65 Years Of In-plant Impressions
Back in 1951 in-plants were on the rise. World War II had ended and companies, concerned over confidentiality and timeliness, were eager to bring their printing in-house. Offset duplicators were becoming more affordable, as well.
All this was running through Richard F. Caruzzi's mind as he sat in his New York office, pondering his latest idea. Why not start a magazine for these offset duplicator operators?
Without even a publishing company to back him, Caruzzi set about getting subscribers and advertisers, then pulling together material for his creation.
In January 1951—65 years ago—the very first issue of Offset Duplicator Review hit subscribers' desks. Inside, Caruzzi admitted he was "proud but not smug" about the new magazine. "We have a long tough grind ahead of us before this thing becomes a truly going concern, but if you guys and gals...in fact all you folk interested in doing a good job with small offset equipment, pitch in with news, ideas, articles and just plain good wishes we're sure we will all benefit from Offset Duplicator Review."
His words still hit home today.
65 years later, that same magazine is helping thousands of in-plant printers improve their operations. From the rise of facilities management, to the threats and eventual acceptance of copiers, and on into the Internet age, In-plant Impressions has been there, informing hundreds of thousands of in-plant printers over the years.
A lot has changed since Caruzzi's first issue. Let us take you back in time for a look at how the magazine—and the in-plant industry—has changed.
The First Issue
By today's standard's Caruzzi's debut issue wasn't much—just a 32-page, 6x9˝ pamphlet printed in black-and-white, except for some red ink on the cover. Articles covered the benefits of using veloxes (photographic prints made from halftone negatives), how to create photo montages (just grab your scissors) and the dangers of using too much paper in the office.
The first in-plant profiled was Alcoa Steamship Co., which used a Multilith 1250 (an ancient device; surely today's in-plants have never heard of it). Yearly subscriptions were $3.50—one of the few cases in which the price has actually gone down, since most of you now get for free. There weren't many ads in that first issue—just three. By the end of the year we were up to four—with a half page of classified.
The Cover Stories
The cover of the first issue was not the most eye-catching piece of work—a black-and-white reprint of an 1843 sheet music cover depicting soldiers in formation in front of a large sailing vessel. Why this picture? Who knows?
Covers, in fact, continued to be somewhat arbitrary for a few years and had absolutely nothing to do with printing. One featured a boy eating a slice of watermelon. Another showed a pile of pumpkins.
Covers remained black and white—with an occasional dab of spot color—for three years. Then in February of 1954, the magazine printed its first four-color process cover—a picture of three kids in a blow-up yard pool. Though not the most pertinent piece of art, the cover drew attention to the issue's big story on running four-color process on an offset duplicator.
The magazine's covers continued to avoid any depiction of printing until late 1955 when Editor John Ensign got a brainstorm and started putting equipment shots on the cover. But it wasn't until Kenneth Dorman took over in 1956 that the magazine announced a policy of putting in-plant production facilities on all of its covers.
In June of that year, the magazine abruptly, and without a word of explanation, chopped an inch off the top and sides of the magazine and went to a 51⁄4x8˝ format. By now the number of pages had grown to about 68.
The articles in the '50s mostly offered shop tips and techniques. Each issue offered a question and answer section where readers could get technical problems solved. This feature, in fact, became the magazine's most popular section, continuing for 20 years.
At the time, offset was still less popular than letterpress. Some articles took an almost defensive tone: "Offset duplicating is not...a cure all for all jobs, for certain types of jobs cannot compare with letterpress." But as advancements came, Offset Duplicator Review told readers about them. Early articles sought to convince readers to print more color and to use positive sensitized paper plates for short and medium runs.
First Name Change
In October 1959, the magazine experienced its first name change. It was rechristened Reproductions Review to acknowledge "the progressively greater breadth of services now offered by in-plant reproduction departments."
Among these new services was copying, which was slowly being acknowledged in the magazine. Still, many press operators weren't too familiar with the process, as evidenced by a January 1960 ad from Haloid Xerox that still needed to define xerography as "a clean, fast, dry, electrostatic process that copies anything written, printed, typed or drawn onto ordinary paper."
That same month, Thomas Grady Nanney Jr., fresh from Better Homes and Gardens, took the helm and remained editor for more than seven years. In 1966 he celebrated the magazine's 15th anniversary by expanding it to standard magazine size (to accommodate advertisers). He also rescued the industry news section from the back of the magazine and moved it to a more prominent spot in the very front, where it remains today, rechristened On-Line.
"It was a pretty exciting field," recalls Nanny, long retired and living in West Virginia. "Things were changing rapidly."
Nanney was very interested in the technology and attended numerous evening business meetings to learn from others in the field. He conducted extensive market surveys, as well. He was so armed with data that he started writing an editorial every month to give readers his observations. Previous editors had written editorials only sporadically.
The magazine mailed to both in-plants and commercial shops back then, and though he had many friends from the commercial side, Nanny occasionally spoke out for in-plants. In his final editorial, he gently chastised commercial printers for reveling in the misfortunes of in-plants and spoke out in their defense. Nanney left the magazine in 1967 to become a speech writer for the American Petroleum Institute.
The issues in those days looked more like scholarly journals, with lots of text and few pictures. Everything was black and white, except a few ads.
Topics in the 1960s and early 1970s had expanded beyond offset. A number of stories were devoted to microfilm, as the industry tried to figure out what to make of it, as well as diazo, electrostatic and dye transfer. Articles discussed the growing popularity of "facsimile transmission" and whether it should be under the supervision of the in-plant. Copier stories lamented the rampant spread of these devices throughout companies.
Some stories, though, could have been written yesterday. One article on the supervisory problems of the in-plant manager tackled issues such as turnover, training, rush jobs, antipathy toward change and office politics.
Reproductions Review experienced major changes in August 1968 when North American Publishing Co. acquired it and moved the editorial operation to its Philadelphia headquarters. NAPCO saw great promise in the magazine. In announcing the purchase, the company wrote: "What were formerly basement departments equipped with some faltering duplicators are now corporate communication centers equipped with the most modern technological devices."
With new owners came a new staff. Walter Kubilius was named editorial director. A tall, dapper gentleman, Kubilius quickly took to the in-plant market, eventually starting a column called "The Repro Proof."
The in-plant market continued to grow, and Kubilius was there to monitor it. He wrote: "The reasons for the growth of in-house reproduction departments...result from the failure of the commercial printing industry to supply some basic needs of the office." He listed these needs as 1) Speed in short-run document production, 2) Speed in longer-run reproduction, where quality is secondary to speed, and 3) Privacy, security and complete control of copy before public release.
Kubilius noted a shift from the in-plant manager being just a "company career man" pulled out of another department, to a "professional technician" who understands printing.
"As the role of communications in our society expands, so will the role of the repro manager and his department," he wrote. "The extent to which he and his department are...accepted on a corporate level may help determine the extent to which his company will grow."
In September 1971, the magazine solidified its position as the leading in-plant magazine by acquiring Reproductions Methods, a similar magazine. The publication's name was changed to REPRODUCTIONS Review and Methods.
The name change (and additional subscribers) seemed to be the only result of the merger, though, since the subsequent layout looked exactly the same.
In the '70s REPRODUCTIONS Review and Methods began a shift from strictly technical stories about new technologies to stories offering management tips, like professionalism among managers, improving memory skills and employee dissatisfaction. Many of these stories were provided by Ben Grey, an in-plant manager who signed on as a contributing editor in 1971. He wrote for the magazine until well into the 1990s.
The magazine also renewed its focus on the people who made up the industry. In this vein, the Reproduction Manager of the Year award was born. In May 1974, Larry Davis of the Texas House of Representatives in-plant was named Manager of the Year. (The magazine continued to present this award for 25 years until declining submissions and the need for an improved selection process forced the editor and publisher to replace it with monthly manager profiles.)
Say No To Color Copiers!
Paging through back issues often brings smiles, armed as we are with 20/20 hindsight. In a July 1973 article, Howard Floyd railed against color copiers, which he saw as useless: "A copier serves only one legitimate purpose—to make a copy or very few copies of something for someone to read for information. Having this copy in color serves no real purpose."
Curiously, in that same issue, Ben Grey wrote a glowing review of the latest color copying devices, proclaiming: "I don't see how we ever got along without them."
Perusing past issues also reveals that some of today's "hot" trends aren't actually so hot. The magazine tackled consolidation of printing and mailing operations way back in 1975. Satellite copy centers aren't even new. That same year we did a story on Texas Eastern Corp., of Houston, which created four satellite quick copy centers.
In January 1975, new editor William B. Leonard Jr. celebrated the silver anniversary of the magazine (a year early). He called the in-plant profession "the fastest growing segment in the graphic arts field."
That same year he phased in a monthly editor's column, which had been all but disappeared since Nanney's day. His June 1975 editorial was a blistering criticism of a Printing Industries of America spokesman who had evidently spoken ill of in-plants.
Leonard was apparently not too fond of the wordiness of his magazine's title, REPRODUCTIONS Review and Methods. In May 1977 he shrunk the size of the last three words so they were barely visible on the cover and simply referred to the magazine as Reproductions in his editorials.
Leonard's four-and-a-half-year reign ended in December 1978. His swan song—a strong editorial detailing the difficulties in-plants face—was written in a much more chatty tone than usual.
A Year Of Changes
1979 proved a year of big changes. In January the magazine suddenly got both a new editor and a new name: Reproductions 79. The new man, Robert S. Rapp, introduced himself with a confusing editorial that made no mention of why the name had changed—he simply called the magazine Reproductions 79, as if it had always been so. Leonard was brushed aside as simply "editorial consultant and former editor of REPRODUCTIONS Review and Methods."
In April Rapp announced that the magazine would change from ragged right to justified type, which he termed "a more appropriate look." He also said the magazine was going to become more "people oriented" with an expanded profiles section.
Despite Rapp's enthusiasm, he was gone the next month. In his place, Walter Kubilius, the editor 10 years before, made a surprising return. But after one month at the job, he too was gone, like a dream.
Next, Tom Bluesteen stepped up to bat, and he wasted no time making changes to the magazine. In September he redesigned the look of the contents page, adding pictures and making it more reader friendly. He made story headlines larger and modernized the overall look of the magazine.
In December 1979, it apparently dawned on him that the name Reproductions 79 wouldn't fly in the new decade, so he did a little thinking and came up with In-Plant Reproductions.
Bluesteen's assistant editor, Brian Dooley, now a technical consultant in New Zealand, remembers him fondly:
"Tom was a really nice guy. He was quite focused on the job, and fairly detail oriented. We had lots of long discussions on aspects of printing and reprographics and what not."
Some of the hottest topics in that era, Dooley recalls, were chargeback, phototypesetting equipment and increasing numbers of computer forms.
"Working on IPR was interesting, because the technology was accessible, and there were lots of issues of getting the most out of limited technology," Dooley says.
He remembers the process of putting out IPR as being quite a bit different in those pre-computer days.
"We wrote everything on little Smith Corona typewriters, double spaced, on manuscript paper. IPR still used hot lead type. It came back in long galleys, which you had to proofread and look for broken letters. Galley copies would be cut up and placed on a cardboard page layout to create dummies, which the art department would copy with the real type to create page layouts, which were used to shoot negs, which were used to make plates, which were used to print the issue."
A Woman's Touch
Bluesteen disappeared in August 1982 and was replaced by the magazine's first female editor, Ida Crist. She was somewhat of an enigma for readers in that she abruptly stopped the tradition of writing editorials. It wasn't until January 1984 that readers first heard a peep out of her in her first editorial, which offered readers a $50 prize for writing an article on their in-plant. This probably made her popular with readers, while cutting down on her freelance budget for a few months.
While in charge, Crist changed the style of the contents page and the size and font of headlines. She also initiated the annual Buyers' Guide issue, which is still published today.
In-plants were, by now, no longer on the rise. Crist addressed this issue in her May 1985 editorial, admitting that neither she nor anyone else really knew if in-plants were actually declining in number or increasing. A look at the in-plants on the IPR Top 100 list a few years before, however, tells the story; almost none of those in-plants are familiar names today.
In November 1985, the magazine celebrated the digital age by again altering its name. The new monicker, In-Plant Reproductions and Electronic Publishing, was the longest yet. New editor Maria L. Martino introduced a monthly electronic publishing section.
A September 1987 story predicted even more changes, including the merging of word processing, typesetting and computer technology, the improvement of ink-jet technology, the disappearance of cameras and stripping, and the continued rise of facilities management.
In March 1990, Judy Bocklage was rather suddenly promoted to editor of IPR from another magazine in the company. The issue was already late and she had no idea what an in-plant was.
"It couldn't have been worse," she recalls. "I had to learn the industry fast."
In the four years that followed, Bocklage went on to make several improvements to the magazine, supported by long-time publisher Frank Nemeyer.
She created the On-Line section to give readers a quick look at in-plant news. She changed the way statistics and survey results were presented, making the data more reader-friendly. She started conducting roundtable discussions with managers in different cities, and made many friends in the industry.
"The people are some of the best and most fun people I met in any industry, and I really respected their craft," says Bocklage, now doing online business writing for Dow Jones.
Her time at IPR was not without its problems, though. She recalls sending a February 1994 cover story on Rocketdyne's in-plant to press just as an earthquake demolished the operation.
When she finally moved on in the spring of 1994, she had no regrets.
"It was a really good four years," she says.
The next editor, Todd Wakai, ended the streak of female editors. His very first issue debuted a new look for the magazine. The cover logo and page design changed completely. Having made this change, however, Wakai didn't stick around long enough to see the results. He lasted just five issues.
His departure set the stage for the current editor, Bob Neubauer, to take the helm. Having spent three years writing for Printing Impressions magazine, Neubauer understood the technology. He quickly took to the in-plant market and tried to balance the magazine's focus on both the industry's human and technical sides.
In 1996 he and then-publisher Jeff OKon brought yet another major change to the magazine by renaming it In-plant Impressions, to acknowledge that in-plants of the '90s were involved in much more than reprographics. As the industry moved into the Internet era, IPI launched its own website, bringing online content to readers.
In 1998 the magazine got even more reader-friendly by placing article summaries at the beginning of stories to help busy managers get information fast. E-mail and Web addresses were included with stories so readers could get even more information.
For 65 years, In-plant Impressions has been both a source of information and a voice of support for in-plants. Its editors have used their pens and keyboards to defend in-plants when others sought to belittle them.
As technology continues to change the in-plant world, IPi will be there to keep in-plant managers up to date. Stick with us and we'll stand by you—as we have for six and a half decades.
Related story: 50 Years Of Editors
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited more than 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.