Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Wayback View - Print Ephemera - Printer's Invoices

Old printer's invoices, if you can find them, can provide a fascinating glimpse into how business was conducted "back in the day."

Click on the images to enlarge

Printers often diversify their operations to attract new business. However this 1924 invoice from Buxton and Skinner shows a diversification that is a bit extreme. I wonder what "radiation," "meter rental," and "condensation" actually refer to?
In 1916 you could get 1,000 envelopes for $2.50 (and apparently pay no tax).
This Amsterdam New York invoice from 1944 includes an interesting note to the effect that income tax was withheld on wages. I wonder why they noted this on the invoice?
Perhaps this invoice from 1897 inspired a famous Vulcan with it's motto: "Print and Prosper."
A 1944 job estimate from G. Claridge & Co. of Bombay (Mumbai) appears to be a form letter with the text in red being preprinted while the text in black being customized for each project.
The total of this 1918 invoice for presswork came to $18.25. Translated into 2011 dollars that $18.25 is equivalent to $291.97.
Advertising rates in The Journal published by John W Eedy in 1897 were very reasonable and its presswork "Neatly executed. [with] Prices Moderate."
Selma Printers in 1870 also prided themselves on "Printing Neatly Executed."
M.J. Sullivan differentiated himself from his competition by being a "Practical Printer" (I assume that he considered other printers as impractical). However, it appears that the order for 100 name cards placed August 24, 1922, was a bit slow in being fulfilled since the invoice shows a billing date of December 1, 1923 - over one year later.
Companies are always trying to reduce their printing spend. Here, Rand McNally has saved a bit of money by using an invoice from 1890 and with a simple crossing out of the "8" and adding a "0" has transformed it into a 1900 invoice. Another interesting thing about this invoice is the purchaser's title: a certain George M. Beadle, Mining Expert, "etc." I suppose that Mr. Beadle had other expertise that the accountant at Rand McNally just couldn't remember.

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