The Arbuckle Coffee Company was founded by John and Charles Arbuckle, originally of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. The brothers relocated to New York in 1881, where they patented their coffee roasting machine. Previously, most coffee beans were roasted in the home and beans were sold green. The Arbuckles roasted coffee on an industrial scale and sealed the beans with an egg and sugar mixture. They were sold in one-pound packages and quickly became popular nationwide, but particularly with cowboy outfits in the American West.
In the 1880s, the Company began to include trade cards with their coffee, small cards that advertised the company on one side and included a pleasing lithographic image on the other. The Arbuckle cards were integral in making “trade” cards into “trading” cards, as the Arbuckle cards were released in numbered series. Customers were encouraged to collect complete sets and to trade duplicates. Many of the series included maps, including a state series, a city series, and a world series.