Wonderful deck called "The Druggist," made by Arrow Playing Card Co c.1930. Arrow was the name used in the early years by what is now known as "Arrco Playing Card Co." The Dawson/Hochman Encyclopedia reports that Arrco was forced to discontinue the use of the name Arrow for legal reasons shortly after the company began, and in my experience decks published with the "Arrow" Ace of Spades are somewhat rare. The backs of the cards show a painting of "The Druggist" with that title at the bottom; the deck includes an insert card that describes the backs this way: "The picture of `The Druggist' reproduced on the back of this deck of playing cards was executed by a recognized artist for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company of Toledo, Ohio, and dedicated by them to the Profession of Pharmacy in recognition of the part pharmacy plays in modern community life." It is signed "Your Druggist."
The website of the Society for Historical Archaeology has this to say about the Owens-Illinois Glass Company:
"The Owens-Illinois Glass Co. began with the merger of two of the industry's giants: the Illinois Glass Co. and the Owens Glass Co. The Illinois Glass Co. was incorporated in March 1873 and began business in August. The company was successful and made virtually every type of bottle. By 1911, Illinois Glass had obtained the first of three Owens Automatic Bottle Machine licenses and made many other containers from semiautomatic machines. The firm expanded until the merger with Owens (see Lockhart et al. 2005a for a discussion of the company and its marks).
"The Owens Bottle Co. (1911-1929) grew from a series of companies that began with the Toledo Glass Co. (1896-1903). The Toledo company was succeeded by both the Owens Bottle Machine Co. (1903-1911) that made and sold the Owens Automatic Bottle Machine and the Northwestern Ohio Bottle Co. (1904-1908), a company that make bottles. In 1929, the firm merged with one of its major competitors, the Illinois Glass Co. to form the largest glass company in the industry.
"The merger between the Owens Glass Co. and the Illinois Glass Co. brought under the Owens umbrella the `largest individual bottle plant in the world' (Paquette 1994:71)."
In an age when we are accustomed to thinking of medicines dispensed in pill form via plastic containers, the relationship between a large bottling plant and the pharmaceutical industry reflected in the dedication of a painting is a reminder that it was not always so.
In any event, the deck has 52 cards, plus a wonderful Joker, plus the insert card noted. The cards are bridge size, measuring 89mm x 58mm, with gold gilt around. The come in a stylish original box.
The cards are in excellent condition, "as new" or very nearly so, with almost all gold gilt intact. The box is also in excellent condition with very minor wear. The box has "gold" sides, and the wear is most evident on these sides.
Reference: Dawson, The Hochman Encylopedia of American Playing Cards, p. 151, MSN1
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