Being located along William Street in the early days of Manhattan afforded L.I. Cohen to become ever-present in the area. When he started making Playing Cards in 1832, he became one of the most important men in the world. Find out more about this amazing manufacturer and learn his complete story.
L.I.Cohen - Illuminated Playing Cards - c1845
L I Cohen’s New York - A View of William Street - c1859
Lewis Joseph Cohen was regarded around the world as a playing card legend from the early days of New York. He was born on July 23, 1800 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania and he died in London, England on April 14, 1868. He was a successful American stationer with shops located all along William Street in Lower Manhattan.
Whether remembered for his constantly expanding stationery company and the exquisite fancy imports that lay within, or his many American firsts and inventions attached to the manufacture of playing cards, Lewis Cohen’s ingenuity was a perfect match for the concept of supply/demand, tailor fitted for the hustle and bustle of early New York. He was an active inventor, and held many early patents in the quest for efficiency. Perhaps the most important role he played in the context of history is that he was one of the earliest playing card manufacturers to industrialize in the United States.
L.I. Cohen as he is known from the cards he made, would have a larger impact on the playing card industry than any other individual. In fact he would help to create and shape that industry, either directly or indirectly, for well over a century. During his life, Cohen’s businesses would become immensely successful and offer him wealth and financial security. Because of his accomplishments, many of his successors would prosper as well. Samuel Hart, John Levy and Lawrence & Cohen would all thrive as individual playing card companies during the middle of the nineteenth century thanks to their Uncle Cohen and again later when they came together during the formation, and eventual rise of The New York Consolidated Card Company in 1871.
To Learn L.I. Cohen‘s Full History - Read, Paper Empires Vol I
138 William Street Advertiser - c1845