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Lawrence and Cohen
Playing Cards, History, America 19th Century

The story of Lawrence and Cohen really begins with the story of Lewis I. Cohen, a pioneer of colour printing and playing card manufacturing in the United States, and culminates with the formation of the New York Consolidated Card Company.

Lewis I. Cohen, introduced mechanized colour printing to playing card production, and between 1832 and 1854 built his business up into an enormous card making enterprise.

Lewis Cohen apprenticed a number of his nephews as well as his son in the stationary and card making business. And it is these people to whom the running and management of the business would later be entrusted. In 1854, when Lewis I. Cohen retired, he handed the reigns of the business over to his son, Solomon L. Cohen, and his nephew, John M. Lawrence.

The two boys formed a partnership and traded under the name "Lawrence and Cohen". Lawrence and Cohen continued their brand with the Stars and Eagle. The cards they made were very much like the English cards of the same period. And Owen Jones, a name that pops up here and there, was also commissioned to do a number of back designs for them.

In 1871, Lawrence and Cohen turned the business into a stock company. The people they were in talks with were already renown stationers, and expert card makers in their own right. In fact, they were cousins of Lawrence and Cohen, and trusted friends who had worked in their uncle's factory. John J. Levy had published a number of decks in New York, Samuel Hart and Isaac Levy were running a successful stationery and card making business in Philadelphia, "Samuel Hart & Co."

For them, one can only suppose, it would have seemed like the crystalization of their destiny. All successful and highly skilled stationers. And each of them had learned their art under the guidance of the master himself, Lewis I. Cohen. When these boys clinked glasses and signed papers, on December 5th, 1871, it was to their future, and the formation of the New York Consolidated Card Company.



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