The Story Behind Bulldog Squeezers
Here’s the inside story of how those cards got their name.
Most decks contain 52 cards, plus or minus a couple of Jokers. Most cards contain the suit indicator and the value indicator in the upper left and lower right corners. Sometimes you see suits and values in all four corners, but this is less common.
Prior to the mid-1860s, you didn’t see anything at all in the corners of playing cards. There were no suits or values in the corners. If a player wanted to see his or her entire hand, the cards had to be widely spread or moved from the front of the hand to the back one at a time.
In about 1864, card manufacturers came up with a couple of ways to solve this problem. The only ones still popular today are the suit and value indicators that we’re all familiar with. When this innovation was first introduced, the decks that featured it were called “Squeezers.” This name came from the fact that players could now “squeeze” the cards into a small fan to see their entire hand.
A more modern method of looking at a poker hand came along once plastic playing cards were introduced. This method is also called squeezing out a hand, and it uses a strong buckling action to allow the player to look down into the curved portion of the cards and see every index.
The name is still around on one brand of The United States Playing Card Company’s Bulldog Squeezers Deck, which have been in production on and off since the late 1870s.