hist-games: Period Playing cards

Thierry Depaulis thierry.depaulis at freesbee.fr
Wed Dec 20 10:12:53 PST 2000

Justin wrote:

>As for construction info -- I've actually never found any really good
>secondary information on the construction of period decks, and the only
>primary info I've found is from Willoughby (publication pending), who
>says just a sentence or two on the subject as it stands in the 17th
>(Basically, he says that they are made of 3-4 pieces of paper pasted
>together and smoothed; he also talks about drying them out if they get
>"danke", so it sounds like the paste is subject to mildew. Proportions
>are 3.5" x 2" for his period -- 1670's -- and the backs are always plain

Diderot and D'Alembert's Encyclopédie have 6 plates (with comments) on
cardmaking. Basically the process hadn't changed since at least the early
16th century. I have found the same tools and same stages in 16th-century
records (e.g. inventories of cardmakers' workshops).

Willoughby's description is very close to what French sources say.

Thierry Depaulis

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