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 & Co - George and Martha Washington Illuminated - c1866
Samuel Hart’s American West - Oil on Canvas - Picturing a Wagon Train
Samuel Hart was born on August 10th, 1818, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Abraham and Sara Hart, a well-known working class family involved in the litererary and stationery trades. During his youth, he became an apprentice at the local Auction House of M. Thomas & Sons, but eventually, took an interest in law and began employment at the offices of the Philadelphia County Court. There he rose to the position of Chief County Clerk.
In 1841, the future called to Samuel when he married Sophia Levy, the niece of New York Stationer and Playing Card Maker, L.I. Cohen. Within three short years, Hart began a new life, started a family and went into business with Sophia's famous uncle. By 1844, Hart was running L.I. Cohen’s new and successful 27 South Fourth Street Stationery Store in Philadelphia. There he sold the highest quality merchandise and playing cards. With the blessing of L.I. Cohen, Hart soon ventured out on his own and began operating the business himself. Beginning in 1845, he would hone his skills over the next three years, perfecting his manufacturing methods and marketing strategies. By 1848 Hart was firmly entrenched in the stationery trade and supplying playing cards all over the country.
Operating in both Philadelphia and New York, Samuel Hart & Company produced heavily patriotic card designs and presented 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 Company.
To Learn Samuel Hart’s Full History - Read, Paper Empires Vol I
Hart’s Transformation Deck - c1860