Scholler Keeps Times Printing Flying High
Scholler is as old as the company, having been only two weeks old when H.C. Scholler accepted a guarantee of $1,500 a year in advertising from the Random Lake Advancement Association to start a newspaper for the community.
It seems that a few years earlier, an opportunistic publisher began a high-profile subscription campaign to generate paper sales for his publication, with a Model T Ford as the grand prize in the contest. When subscription sales failed to put a dent in the Model T’s price tag, the publisher asked a friend to put up half the price of the car, with the understanding the friend would win the contest. Word of the scam soon leaked and, as was the times, the publisher was run out of town.
The senior Scholler may have been short on business savvy, but his ethics were fully intact, and soon the Random Lake Times was born. Ray became involved with the business at an early age and, except for a stint in the Army and a brief job digging ditches, he has been a printer for life. The ditch-digging job convinced him his future was in the ink-on-paper business. “It’s as bad a job as everyone makes it out to be,” he laughs.
Ray Scholler with wife and business partner of 61 years Bernice.
Building the Business
Scholler came aboard in 1938, the year the company purchased its first Linotype typesetting machine for a cool $2,600. Aside from the weekly, the printer manufactured letterhead, envelopes and ruled forms, the variety that can now be created using Microsoft Excel. A Kluge automatic press was acquired after World War II, followed by a Miehle Vertical in 1950.
During this time, Times Printing’s business began to expand in the magazine market, and Scholler found his favorite pastime in the process. He obtained his pilot’s license in 1946 and, by 1953, copies of the Experimental Aircraft Association’s publication ballooned from 40 to 400. The association wanted to have a magazine; they were printing a mimeographed publication initially, stapling velox prints to it. When the count reached 400, the association turned to Times Printing, which produced Badger Airway Beacon for the state of Wisconsin.