Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Hallmark Cards

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Hallmark Cards, Inc. is based in Kansas City, Missouri, USA.

Founded in 1910 by 18-year-old Joyce C. Hall selling postcards, by 1915 the company was known as Hall Brothers and sold Valentine's Day and Christmas cards. In 1917, Hall and his brother Rollie invented modern wrapping paper when they ran out of traditional coloured tissue paper.

In 1928, the company adopted the name "Hallmark", after the hallmark symbol used by goldsmiths in London since the 14th century, and began printing the name on the back of every card and promoting it in advertising campaigns, a practice the company continues to the present day. In 1931, the Canadian William E. Coutts Company, Ltd., a major card maker, became an affiliate of Hall Brothers, which was Hall Brothers' first international business venture.

In 1944, it adopted its current slogan, "When you care enough to send the very best." It was created by a salesman at a meeting. The cocktail napkin on which it was originally handwritten is on display at the company headquarters. In 1951, Hall sponsored a television program for NBC that gave rise to the Hallmark Hall of Fame, which has won 78 Emmy Awards. Hallmark now has its own cable television channel, the Hallmark Channel which was established in 2001. For a period of about 15 years, Hallmark owned a stake in the Spanish language network Univision.

In 1954, the company name was changed from Hall Brothers to Hallmark. In 1958, William E. Coutts Company, Ltd. was acquired by Hallmark; until the 1990s, Hallmark's Canadian branch was known as "Coutts Hallmark".

In 1980, Hallmark Cards acquired Valentine and Sons of Dundee, one of the world's oldest publishers of picture postcards.

In 1998, Hallmark made a number of acquisitions, including the British company Creative Publishing.

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