Samuel Hart was a legendary card maker of the Wild West. Due to the popularity of his Faro Cards he was branded into the history of America’s greatest adventure. In 1849, just as the Gold Rush in California was drawing people across the country to strike it rich, Samuel Hart was creating the cards they took with them.
Samuel Hart was born in 1818 into a family of booksellers/stationers in Philadelphia. He moved to New York during the later part of the 1830s and worked for L I Cohen, a long-established Manhattan stationer and playing card maker. There he quickly formed a close relationship with Cohen and was groomed to operate his newly established business in Philadelphia. Before he left New York, Hart met his future bride Julia Levy (sister of John J Levy), they were married in 1840.
By 1844, Hart was back in Philadelphia running L I Cohen’s new and successful 27 South Fourth St Stationary Store selling the highest quality merchandise and playing cards. With the blessing of L I Cohen, Hart soon ventured out on his own and began making cards for himself. Beginning in 1845, he would hone his skills over the next five years, perfecting his manufacturing methods and marketing strategies. By 1850 he was firmly entrenched in supplying playing cards all over the country.
Operating in both Philadelphia and New York, Samuel Hart & Co produced heavily patriotic card designs and patented many industry firsts that would go on to become the standard features of playing cards we still enjoy today. In 1871 Hart would become a founding member of the New York Consolidated Card Co.
To Learn Samuel Hart’s Full History, Read - Paper Empires Vol I
Hart’s Transformation Deck - c1860