The Evolution Of Business Cards From 15th Century China To 21st Century Ireland

The Evolution Of Business Cards From 15th Century China To 21st Century Ireland

The Evolution of Business Cards

Business Cards come from an interesting tale if truth be told, as with so many brilliant ideas it originated in the far east, in China in the 15th century to be precise. Originally handcrafted and painted and given by the elite to each other to arrange appointments.

Over the next few centuries, the practice spread to Europe where the calling cards were used in polite society right up until the Edwardian era in the early 20th Century. In the 1920’s as the World changed and became more modern, business cards became used for business purposes with tradesmen finding it the easiest and the best way to advertise their services.


These business cards, as a means of introducing their owners, had a glory all their own, decorated with engraved ornaments and elegant coats of arms. By the 19th century, a visiting (or by this time “calling”) card was essential to the life of any upper or middle-class lady or gentlemen. Each home had a silver card tray, which resided on the hall table along with a pencil and a pad of paper. Trade cards, on the other hand, became popular in London at the beginning of the 17th century at a time when there was no formal numbering system for streets and no well-developed newspaper industry. The trade cards served as a form of advertisement for businesses and also included maps with directions on how to reach the establishment. The earliest monotone trade cards were printed with the woodcut or letterpress method but by 1830 lithography had developed to the point that business cards with several shades were used and were, in their own right, small works of art.

These days business cards are ubiquitous and are used by people from all walks of life to advertise their own businesses but are also used to denote people’s positions within those businesses.





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