Still Making Big Impressions —Michelson
HIS ROMANCE with the printing process started at age 12, when he became one of the thousands of American youngsters in the 1930s who bought a Kelsey hand press through the mail. It continued right on through printing school, which led to running a successful printing business, plus the establishment of a printing machinery firm. His love for printing and publishing further gave rise to a weekly TV magazine for Philadelphia that he launched to help keep the presses busy.
Such is the backstory to Irvin J. Borowsky founding North American Publishing Co. (NAPCO) in early 1958 and launching Printing Impressions as a tabloid newspaper 50 years ago this month. Entering the ring with a dozen other well-established trade magazines already serving the field at that time, he was told none of the existing magazines effectively focused on managing a successful printing operation. Now, a half century later, as most of those competitors have long since faded away, his keen business sense has been validated.
That same vision and entrepreneurial drive led him to build a successful publishing company around Printing Impressions—with leading titles in diverse fields such as consumer electronics and furniture—and gain the distinction of becoming the largest magazine publisher for the printing, publishing, direct marketing and allied industries. Today, overseen by his son, Ned Borowsky, NAPCO remains a family business and maintains its old-fashioned American spirit by prevailing against competitive publications owned by large, multi-national publishing conglomerates.
Having built a thriving publishing operation, Mr. Borowsky retired from NAPCO in 1996 to champion an even greater cause: Honoring those who have stood up against religious persecution, bigotry and racial hatred. He founded the National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia to serve as our nation’s home for heroes. Featuring a 20-foot crimson glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly, eight full galleries and many special exhibits, the unique museum incorporates 125 works of fine art glass to help illustrate the beauty—and fragility—of freedom. It honors 1,993 men, women and young people who dared to make the world a better place.
We hope you find our special 50th anniversary salute on the following pages both entertaining and enlightening. Culled from past editions, articles highlight how pesky problems of yesteryear still persist; several past technology predictions, and just how accurate the prognostications were; amusing (and, today, some not so politically correct) advertisements that once graced our pages; as well as a sampling of odd and memorable industry happenings—both good and bad—from the past five decades. Enjoy your trip down Memory Lane.
Mark T. Michelson