Business cards, which came into widespread use in the US during the 1890s, trace their origin to 15th century China. In their original form, the cards were used to announce an intended visit with another person. By the 17th century, the footmen of European aristocracy would present “Visiting Cards” to their hosts to announce the impending arrival of a distinguished guest. Merchants in London adopted the practice in the form of “Trade Cards” which were used to provide directions to a merchant’s place of business.