Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Steamboat Playing Cards - The Old Days

 Way back when, the Steamboat brand was the low-end of the Russell  card product lines. In fact, I think Steamboat was a commonly used low end brand for card makers. They sold these decks I guess on the Steamboats that steamed up and down the Mississippi River. 

In Sept 2021 on Ebay, I bought a Streamboat 7-11 deck.

The deck has definitely been used. Been used a lot. I sure wish the deck could tell me who bought it new, who played it with it, and who stored it but of course, walls and decks of cards cannot talk.  I can try to imagine but it's just my imagination.

 It says Russell on the deck and the box but Hochman lists it as Kalamazoo. hmmmm

The deck is RU13 Kalamazoo, Hochman P129.  BUT, Kalamazoo? Russell? Who's the right publisher.  It turns out that these companies merged just about the time this deck was published.  Hochman has a particularly interesting chapter on the story of Russell and Kalamazoo software in the first decade of the 1900s. There was a hot salesman working named Benjamin Rosenthal who started at American Playing Card Co of Kalamazoo. He left when the president took his territory away to give to his son. So Benjamin became a sales agent for Kalamazoo Paper Company which was struggling and quickly got them back on track, focused on cards, and in doing so, became an executive. They bought Russell Card Co of Milltown NJ and merged them.

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