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Walter Scott & Company records

1876-1929
 Collection
Identifier: 1308

Abstract

The Walter Scott & Company was a major manufacturer of printing presses, particularly the large high-speed presses and folding machines used by newspapers. The records include correspondence of the company founder, Walter Scott (1844-1907) both in Chicago and Plainfield. Business papers include some material relating to patents, and statements, reports, contracts, payroll summary sheets, price lists and legal papers dating from the period of his widow Isabella Scott's (1851-1931) management. It is a fragmentary collection covering various aspects of the history of the firm and not a comprehensive record.

Dates

  • 1876-1929

Creator

Extent

0.5 Linear Feet

Historical note

The Walter Scott & Company was a major manufacturer of printing presses, particularly the large high-speed presses and folding machines used by newspapers.

In 1884, Walter Scott (1844-1907) moved his printing press manufacturing business from Chicago to Plainfield, New Jersey, taking over the lot previously used by New Jersey's Central Baseball Club. By 1903, Walter Scott & Company covered five acres of downtown Plainfield. The large brick buildings were connected to each other by a narrow-guage railroad.

Scott operated the largest printing press manufacturing firm in the United States, and perhaps the world. In 1893, the New York World installed the first color press in America adapted to newspaper printing, which was built by Scott's Company in Plainfield.

When Scott died in 1907, his widow, Isabella Scott operated the business until her death in 1931, at which time their son David J. Scott took over. The firm was sold to the Wood Newspaper Machinery Corproation on March 14, 1957.

Walter Scott was born in Ayr, Scotland on May 22, 1844 to David Scott (1812-1907) and Margaret Ritchie (1823-1891), and was educated at Ayr Academy. He studied theoretical and applied mechanics and learned the machinist trade He came to America in 1869 and settled in Chicago, where he began developing printing and paper-folding machinery. He was employed in several printing offices, and was for many years foreman of the pressrooms of the Inter-Ocean. He received his first patent in 1874, and in the same year he built the first folding machine to be combined with a rotary printing press for the Chicago Inter-Ocean.

Scott relocated to Plainfield, New Jersey in 1884 and constructed a plant to his own specifications. He developed the straight-line printing and folding machine in 1890, and by 1903 he held 200 patents.

Scott married Isabella Boyd (1851-1931) and they had Walter James (1882-1883), David (1883-1970), Isabella (1884-1970), and Walter C. (1889-1964). He died September 14, 1907.

Scope and Contents

The records comprise a fragmentary collection of 150 items covering various aspects of the history of the Walter Scott & Company. The records include correspondence of Scott both in Chicago and Plainfield. Business papers include some material relating to patents, and statements, reports, contracts, payroll summary sheets, price lists and legal papers dating from the period of Isabella Scott's management. There are also newpaper clippings relating to World War I contracts for guns. Perhaps the most interesting item is a short typescript history of three leading printing machinery companies: R. Hoe & Company of New York, the Goss Printing Press Company of Chicago, and Walter Scott & Co. There is also an obituary of Scott and a short history of the company, both from the Inland Printer.

Access Restrictions

No restrictions on access; this collection is open for research.

Language of Materials

English


Additional Information

Related Names

Creator

Finding Aid & Administrative Information

Title:
Walter Scott & Company records
Status:
Author:
John Beverley Riggs
Date:
1975
Description rules:
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description:
English
Script of description:
Latin

Revision Statements

  • 2021: Ashley Williams

Repository Details

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscripts and Archives Repository

Contact:
PO Box 3630
Wilmington Delaware 19807 USA
302-658-2400