Chicago Typemaking & Printing

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Chicago is probably the second most important city in the history of American type and printing (and were it not for the presence of Mergenthaler and Intertype in Brooklyn, it might be the first - though it is unlikely that the printers of Philadelphia would agree with this). It was the home of The Inland Printer, the Ludlow Typograph Company and R. Hunter Middleton, Oz Cooper, Wiebking's punch and matrix engraver and engraving services, and Goudy's first types. It was the birthplace of the Thompson and the Nuernberger-Rettig type casters, and the home of a commercial typefounding industry from the 1850s until I hauled the last commercial typecasting machine out in 2011.

Here are a few random notes on the history of type-making and printing in Chicago. This is not comprehensive - there is much, much more that could/should be added.

Note: For further tools for researching old Chicago industries, see CircuitousRoot Notebook on research tools for cities in general and Chicago specifically.

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Maps; Defining "Printers' Row"

Maps of Chicago showing the locations of various type and printing establishments. Notes on the changing streets of the City.

The concept of a "Printers' Row" or "Printing House Row" in the south Loop area is attested from the very early 20th century. Modern definitions and designated historical districts, however, seem to have been defined more by students of fine archictecture and tend to miss less pretentious areas next door which housed considerable type and printing activity.

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The Inland Printer

From 1883 to 2011, The Inland Printer was the most important periodical of the printing industry in America.


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