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Art and architecture | 1850 up to 1900 | Western Pomerania until 1945

Playing cards


Further images

  • Stralsund playing card factory, end of the 19th century;
    paper, coloured by hand, Prussian mirror images, German colours, deck of 28;
    height: 9 cm

Caspar Kern is granted the government concession to operate a playing cards factory in 1765; over the years it develops into a global company. Other playing cards factories are founded in Stralsund in the following years. In 1872, the manufacturers v. der Osten (prop.: G. Mie), Ludwig Heidborn and Theodor Wegener (prop.: Fritz Wegener) merge to form a public limited company incorporated as 'Vereinigte Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken Aktien-Gesellschaft Stralsund' (VSS). This new organisation provides the company with greater financial resources, enhancing its competitiveness.

The factory experiences rapid growth from 1883 onward under the directorship of Karl Friedrich Heuser (1849-1919).

He enlarges the company, produces cards that reflect popular tastes and expands into new sales markets. Operating outside branches in Altenburg and Halle, VSS already produces over half the playing cards manufactured in Germany by 1907. In 1931, the general meeting of the company decides to merge the two production sites in Stralsund and Altenburg under the name 'Vereinigte Altenburger und Stralsunder Spielkarten-Fabriken, A.G., Altenburg'. Further enlargement of the premises in Stralsund is not possible, so Altenburg is selected as company headquarters due to its central location, and the facility in Stralsund is closed.

Text: R.N.

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The exhibit refers to:



Mönchstraße 25-28
18439 Stralsund