When 3 makes 1: The Companies of the Norwood Press

The success of the Norwood Press was due to the three independent companies that made up this partnership, J.S. Cushing & Co., Berwick and Smith, and E. Fleming & Co. The Norwood Press specialized in printing mostly school and college textbooks and their clients were the major textbook publishers of the day. In 1909, the Journal of Education stated the Norwood Press printed nine million textbooks a year, and listed as some of their clients MacMillan Company, Henry Holt & Co., the Benjamin H. Sanborn Company and Silver, Burdett & Co., many of whom are still around today.

J. S. Cushing & Co., (typesetters)

The logo for J.S.Cushing & Co.

J S Cushing & Co., was a compositing company (typesetting) that was founded in 1878 with $150 Cushing  had managed to save working as a journeyman compositor. Cushing believed he could improve the printing of textbooks, and decided to make this his specialty. His first client was a textbook company who gave him one job and promised if he did it well, they would hire him for more publications. Apparently, this customer was pleased because J.S. Cushing & Co. grew quickly. His business had grown so much, that by 1889, his company was the largest compositor of textbooks in the United States. Cushing was also well known for having created many letter type-fonts, and made a name for himself as a “mathematical textbook compositor,” his company was also very skilled at producing typeset in many different languages, such as Greek, Hebrew and Japanese, and many of the modern languages. He was known to have made many upgrades in the typography of textbooks.

Berwick & Smith (printers)

Berwick & Smith logo

Berwick and Smith was a partnership formed in Boston in 1884 by James Berwick, a printer, and George Harding Smith, a bookkeeper. Their initial outlay was $25,000, which covered rent for their first location on in Boston, plus the cost of six cylinder presses, two Adams presses, a hydraulic press and other machinery for the printing of books. They immediately landed two major contracts with two large publishers. They produced quality workmanship and soon their business began to rapidly grow. Their specialty was printing textbooks for schools and colleges. Their printing company quickly expanded and they outgrew their first location. By 1889 they had moved into a new building, on a floor of 10,000 square feet.  Then, in 1895, they moved into an even larger space in Norwood. The space in Norwood was about half an acre in size, had seventeen cylinder presses as well as several smaller presses, and by 1916 was able to print upwards of 20,000 books on a daily basis

E. Fleming & Company (book binders)

Workers in the bindery of E. Fleming & Co., (from the collections of the Norwood Historical Society.)

E. Fleming & Company was a bookbindery and was established by Edwin Fleming in 1855. The company grew at a steady pace and with the introduction of bookbinding machinery, Fleming found he needed more space so in 1889 moved into the Estes Block in Boston. Charles Laurie was made a partner in the company after the death of William Fleming, Edwin’s son, who was slated to take over the company when Edwin retired. It would have been Laurie who made the deal to open a facility in Norwood, but instead of moving the entire company out of Boston, as Cushing and Berwick & Smith had done, E. Fleming & Company continued to maintain their Boston plant. After the death of Laurie, Charles T. Baker became managing partner, and was soon joined by Edwin Fleming’s grandsons, Charles and Samuel Fleming. Charles Fleming ended up running the Norwood facility while Samuel Fleming ran the Boston facility. Around 1920, the company was split in half and Charles changed the name of his half to “C.B. Fleming & Co.”

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