The statistics of sociable bridge, back in the 30s–60s seemed to be derived from sales of playing card statistics. From what I know of playing sociable bridge back in the 50s and 60s, that wouldn’t begin to reflect the amount of sociable bridge that went on because we routinely played with old somewhat beat-up cards.
Tournament players insist on new cards always, I understand. And when “entertaining” with bridge as in a couples dinner-bridge, or a special luncheon for women friends, back then, we might splurge on new matched sets of cards and tallies and other bridge accessories. At a minimum, we’d sort of save new-ish bridge card decks for playing beyond our routine weekly or bi-weekly bridge clubs.
Even I am not old enough to have anecdotal memories of the 30s-40s sociable bridge era. It probably was more formal than the 50s-60s and photos exist of ladies bridge lunches of that area actually wearing hats during the afternoon, so perhaps it was socially necessary then to provide new decks of cards when entertaining. In Bridge Table or What’s Trump Anyway? I tell of a Mrs. Governor Kortwright back in 1904 in the days of auction bridge, who took along six dozen decks of cards for a two-week stay at Hot Springs saying, “Bridge devotees . . . never use the same pack twice.”
But for clubs that went on decade after decade? I wouldn’t trust the sale of playing cards as a reliable indication of the pervasiveness of bridge these days.
As to two and three-table talleys for party bridge? Or scorecards and individual score-keeping? Today people make these things on their computer and library copy machine. Or buy a set of talleys and use it repeatedly thereafter with simple expedient of attaching sticky note to write on while using the talley information for moving from table to table.
Googling the internet is a way of getting a “feel” for what’s going on in sociable bridge. Being an optimist, I find Googling “play bridge” and having a Google Alert for that term, is encouraging in terms of reviving bridge.
For believable statistics, it will take that expensive and comprehensive approach blogged about in #47 under Bridge. Just needs a few billionaire movers and shakers at the ACBL.