Gies & Co, Buffalo, NY

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Gies & Co., Buffalo, NY (American, c1871-c1922), were commercial lithographers, engravers, printers, publishers, general book printers, wood engravers, electrotypers, blank book manufacturers, catalogue & pamphlet printers, job & commercial printers, and bookbinders. Charles Gies co-founded the company circa 1871 with another Buffalo lithographer by the name of George H. Dunston under the name Gies & Co. and the company continued in business until around 1922. The company was very prolific and produced thousands of labels, trade cards, postcards, calendars, wood engravings, premiums, posters, art lithographs, religious prints, catalogues, pamphlets, general books and were also blank book manufacturers, just to name a few. They also printed several items for the Pan American Exposition which was held in Buffalo, NY, in 1901.

During the 1870’s and 1880’s, Gies & Co. quickly rose into prominence, and during every year of its subsequent existence had monopolized more and more of the printing trade which extended from coast-to-coast and from the Great Lakes on down to New Orleans, even reaching into Europe and other foreign countries. By 1880, Gies & Co. was the largest establishment of its kind west of New York City, and their facilities and conveniences were unequalled. The company was located at 305 & 307 Washington Street, in Buffalo, NY, and they were one of the largest and most complete establishments of its kind in the United States at that time. They had the finest machinery, newly invented labor-saving appliances, and all sorts of apparatus for the prompt and accurate execution of their work. The building they occupied was extensive, consisting of three floors (60 x 100 feet each), in addition to the office on the first floor (30 x 60 feet), together with an ample basement for storage (60 x 20 feet). At the time, the company had seventy-five employees, most of whom were skilled artisans. There were eight cylinder printing presses, averaging six and a half tons in weight, together with twelve job presses, which gives some idea of the resources of the printing house, and a 40-horse power steam engine which drove all of the machinery. Their facilities also designed and engraved on wood and metals, and their bindery department was a prominent feature of the firm. As a whole, Gies & Co. represented the highest class of printing, art and excellence attained at the end of the 19th Century. By 1884, the company either moved or expanded to 338, 340 & 346 Washington St. in the city and a later address showed them at 111 Swan Street, in Buffalo, but no dates were given. According to the 1884 Buffalo City Directory, Charles Gies was President & General Manager of the firm and he resided at 1115 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. The Vice President at the time was Charles F. Roehsler and the Secretary was M.J. True. So somewhere along the line, George H. Dunston had left the company prior to 1884 and had also run his own lithography company in Buffalo named G.H. Dunston, Lithographer, Engraver & Printer, Buffalo, NY (and later as G.H. Lith [or Litho], Buffalo, NY, and sometimes listed as G.H. Dunston, Buffalo, NY), and for a while competed side-by-side along with Gies.

Over the years the Gies & Co. name had appeared in various different ways on numerous publications, postcards, city directories, ads and various other printed material such as; Charles Gies & Co.; Gies & Co.; Gies & Co. Incorporated; Gies & Co. Litho, Buffalo, NY; Gies & Co. Incorporated, Lithographers; Gies Lithographic Co.; Gies & Co. Litho, NY; Gies & Co. Litho, Buffalo, New York; Gies & Company Lithographers and Publishers, Buffalo, NY; Gies & Co. Printers and Engravers; and Gies & Co. Printers and Bookmakers, to name a few. In the 1890 & 1900 Pittsburgh, PA city directories, the Gies Company was listed with Pittsburgh locations, which appears to reflect an attempt to expand their business into still broader markets. In the 1899 Pittsburgh city directory he had an ad for their printing services but cited only their Buffalo location.

(Rewritten in parts and compiled chronologically by Mark Strong of Meibohm Fine Arts, Inc., East Aurora, NY, 14052, 07/2010, Sources: Our internal resources;, Buffalo City Directory, Pgs. 460-462, 1884;;, online book, Commerce, Manufacturers and Resources of Buffalo and Environs: A Descriptive Historical and Statistical Review, Industry, Development, Enterprise, Commercial Publishing Company, Copyright 1880 by W.H. Howbills, Pg. 72;, A Panorama of Pittsburgh: Nineteenth Century Printed Views, Frick Art & Historical Center, Distributed by University of Pittsburgh Press, Pittsburgh, PA, Printed in Canada, 2008.)