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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Gaffed & Funky » » Bicycles on Cards (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Gary Dayton
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Does anyone know the story of how bicycles became the logo of the US Playing card Co Bikes? Lots of the vintage decks have different bicycle graphics on the back, so I'm guessing there must be a reason?
Jaz
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Gary Dayton
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Thanks, Jaz. THat's a good history of the company, though it doesn't say much about why they have used the bicycle logo in various forms over the past 150 years. USPC had a museum at one time, but it looks like it's closed. Too bad; they would probably know.
silverking
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Gary, I collect old Bikes and I've always been under the impression that it's actually the name of the card "Bicycle" that inspired the various back designs.

Being named Bicycle could have inspired bicycle graphics on the backs of cards.

If you visit Jason English's web site, you'll see that many, but not all, Bicycle decks of various vintages have bikes on the back of them, but there are also many more graphics that have been used on the back of these cards that aren't bicycles. There's cars, stars, tires, motors, thistles, Elk, Lotus blossoms, leaves, acorns, a lantern, and more....but they're all Bicycle cards.
Mercury52
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Kevin Reylek
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In a recent episode of Made in America with John Ratzenberger on the Travel Channel, they visited the USPCC. They indicated that back in the day when Bicycling was a new hot fad, the company chose that as an icon, as an attempt to boost some sales by attaching themselves to an incredibly popular activity.

Evidently, it worked well, and people came to recognise bicycle as a playing card, so they stuck with it. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, as it were.

They didn't go into a lot of detail on it, but there's a little bit of info.

Kevin
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Michael J. Douglas
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Ah, Mercury52 beat me to it!

I didn't see that episode, but it would seem that's why they chose a bicycle. And that they're called "Bicycle" because of the designs; not the other way around.
Michael J.
�Believe then, if you please, that I can do strange things.� --from Shakespeare�s �As You Like It�
Gary Dayton
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Thanks, these have been helpful responses. Jason's site on cards (and also the various editions of Erndase) is terrific. I like some of the old Bike designs and wish the company would ressurect some of these vintage back designs. I think they would be more useable and appealing than some of the decks like vipers and field decks (just my opinion).

I guess I'm not surprized that picking the bike logo was simply riding the coat-tails of a then popular pasttime. On the website, they do talk about the earliest joker riding a high wheel-style bike (not sure that's the right name -- it's the large front wheel bicycle). I suppose that if you were to do something similar today, the back design would have to have a cell phone on it! Telecom cards anyone?

Thanks again

Gary
weapon
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The reason why, is years ago, kids use to take the playing cards and put them on the sides of a bicycles so they would hit each spoke as the wheels turns to makes a "vroooooooommmmmm" sound
Eternity by Emran Riaz (Gimmicks + Download) An IMPOSSIBLE prediction of ANY number, ANY word, literally ENGRAVED in a medallion they've been holding THE ENTIRE TIME.
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Vandy Grift
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"During this same period, cycling — on unicycles, bicycles, and tricycles — was taking the country by storm. It was also in the latter part of the decade that Russell & Morgan, the forerunners of the United States Playing Card Company, decided to produce a line of cards of the highest quality.

Employees were asked to suggest an attractive name for the new product, and a printer, "Gus" Berens, offered "Bicycle." His idea was enthusiastically accepted, and the Rider Back made its debut in 1887. Since then, while the Bicycle brand has featured dozens of different designs, the Rider Back has never gone out of production."
"Get a life dude." -some guy in a magic forum
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