origin of visiting cards part two

On the Origin of Visiting Cards – Part 2

In part one, we traced back the history of the visiting cards all the way to 1700 AD. We now look at the role of visiting cards in the 1800s to date.

Spread (1800s)

Let us wind the clocks back a few centuries to the 1800s. The New York Stock Exchange actually took hold. There were also people like James Mill and David Ricardo offering their ideas on economics and business. As for visiting cards, they were a must-have at this point.

Of course, visiting cards were black and white back then. You had a standard white card with the name, company, and phone number in black ink. Cards were almost always rectangular-shaped. However, lithography came into play and allowed people to add different shades and colours. This is when people began to differentiate between ‘social cards’ used for gatherings as opposed to visiting cards, which were strictly for corporate means.

By the time the late 1800s rolled around, cards had become widespread. Visiting cards were used to advertise and promote a variety of products and services. They were in offices, restaurants, hotels, stores, and railway stations. They had interesting illustrations and designs on them that would make customers want to read the card.  

DuPont, Pepsi, Colgate and Coca-Cola were all founded in the 1800s. Many banks were formed as well, like Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, and Barclays. JPMorgan Chase was merely a year old.

Most, if not all of these companies had a visiting card to promote themselves with. Visiting cards were used for personal reasons as well. Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Sigmund Freud, and Abraham Lincoln all had cards of themselves.

The corporatisation of Cards (1900s)

Despite playing host to two World Wars and the Great Depression, the 1900s was a time when visiting cards made a huge resurgence. This was mainly due to the rise of technology, and thereby an increase in communication speed. Televisions and computers were invented and telephones became more popular, which made people add their phone numbers to the cards.

In 1956, Hildaur Neilson, a Danish engineer, and Arnold Neustadter, an American businessman worked together to invent the Rolodex. Neustadter was the founder of the stationery manufacturer Zephyr American, which was based in New York. At the time, companies were unsure of buying the Rolodexes, but that soon changed as the cards began to boom once more.

Visiting cards gained popularity in the world of enterprises in 1980. That wasn’t the only place, though, because street gangs used them as calling cards. International visiting cards were often bilingual so that people from other countries could understand it better. It is amazing how quickly they assimilated themselves into the corporate culture.

Unfortunately, Neustadter passed away in 1996, unaware of how Google, CRMs, and the Cloud would transform contact storage and life as we know it.  His brainchild lives on, though, and he is gone but not forgotten.

Cards in the Modern Day (2000s)

In the 20th century, visiting cards are being used like never before. From giant companies like Microsoft to the smallest shops, nearly everyone has visiting cards. Even companies that do 100% of their business online use the cards to promote themselves and gain customers. We have added our websites, Facebook accounts, Twitter handles, QR codes, and more. They are no longer only rectangular and come in all colours, shapes, and sizes.

Visiting cards have definitely changed a lot, but the main purpose remains the same – a means of interaction between two people. This just serves as additional proof that first impressions really matter.

As you can see, visiting cards have a long and rich history that many people don’t know about. We also hope that this was anything like your typical boring history lesson.

It is a wonder that in today’s age of gadgets and gizmos, visiting cards are still used a lot. According to StatisticsBrain, over 2.7 crore cards are printed every day in the United States alone.

How PrintStop can Help With Visiting Cards

We hope that this time travel made you appreciate that little piece of paper with your name and number on it. Despite the challenges that visiting cards have faced over the course of seven centuries, they have managed to remain a staple of our corporate lives and thrive in the electronic age. Although we are not as formal regarding visiting cards now, certain places such as Japan take visiting card etiquette very seriously.

The past is past, though, and we at PrintStop are looking ahead to the future. We have a wide range of visiting card designs and types, such as slim cards, folded cards, and spot laminated cards. Having been founded in 2007, we have been doing business for ten years now, so you don’t need to doubt our experience. Check us out now!

Email: store@printstop.co.in

Phone: +91 22 4270 5050


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