Hall of Fame–Dedication in Many Forms
“I had worked here summers as a kid, downtown in the old building,” Frautschi recalls. “I can remember walking up the steps of that place, the creaky wood and the smell of all the type solvents.”
As a young boy, Frautschi remembers his father bringing home linotype slugs wrapped in butcher’s paper with a string tied around it. They would melt the type and pour molten lead into the top of molds to make hundreds of little toy soldiers.
After graduating from prep school in Colorado during World War II, Frautschi attended Amherst College, then Carnegie Tech’s School of Printing Management. Upon graduation, he entered the army and taught offset presswork in the map reproduction unit at Ft. Belvoir, VA.
Madison has long been home to the Frautschi family—John is fourth generation. His family grew up on a lake, opening the door for a love of sailing in the spring and skiing in the winter. He actually ski jumped competitively in college.
Date With Destiny
At an early age, it was evident that John Frautschi had a date with printing destiny. His journey started on the delivery truck before heading to the shipping department. Frautschi literally went through the back door of Democrat Printing, proceeding into the bindery, followed by the pressroom.
“I really didn’t think of any other profession,” admits Frautschi. “It was a goal for me. Maybe I had some ink in my veins.”
It was definitely in his genes. His brother, Jerry, joined him in 1956 and remained with the organization until selling his interest in Webcrafters to John in 1997.
In an industry seen as serious and dry for many, thoughts of Frautschi evokes visions of levity and light-heartedness for Ken Field, president and CEO of Continental Web Press, located in Itasca, IL. Field joined Frautschi and their wives on a GATF-sponsored tour for the IGAS exhibition in Japan.