This is a very cool run down of business cards from the 17th century to today and worth a look even to just see the samples of cards.
The business card is often something placed at the back end of your wallet or in your pocket. Deemed as a small inconsequential piece of paper that is part of day to day meetings with people, the card is seldom considered more than its face value. However, these cards have a long history and an evolution many of us don’t appreciate.
17th Century Europe
Business cards began in the 17th century in Europe, where they were used to announce the impending arrival of prosperous or aristocratic people to their local town or even their home. They were shaped and sized in a similar way to a playing card and became a staple of the elite by the middle of the century. In time the cards became engrave with gold and exciting typefaces and by the 19th century the cards were a must have by anyone, who was anyone in the middle class circles of the day. Houses even had card trays, ornate in construction, made so those visiting your house could leave their card in.
Continues at: A History of Business Cards.