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Science Cigarette Cards (Collectables) 1890s-1930s

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Science Cigarette Cards (Collectables)

I've been collecting and selling trading cards, cigarette cards and related collectables for over twenty years. Before you read this guide please subscribe to my card collecting newsletters for updates on rare cards and tips on buying by Clicking Here, thank you.

Cigarette cards were issued during a significant time in the history of mankind, 1870s-1930s. These encyclopaedic cards captured the Precambrian explosion in 20th century inventions and discoveries that propelled us into our modern age. Even the cigarette card was the creation of rapid improvements in colour printing technology and competitive pressures of an expanding free market. It's possible that they even helped to accelerate information democracy itself at a time when books were still quite expensive to the average person. 

I've included a small selection of science related cigarette card sets below. For those interested in the history of the computer, the card set "Modern Wonders", issued in 1938 by Churchman, includes cards on  "The Super Calculating Machine" and the "Slot Machine Which Plays Bridge". I particularly like the predictions made in "The World of Tomorrow, issued in 1936 by Stephen Mitchell.



  • Name Of Set: Inventions And Discoveries S273
  • Manufacturer: Liebig Extract of Meat Co
  • Issue Year: 1890
  • Card Number: 6
  • Card Titles: -

  • Name Of Set: Electricity
  • Manufacturer: Liebig Extract of Meat Co
  • Issue Year: 1907
  • Card Number: 6
  • Card Titles: -

  • Name Of Set: Famous Inventions
  • Manufacturer: WD and HO Wills
  • Issue Year: 1915
  • Card Number: 50
  • Card Titles: Spectroscope, Edison and Phonography, Rock Drill, Syphon Barometer, Steam Navvy, Vacuum Brake, Arkwright and the Spinning Machine, Vacuum Flask, Marconi Transmitting Apparatus, Cugnot and the Traction Engine, Camera and Photography, Five Needle Telegraph Instrument, Floating Dock, Wilde and the Dynamo, Tita Crane, Safety Lamp, Stevens and the Screw Propeller, Microscope, Watt and the Steam Engine, Hobby - Horse, Bicycle, Cycling, Transporter Bridge, Early Reflecting Telescope, The Croton Dam at New York, Pratt and  the Typewriter, Howe and the Sewing Machine, Cash Register, Lifeboat, Auto Piano, X-Ray Apparatus, Grand Piano, Modern Lighthouse Lantern,  Edison and Kinetoscope, Steam Hammer, Santos Dumont and the Aeroplane Motor, Steel Frame Buildings, Modern Submarine, Parachute Descent by Garnerin, Levassor and the Automoblie or Motor Car, Electric Light, Renard and Kreb and the Dirigible, Diving Bell, Sun Motor, Electric Tram, Acminster Carpet Loom, Steam Turbine, Oil Engine, Electric Locomotive, Jacquard Loom, Incandescent Light, and Hydraulic Press.

  • Name Of Set: Engineering Wonders
  • Manufacturer: WD and HO Wills
  • Issue Year: 1927
  • Card Number: 50
  • Card Titles: Steel Caisson, Lethbridge Viaduct, Rolling Lift Bridge, Sydney Harbour Bridge, Zambesi Bridge, Bucket Dredger, Giant Excavator, Hydraulic Lift Lock, Lock Panama Canal, Electric Shovel, Slab Charger for Reheating Furnace, Conveyor Bridge, Blast Furnace, Electric Furnace, Electric Lifting Magnet, Hydraulic Press, Electric Unloader, Electric Coal cutter and Loader, Electric Dumper, Gold Dredger, Escalator, Building a Skyscraper, Strong Room Door, Reflecting Telescope, Generating Station, Electric Motor Driving a Reversing Mill, Automatic Substation, Steam Turbo Generator, Electric Winding Engine, Modern Aqueduct, Great Dam, Block Setting Crane, Croton Dam and Spillway, Vaal River Barrage, Great Dam Lake Vyrnwy, Aircraft Carrier, Revolving Floating Crane, Floating Dock, Framing a Liner, Train Ferry, Wetterhorn Aerial Railway, Wrecking Crane, Electric Locomotive, Hedjaz Railway, Ice Locomotive, Road Making Motor, Rotary Snow Plough, Track Layer, Tunnel Construction by Means of a Shield, and Lidgerwood Unloader.

  • Name Of Set: Clocks - Old and New
  • Manufacturer: John Player and Sons
  • Issue Year: 1928
  • Card Number: 20
  • Card Titles: An Egyptian Water Clock about 1400BC, A Water-Clock of Clepsydra about 300 BC, Hour-Glasses, The Glastonbury Clock Wells Cathedral, An Astronomical Clock Wimborne Minster, Early 17th Century Clock St Mark's Square in Venice, A Ship Clock about 1581, A Small Astronomical Clock 1587, A Clock by Isaac Hebrecht 1589, A Clock by Bartholomew Newsam 1590, A Table Clock With Alarium, A 16th Century Clock-Watch, A Globe or Falling-Ball Clock about 1650, A Lantern Clock by Thomas Tompton, A Bracket Clock by Thomas Tompion 1690, An Act of Parliament Clock 1797, A Long Case Clock by Thomas Tompion 1709, A Table Alarum Clock With Strike-A-Light late 17th Century, The Westminster Clock 1858, and Modern Clocks Greenwich Observatory.

  • Name Of Set: Scientific Inventions and Discoveries (Large) (Coloured)
  • Manufacturer: R and J Hill
  • Issue Year: 1929
  • Card Number: 35
  • Card Titles: Professor Charles and the Hydrogen Gas Baloon, Robert Stephenson and the Britannia Tubular Bridge, Hans Lippershey and the Telescope, Professor Niels Finsen and the Finsen Lamp, Mr Louis Brennan and Mono Rail, Sir WG Armstrong and the 110 Ton Gun, Sir W. Siemens and the Finishing Armature, Guglielmo Marconi and Wireless Telegraphy, George Stephenson and the First Locomotive Engine, Sir Hiram Maxim and the Maxim Gun, Evang Torricelli and the Barometer, Lord Kelvin and the Patent Standard Compass, Thomas A Edison and the Phonograph / Gramaphone, Benjamin Franklin and the Lightning Conductor, Sir H. Davy and the Safety Lamp, Mc Cormick and the Reaping Machin, M. Santos Dumont and the Air Ship, SFB Morse and the Electric Telegraph, Sir James Dewar and Liquid Air, M. Curie and Extracting Radium From Pitchblend, Mergenthaler and the Linotype Machine, Orville and Wilbur Wright and the Aeroplane, A. Volta and the Pile Battery, JL Baird and Television, AG Bell and the Telephone, Professor Rontgen and X-Ray Photography, LJM Daguerre and the Photographic Camera, Galileo and the Pendulum, Ja\mes Nasmyth and the Steam Hammer, G Constantinesco and the Aeroplane Gun, Elias Howe and the Sewing Machine, Caxton and the Printing Press, Sir Charles Parsons and the Steam Turbine, JH Greathead and the Tunneling Shield, and F Handley Page and the Slotted Aeroplane Wing

  • Name Of Set: Interesting Experiments
  • Manufacturer: WA & AC Churchman
  • Issue Year: 1929
  • Card Number: 25
  • Card Titles: Atmospheric Pressure part 1, Atmospheric Pressure part 2, The Torricellian Vacuum, The Ventilation of Coal Mines, The Construction of the Atom illustrated, Capillary Action, Making Coal Gas,Combusion part1, Combustion part2, The Parts of a Candle - Flame, The Interior of a Flame, The Ignition Point of Inflammable Gas, Crystallization, Diffusion of Gases, Heat Causes Liquids and Solids to Expand, Making Hydrogen, Unreflected Light is Invisible, Finding the Relative Illuminating Power of Lights, Liquid Air and Alcohol, Liquid Air and Ice, The Lines of Force in a Magnetic Field, Sound Waves, The Composition of Water, The Decomposition of Water, and Water a Bad Conductor of Heat.

  • Name Of Set: Modern Wonders
  • Manufacturer: WA & AC Churchman
  • Issue Year: 1938
  • Card Number: 48
  • Card Titles: The Short Mayo-Composite Aircraft, The Flying Triangle, The Westland-Hill Pterodactyl, Sealed Flying Suit, Detecting Unseen Enemies, The Queen Mary at Southampton, Gyro-Stabiliser, Bathysphere, All-Electric Signal Box, Desert Motor Service, Dynasphere, Modern Fire-Escape, Gigantic Steam Roller, The Gyrotiller, Giant Electric Shovel, The World's Longest Bridge,America's Largest Concrete Arch, The Boulder Dam, Monster Canal Lift, A 500 000 Volt Flash, Ignitron Tube, High-Power Grid-Glow Tube, Million-Volt X-Ray Tube, High Voltage Test House, Gigantic Electric Lamp, Cleaning Air By Electricity, Magnet That Lifts 46 Tons, Huge Electro-Magnet, The Stroboglow, Welding at 7000 D Fahrenheit, Benzol Recovery Plant, Huge Triple Expansion Pumping Engine, 6000 Ton Forging Press, Huge Vertical Boring Mill, Pair of Giant Motors, 200-inch Mirror, Greenwich's Largest Telescope, Giant Plate-Glass Polishing Machine, 30 Ton Treasury Door, Modern Cinema Operating Box, Automatic Telephone Exchange, The Speaking Clock, Television Studio, Micro-Ray Wireless Station, Super Calculating Machine, First Computer, Weighing the Earth, Eye-Prints, and Slot Machine Which Plays Bridge.

  • Name Of Set: The World of Tomorrow
  • Manufacturer: Stephen Mitchell
  • Issue Year: 1936
  • Card Number: 50
  • Card Titles: Solar Motor, Tidal Power Generator, Sea Power Generator, Rotor Power Plant, Wind Turbine Station, Atomic Disintegrator, Coal-Oil Distilling Plant, Mechanical Excavator, Armoured Suits For Engineers, Office of the Future, Stream-Lined Train, Railplane, Tunnel Travel, Road Liner, Streamlined Speed Ship, Fog Eliminator, One-Man Submarine, Super Aeroplane, Mid-Ocean Airport, Composite Aircraft, High Level Airport, Television, New York in the Future, London of the Future, Cross-Shaped Skyscrapers, Church of the Future, Revolving House, House Built of Glass, House Builder, Gyrotiler, Frost Eliminator, North Sea Reclamation, Reclamation of the Sea-Floor, Gibraltar Dam, Gyro_Motor Race, Birdman, Robot or Mechanical Man, Thought-Detecting Machine, Invasion from the Air, Anti-Gas Armour, Anti-Gas Ray, Rocket Post, Cathode Rocket Spaceship, Launching a Space-Ship, Space Gun, Inside a Space-Ship, Space Suits, New Style Observatory, Giant Telescope, and Weather Control.
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