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1998 Hall of Fame--Father of Web Offset

October 1998
During his nearly 70-year career, Harry R. Quadracci has overseen 121 press installations.


BY ERIK CAGLE


It didn't take long for Harry R. Quadracci to prove what kind of man he was. In fact, he proved it while still a boy.

The Quadracci family had moved to America from Italy in 1906 in search of a better life. His father opened a grocery store in Racine, WI, after they settled in, but The Great Depression would leave millions of people, the Quadraccis included, bankrupt.

That's when Harry Quadracci stepped to the forefront.

He had taken up printing at the age of 15 as a hobby and a way to make extra money, and he used that money to acquire a letterpress one year later. The grocery store, broke because it extended credit to customers who couldn't pay, wasn't legally required to pay back its creditors. But the younger Quadracci printed materials for his father's creditors and placed $5 of every $20 job toward the debt his father had incurred. The elder Quadracci was able to repay every penny owed by the store.

Why pay, when most other people either didn't or couldn't?

"A man's credit," Harry Quadracci explains, "is his personal bond."

Thus began a milestone-laden printing journey for Harry R. Quadracci, a 1998 Printing Impressions/RIT Printing Industry Hall of Fame inductee.

Quadracci, 85, is chairman of the board of directors at Quad/Graphics, Pewaukee, WI. He joined the company in 1972, helping his son and company founder, Harry V. "Larry" Quadracci, operate the business.

That was the beginning of a new career for Quadracci, but it also brought to an end 38 innovative, successful years at the W.A. Krueger Co., which he co-founded and later co-owned.

The W.A. Krueger Co. began when Quadracci sold his first press, the Belle City Queen, and other print shop assets to William A. Krueger. Quadracci had owned the Belle City Queen ever since he started his own company, Standard Printing, in 1930.

Little did Quadracci know that the Belle City Queen was the first in a long line of presses he would oversee installed. He oversaw the installation of 15 web offset presses at the W.A. Krueger Co.; at Quad/Graphics, he oversaw the addition of 88 web offset presses and 18 gravure presses. Thus Quadracci headed up the installation of 121 web presses, believed by many in the industry to be the highest-ever total for one person.

In 1954, Krueger purchased its first four-color press with a long oven. Prior to having long dryers, web presses were used for one- and two-color newsprint jobs.
 

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