The story of how Lawrence & Cohen continued L I Cohen’s playing card empire is an amazing tale. Just as tensions in the country were reaching a boiling point, Lawrence and Cohen found themselves owners of one of the largest companies in the world. See how they reached back to their roots for inspiration.
Solomon L Cohen was born on December 14, 1835, first born son of Lewis and Sophia Cohen. Solomon was born the year his father invented and patented his Four-Color Printing Press, an undeniable industry revolution at the time. This meant that his entire life was steeped in the manufacture of playing cards. He received a formal education, then in 1854 at the age of nineteen, Solomon became the head his fathers massive playing card company. He didn’t face these new hardships alone, he took a partner in John M Lawrence, his cousin and longtime L I Cohen employee. John was born in 1826, giving the partnership an extra few years of experience.
Together they faced an industry entering an uncertain time with a burning desire to earn their own way. Breaking free of the mould set forth by their patriarch was easier said than done, it would take Solomon and John ten years before truly coming into their own identity. When they did the results would be spectacular.
Lawrence & Cohen would always produce their well-known patriotic decks, and they would add many of their own innovations to the list of playing card standards. Looking to the Cohen family heritage for ideas, the company would introduce a fine line of patience cards and also collaborate with famed British playing card Artist, Owen Jones to set the tone of their new enterprises. In 1871 John M Lawrence would go on to be one of the founding members of the NYCC.
To see the beginning of this incredible story - Read, Paper Empires Vol I
Lawrence & Cohen - Private Die Stamp - c1863