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Tales of our Beginnings

Tales of our Beginnings Tales of our Beginnings

Cornell Print Shop

Although social media and personal printers – even from a phone – are the norm nowadays, in the early days of the town, Cornell was home to its very own print shop. The shop was an extension of the paper mill, located in the bottle cap department and later on, in the core shop.

To ensure it operated at full capacity, four men and 15 girls were employed to keep the presses busy, as all composition was hand-set at that time, advertising job work. The city’s newspaper, the Chippewa Valley Courier, was also part of the printing shop’s operation, with a cylinder press provided for that job.

The mill manufactured wallboard, which was in high demand at lumber yards across the country as a cheaper substitute for plaster walls in buildings. Annually, the print shop turned out more than 200,000 wallboard table mats, used as “hot pads,” that advertised the mill’s wares.

Around 1928, the newspaper portion was sold to W. H. Howard, a print shop employee, along with the equipment used in its publication. The business moved out of the print shop to a location “up town.” With this transfer and a decrease in all the other various print shop jobs, in 1930, the crew was cut to just four men.

The department then moved to a storehouse building, which was more convenient for storage and distribution of printed supplies, advertising and sample shipments. After a Kluge automatic press was added in 1943, and a Davidson offset press in 1951, only two of the original handfed presses remained in use for special jobs.

With the addition of the faster equipment and decline in the demand for wallboard, shop crew diminished until only one man was left to print forms that were used in all departments of the mill and office.

(Courtesy of the Cornell Centennial 1913-2013)

At one time, a large crew manned the presses at the Cornell Print Shop, as part of the paper mill.