Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

A package of cigarettes might not be the first place you'd think to look for gorgeous illustrations of scientific theory and high tech innovation, but in the years 1935-1938 Max Cigarettes released a set of trading cards called "The Age of Power and Wonder" that did just that. That title sums up the exuberance many felt about the rapid developments in science and manufacturing taking place: the commercial manufacturing of plastics and synthetics, the advancement of optics, and the unlimited possibility of the atom.

The Art Deco style prominent in the 1930s was a marriage of art and science that blended machine age imagery and materials with a beautiful aesthetic. In that vein, these cigarette cards combined mass production and art to bring science to a curious population. The collection features a total of 250 cards that illustrate scientific theory, science history, new innovation, and famous scientists. Each has an artistic rendering and an educational blurb on the back. The striking visuals and almost abstract representations—especially when it comes to the more theoretical concepts—are so classically cool that they wouldn't be out of place in a contemporary home.

Check out the entire 250-card collection at the New York Public Library.

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science

Vintage Art Deco cigarette cards celebrate your great-grandparents' romance with science