Niagara Lithograph Co.

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Niagara Lithograph Company (American Publishers & Lithographers, 1896-1967) were located at 1050 Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY. The company printed chromolithographs and various lithographs, calendars, advertisements, trade cards, WWI posters, promotional pamphlets, other art posters, cardboard signs, as well as on metal and various postage stamps. The company was also known for printing much of the Coca-Cola cardboard signs from 1930-1940, and other notable corporations who were clients included; Colgate, Canada Dry, and Firestone. Alternate company names found across publications and online include; Niagara Lith. Co., Niagara Lithograph Co., and Niagara Lithographic Co.

The company’s history can be traced back to Hugh M. Clay who had worked in lithography firms for ten years before going into partnership with Herman Cosack in 1864 to form Clay, Cosack & Company (American Lithographers, 1864-1879). The company printed a variety of lithographic products to include; chromolithographs, trade cards, art prints, seed packets, medicine labels, tourist cards etc. In 1879, Clay left the firm to start a new partnership with Henry A. Richmond to form Clay & Richmond (American Lithographers, 1879-1886). Their firm concentrated on printing chromolithographic trade cards and labels, and when Clay retired in 1886, the company became the Richmond Lithographing Company (American Lithographers, 1886-1896). In 1896, the firm changed its name yet again to the Niagara Lithograph Company after it was purchased by Hugo R. Monro, John J. McWillams (who served as president), and his son-in-law Horace Reed. After McWilliams death in 1912, Reed took over the company.

In 1967, Niagara Lithograph Co. consolidated with Sale Lithograph Co. (American Lithographers, 1904-1967) to form Sale-Niagara, Inc. (1967-1992). In 1977, Sale-Niagara was purchased by Walter Jaworski (of Miken Companies Inc., Unionized Commercial Printers, 1976-2005), and by 1992 the two printing companies had merged. During its highly productive years, the company printed for many famous publishing giants to include; The National Geographic Society, Dell, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Random House and Bantam Doubleday, for which the company produced more than 13 million hard and paperback covers for titles by the famous bestselling author, attorney, politician and activist John Grisham (American, 1955-). “After reaching a peak in 1993 of $21.94 million, revenues at the Cheektowaga company stagnated in the late 1990’s, dropping to $17 million. In early 2002, Miken lost one of its largest customers when it acquired a printing company of its own, which resulted in a loss of about $6 million, Bolas said. The company ended 2004 with about $10 million in revenues and was on track for about the same for 2005”[1]. Unfortunately Miken couldn’t turn around the debt-laden company and they were forced to close their doors in mid September of 2005, leaving about 80 employees out of work.

(Rewritten in parts & compiled by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY 14052, meibohmfinearts.com, sources: metropostcard.com, “Niagara Lithograph Co. 1896-1990’s, Niagara Street, Buffalo, NY”; loc.gov; fultonhistory.com, online digitized newspaper article, Courier Express, “Lithograph Firms to Consolidate”, Pg. 8, Tuesday August 22, 1967, PDF Buffalo NY Courier Express 1967 a - 2575.pdf; bizjournals.com and quote [1], “Cheektowaga printer shutting down”, by Tracey Drury, Business First, Monday, September 12, 2005; company-detail.com, “Sale-Niagara, Inc.”.)
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