Thrilling Days

Arcade Cards


Frontier Town


Arcade Cards


Premiums & Toys


click on any card for a larger image
Arcade cards were first created by the Exhibit Supply Company of Chicago, IL, in 1901 and ended in 1981. The cards were 3 3/8"x 5" and featured promotional photos of movie stars, prize fighters, baseball players, and cowboy-western stars. They were first printed in black & white (as seen above) and finally in color lithography (as seen seen here).

Arcade card machine marquee sign
click to see an arcade machine marquee sign

Trips to Norumbega Park in Waltham, MA started my collection of arcade cards. The park had a small roller coaster and a giant rotary swing with rocket planes you took rides in. The big excitement for me was the small arcade with its magical machines. Clutching a few pennies I had saved, I would make a dash for one of the arcade machines. The machine was like a box on legs with a marquee sign on top that said “Put one cent in slot, Push slide in-then pull out slowly and receive card”. Excited I inserted my penny, pushed the plunger and out came a gray cardboard card. There in a black and white photo was The Lone Ranger from the movie serial of 1938!

What a treasure! It was pure luck not to get a duplicate. I could add this one to my collection. I got three more cards but they were not ones I wanted. I would save them to trade with my friends. When I got home my new cards were added to others in a cigar box. Quite often I would take the Lone Ranger cards out and with my imagination at full speed ride with the masked man on his adventures. Enjoy looking at the cards and I hope you have some of the same excitement I had.

> see also my collection of color lithography arcade cards <


Big Little Books


Trading Cards


Lone Ranger Timeline