Fathers and Grandpas of Cards
As soon as the cards became popular, the first producers realized it was a great way of making money and the competition for winning the customers began.


Waddington’s was founded in Leeds by John Waddington and Wilson Barratt as Waddington’s Limited. The name of the company was changed several times over the years to John Waddington Limited, Waddington’s House of Games and then it was finally known as Waddingtons. The company was an important board games and playing cards manufacturing company in the UK.

Waddingtons had first been founded as a printing company, but it entered the game production field in 1922 since there was a great demand for playing cards in the UK during the First World War. Eventually, the name of the company as well as its licenses for the games were sold out.

Waddington’s Monopoly

Waddington’s published the famous Monopoly by the Parker Brothers in the UK while Parker got the license for Cluedo from Waddington’s. The company was well known for the fact that in 1941, the British Secret Service had approached the company to manufacture a special Monopoly version for the prisoners who were held by the Germans during the Second World War. These Monopoly versions were sent to the prisoners by the Red Cross and had various maps, real money, compasses and other objects hidden inside the game to help the prisoners escape.

Playing cards

Playing cards were introduced by Waddington’s first in 1922. They registered themselves under the name Twillese and then changed to several different names later. Among the earliest card decks manufactured by them, they contained cards that were printed with the help of direct lithography. The images were transferred onto stone by hand.

During 1924, the company was sued by De La Rue for copying their ace of spades. However, Waddington’s won the case since many differences were later revealed when the images were enlarged. During those years, the market was quite favorable for Waddington’s since one of their biggest competitors, Charles Goodall & Co. was taken over by De La Rue so they were only against one company in the field of playing cards manufacturing.

The company had hired several well known designers and artists like William Barribal, Harry Rountree, Paul Brown, G.D. Armour and Lucy Dawson.

In 1924, Waddington began a series of Beautiful Britain which showed various beautiful scenes from the rural countryside, historic locations and seaside in Britain. The series continued till 1956 and was subsidized by the London, North Easter Railway Company and the Great Western Railway Company.

Reel printing, letterpress court cards and pips were introduced during 1926 when the company built a new factory for manufacturing the standard playing cards deck. Eventually, in 1994 the Waddington’s was taken over by Hasbro.

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