Hallmark History & Timeline

JC Hall on streets of Kansas City Hallmark's Eye-Vision greeting card display JC standing by Hallmark headquarters JC & Don looking at Crown Center model Crayola Crayons in a box Recordable Storybooks
Founding
1910s
Early Innovation
1910s - 30s
Building a Brand
1930s - 50s
Growing and Expanding
1960s - 80s
Building for
the Future
1980s - 90s
Innovation
21st Century
& Beyond

 

View a Flash timeline of our first 100 years

 


Early Innovation: 1910s - 30s

Hallmark's Eye-Vision greeting card display

Armed with the success of the Hall Brothers greeting cards, J.C. and his brother continued to innovate. Their first foray into other product lines came in 1917 when the Hall brothers "invented" modern gift wrap. During the peak Christmas season, the Hall Brothers ran out of solid-colored gift dressing, and improvised by selling fancy decorated French envelope linings. Those sold out so quickly that the brothers decided to begin printing their own gift wrap.

J.C. Hall also was an innovator in marketing his cards. He was intrigued by the word "hallmark" used by goldsmiths as a mark of quality. Mr. Hall liked that it not only said quality, but also included his family name. So, in 1928, the company began marketing its brand by using the Hallmark name on the back of every card. That same year, Hallmark was the first in the greeting card industry to advertise nationally. The ad was written by J.C. Hall and appeared in Ladies' Home Journal. Hall was convinced of the power of national advertising and next turned to radio, sponsoring "Tony Wons' Radio Scrapbook."

Steamboat Willie Keepsake OrnamentBut the innovation didn't stop there. In 1932, Hallmark signed its first licensing agreement with one of the 20th century's most recognizable names – Walt Disney. Another innovation was the company's patented "Eye-Vision" greeting card displays, which took cards out of shop drawers and put them on display racks where people could easily see and read them. The way you see greeting cards displayed today was an industry first created by Hallmark.

 

Fun Fact

From the mid-1930s through the 1950s, J.C. Hall approved every single Hallmark card, giving his official thumbs up by writing "OK JC" on the back.