George H. Morrill Company (The Inkworks)

The enterprise which Samuel Morrill started in a single kettle, producing a few pounds daily, was a pioneer in the manufacturing of printing ink in New England and became on of the first of the large ink makers in the county.” Edward Gilpatrick

The George H. Morrill Company made ink for the newspaper industry. Founded in 1845 in Andover, Massachusetts, by Samuel Morrill, who had been a printer for twenty years, invented and produced a superior ink compared to what had been on the market. The company Samuel founded grew rapidly, and in 1854, he moved the company moved to South Dedham. In 1869, Samuel Morrill retired and his son George took over the running of the company.

The Morrill Memorial Library. George H. Morrill built this in honor of his daughter Sarah Bond Morrill (from the collection of LL Kearney)

The company continued to grow, new products were added, and their sales expanded. By the early 1900s they had offices in New York, San Francisco, Philadelphia and Chicago. Their product line had grown as well. They started out making just black ink, around 1874 they began to make colored ink. By 1890, the company had enlarged its Norwood facilities to fourteen buildings. Then in 1894, the Norwood plant was totally rebuilt and new buildings added in order to meet their sales demands. In 1904 they added a new building to make dry colors that are needed for the manufacturing of colored inks, and the following year another building was constructed to handle the making of colored ink, and they retooled the facility again in 1914.

By 1910 it was said they were the largest producer of printing ink in the United States and over twelve million newspapers used George H. Morrill ink daily. In 1894 the Norwood facility produced 30,000 to 35,000 pounds in ink annually and by 1936 they produced 20,000,000 pounds of ink annually. For over eighty-five years the Morrill ink works had been a family run business, employing five generations of Morrills. In 1929 they sold the company, and it became part of The General Printing Ink Company, and in 1972, they stopped manufacturing ink in Norwood.

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