Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. photographsCreation: 1942-1987
Leonard W. Walton (1911-2005) was a printing industry executive with Milprint, Inc., which specialized in printing packaging materials, between 1936 and 1976. This collection of photographs related to Milprint, Inc was collected by Leonard W. Walton. A majority of the photographs show Milprint employees attending events, banquets, and dinners, including Quarter Century Club celebrations.
- Creation: 1942-1987
0.25 Linear Feet
General Physical Description
81 photographic prints : b&w ; 8 x 10 in. or smaller. 15 photographic prints : color ; 4 x 5 in.
Leonard W. Walton (1911-2005) was a printing industry executive with Milprint, Inc., which specialized in printing packaging materials, between 1936 and 1976. Walton was born on May 14, 1911, grew up in Chicago and spent a part of his youth in China, returning to the U.S. in 1936. Through a friend, the nephew of a candy company executive, Walton obtained a job at the Milwaukee Printing Company, later Milprint, Inc., already famous as a printer of candy bar wrappers. He was transferred to the east in 1944 as assistant manager of the Philadelphia plant, and was later manager of plants at Christiana, Pennslyvania, (1947) and at Downingtown (1954). He retired in 1976 and died at Lititz, Pennslyvania on December 25, 2005.
Milwaukee Printing Company, later Milprint, Inc. specialized in printing packaging materials. The Milwaukee Printing Company was founded by Max T. (“M. T.” or “Popsy”) Heller (1877-1949) as a small family job shop with five employees in 1899. The following year he was joined by his younger brother William (“Billy”) Heller (1885-1962), who first worked as a typesetter and press operator but later took charge of sales. The brothers developed a method of printing on glassine paper in 1908, and this led to their specializing in printing and lithography for packaging materials. Glassine paper was first used to create the individually-wrapped nickel candy bar, and the company eventually printed 90 percent of the candy wrappers used in the United States. The Hellers were also first to develop printing on cellophane in 1919, a business that surpassed but did not supplant glassine paper after DuPont began the domestic manufacture of cellophane in the 1920s. By the middle of that decade, the company had also developed printing on aluminum foil, thereby covering the whole range of disposable packaging materials.
The Heller brothers were able to get in at the beginnings of the mass marketing and distribution of foodstuffs and other home consumer goods, when individual sealed wrappings carried the connotations of safety and purity and of being “untouched by human hands.” In 1930, they moved into eastern markets by purchasing the John M. Driver Company at Philadelphia. A Los Angeles plant followed in 1934. In line with its new national scope, the company was renamed Milprint, Inc., in 1936. The company had it own design and art staffs to assist customers in improving the packaging and sales appeal of their products. The Heller brothers also developed Trans-Vision, a system of printing on multiple layers of transparent sheets that was used to display successive slices through complex machinery or human and animal anatomy.
During World War II, Milprint produced wrappings for military rations and for airplane engines and other easily-damaged materiel on their way to the war zones. After the war, the company benefited from the growing use of convenience foods. It purchased the Nicolet Paper Corporation, long one of its suppliers of glassine paper, in 1946 and developed a means of printing on extensible polyethylene in 1947. After “Popsy’s” death in 1949, Billy Heller became president, and in 1952, chairman of the board. Billy developed a network of over twenty foreign licensees and organized the Milprint International Company and the Milprint Overseas Corporation in 1954.
In 1957, Billy Heller retired from active management and sold the company to Philip Morris Incorporated, becoming honorary chairman for life. It continued to operate under its own name as Philip Morris’s largest non-tobacco unit and was sold to the Bemis Company, Inc., in 1990. Milprint, Inc., continues in business as part of Bemis’s Banner Packaging Division.
Scope and Content
This collection of photographs related to Milprint, Inc was collected by Leonard W. Walton. A majority of the photographs show Milprint employees attending events, banquets, and dinners, including Quarter Century Club celebrations; few individuals are identified, though Walton himself is pictured and identified. There are some photographs of Milprint plants in Christiana, Pennsylvania and Downingtown, Pennsylvania, as well as interior and exterior views of the United Container Company [presumably located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania]. In addition, the collection contains a small number of aircraft-related photographs, apparently showing packing and shipping containers for aircraft parts.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. records (Accession 2430), Manuscripts and Archives Department, Hagley Museum and Library.
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Leonard W. Walton collection of Milprint, Inc. photographs
- Judy Stevenson and encoded by Karen Hansen
- Description rules:
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description:
- Script of description: