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Printing Impressions’ 50th Anniversary — Ages-old Concerns

June 2008 By Cheryl Adams
Managing Editor
SOME THINGS never change. Which can be both a blessing and a curse.

This is especially true when you consider that necessity is the mother of invention: The need to resolve problems is often the best catalyst for change. However, the transformation process can sometimes take a very long time, be filled with trials and tribulations, and, in the end, yield bittersweet results.

Such is the case in the printing industry, where some issues seemingly have been around as long as Gutenberg’s press. As long as printing involves ink and paper, consumables will always be an ongoing issue. As long as printing involves a press, there will always be questions involving technology, capabilities, efficiency and labor. As long as numerous printers dot the land-scape, there will always be overcapacity and price cutting. As long as printing is a business, there will always be concerns about operational costs, productivity and profitability.

In 1958, when Printing Impressions made its debut, many of the problems facing readers then are essentially the same ones facing their counterparts today. In the 50 years of PI’s publication, much of the printing process has become more digitized and automated. Still, some things remain the same. And, inherently, some probably always will.

Here are some of the major issues facing printers in 1958 and 1959, as reported in our very first volumes.

• Sales, Profits, Productivity

Long before “DeWese on Sales,” there was a popular monthly series titled, “Selling—Man to Man,” along with a sidebar, “Peddling vs. Selling.” Both were written by E.A. Terhune.

“Slash High Labor Turnover” was another popular monthly series. One feature headline read: “How’s Your Profit Picture?” The subhead: “The cow who got along without eating until it died is no different from the firm that operates without profit.” Another article is on “Keeping Workers Satisfied: Employee Relations Is the Difference Between Profit and Loss.”

An interesting piece, “Price Conference Results Jolt Printers, Rate Estimating Erratic,” describes a study in which 26 Philadelphia printers were asked to submit price estimates on a job, and estimates varied by 1,500 percent. According to another article, “Specialized Markets Grow 30 Percent Higher Sales” in one year due to niche products, in this case, printing records for instrumentation and automation.

Still another article, “Prosperity to Reach New High Peak,” claims that 1959 is likely to be “the best year in printing history” due to an improved financial/business picture and positive economic report.
 

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