The Eames Office actually produced 5 different sets of the House of Cards. Beginning with the small house of cards is the original, made in 1952; it consists of two decks of 54 playing size cards. Each has six slots, two on either side and one at both ends, enabling the player to interlock the cards to build structures of myriad shapes and sizes.
The cards in the first deck, the “patterned deck” are printed on one side with a pattern or a texture photographed from textured or coloured surfaces (such as printed papers fabrics, Victorian Decoupage, Chinese paper and paper cuts, and marbled paper). The reverse side is printed with a black asterisk.
The second deck, or “picture deck”, which was produced later, consists of images of “good things” gathered from many sources from the animal, mineral, and vegetable kingdoms” including toys, common household items (scissors, thimbles, twine and buttons), coins, marbles, jewellery and lace.
On the reverse of the picture cards are grey-green asterisks on a white background. The objects and patterns were chosen from dozens of possibilities: much care and anguish went into the final choices. Each selection had to pass inspection by Ray, the office staff, and Alexander Girard, who made the final choices. Eames Office continues to manufactures the picture deck in conjunction with MoMA.
From that, a medium House of Cards was made that is set of selections from the pattern and picture deck.
The German company Otto Maier later produced a composite “medium-size” House of Cards – a 32 card set selected from the pattern and picture decks. Printed on 8-ply card stock, the cards measured 4 1/2 x 6 7/8 inches and were slotted for assembly into structures.
The picture deck was issued in Europe in 1960 and again in 1986 by Otto Maier. That too is still available from Eames Office.
producer: eames office