexpensive brand that has been the top selling brand in the world. During World War II, the company made cards that could be pulled apart when submerged in water. The inside was a map and wen all the cards were put together, it was a large map. These were supplied to POW's who could use the map to reach safety, if they were able to escape. During the Vietnam Was, the company provided U. S. Soldiers with cards. It was commonly believed that the Viet Cong thought the cards would a symbol of death and would flee if they say the ace of spades. This was not true, but the cards served to boast the morale of the soldiers. The company is now located in at 300 Gap Way in Erlanger, KY. View on Ohio Memory.
Image ID: SA1039AV_B08F01_014_001
Subjects: Cincinnati (Ohio)--Buildings, structures, etc.; Industries--Ohio--Cincinnati; Manufacturing industries--Ohio; United States Playing Card
Places: Norwood (Ohio); Cincinnati (Ohio); Hamilton County (Ohio)