50 Years Of In-Plant Graphics

The first issue of Offset Duplicator Review, January 1951.

August 1971 issue of Reproductions Review. Love that '70s green.

Now it's Reproductions Review & Methods. Catchy.

In-Plant Reproductions: Finally, a name that rolls right off the tongue.

In-Plant Graphics has been helping managers thrive for 50 years—ever since its inception as a 32-page digest called Offset Duplicator Review.

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—50 years ago this month—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.

Half a century 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 Graphics 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 of Offset Duplicator Review, January 1951.

The first issue of Offset Duplicator Review, January 1951.

The First Issue

By today’s standard’s Caruzzi’s debut issue wasn’t much—just a 32-page, 6×9˝ 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 51⁄4×8˝ 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

August 1971 issue of Reproductions Review. Love that '70s green.

August 1971 issue of Reproductions Review. Love that ’70s green.

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.

Plain Facts

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.

New Owner

Now it's Reproductions Review & Methods. Catchy.

Now it’s Reproductions Review & Methods. Catchy.

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

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