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Merger Rumors

 

The Inland Printer 09:44–45, October 1891

Note that comments by Phinney contradict both Rogers and an “official of one of the largest typefoundries in Chicago.” Was the Mr. Brower (New York) named by Rogers related to the president of Union TF (Chicago)?

Headings, paragraph spacing and punctuation of the following were edited for improved legibility and comprehension. The original may be viewed here.

The Typefounders’ Trust

To the Editor: Boston, Mass. | September 8, 1891 (Submitted by C.F.W.)

The newspapers this afternoon printed a dispatch from the Exposition City1Future site of the Columbian Exposition: Chicago, May–October 1893. to the effect that a deal would be completed within the next twenty-four hours, whereby a trust would be formed, representing $18,000.000 in original sureties.

It is to be a typefounders’ trust, backed by an English syndicate. All the typefounders, the dispatch said, of any consequence in America are in the deal, with the exception of one establishment in Chicago2BBS did not join ATF until 1911. and perhaps two concerns in New York.3The Bruce TF joined ATF in 1901; the Farmer, in 1909. The smallest concerns are to be squeezed out of existence.

Joseph Warren Phinney, Boston

This was shown to J.W. Phinney, of the Dickinson typefoundry of this city, who used some vigorous language when talking about the matter. He denied that any trust would be able to get control of the typefoundries in the United States and did not know anything about the English syndicate. He then went on to say:

“We notice that about all the reported combinations of typefoundries come from Chicago, and we have thought it probable that with poor business pressing upon a concern, this concern takes this method to get a general advertising gratuitously. The public has had so many of these reports that have never materialized that it is hardly worth any paper’s time and space to give this dispatch any extended consideration.

“We can quickly tell all we know about this so-called biggest of big deals. First, no deal has been completed for a trust. Second, no deal representing a trust will ever be completed in twenty-four hours or ever. Third, no trust has ever been thought of or considered.

“The truth and the whole truth of the matter is that in view of the large losses under which type has been manufactured and sold for the past two years, some year or more ago a meeting of the typefounders of the United States was held in New York.4Actually, it was in September–October 1886—five years earlier. 5The Inland Printer reported that delegates representing “20 of the largest and best” attended.

“As a result of that meeting, a committee was appointed to devise some method for the general betterment of the business and to place it upon a secure and permanent foundation. In the report of this committee it was proposed to form one corporation for the purchase of all the typefoundry plants and businesses.

“The meeting accepted the report, discharged the committee and up to the present time no corporation has been formed, no application for one has been made and not a dollar has been promised or secured for such a purpose. That it is the one way out of the present business trouble all believe, but it is a big operation to successfully develop and complete, and no financial Moses has as yet appeared.”

Daniel W. Rogers, Boston

Mr. [Daniel W.] Rogers, of the Boston typefoundry, said there was some truth in the story of a type trust. He said:

“I do not know who the English capitalists are behind this move, but the whole affair is being managed by a New York broker, C. De H. Brower (more below), of 10 Wall Street. He offered options which expired August 1, and which promised to be a good thing for the founders who might enter the combine.

“Our firm signed the agreement, but the whole matter fell through. Mr. Brower is now offering new options, but whether we will enter it now I do not know. We are holding it under advisement. I fancy there may have been greater difficulty in raising the necessary capital in England than the original projectors expected there would be.

“There are perhaps fifteen or twenty typefoundries in the United States of considerable importance. I should say $18,000,000 was an excessively high figure to value them at. Seven or eight millions would come nearer to it. It is all nonsense, however, that there is any combination contemplated that will squeeze the small concerns out of business.”

This is what the two big Boston type concerns think about the matter. The wide divergence of facts and opinions are given not only for the information of your Chicago readers, where the news originated, but also for their amusement as well.

—C.F.W.

Editorial Addendum

We subjoin an extract from The Chicago Tribune of September 8, giving the result of an interview with an official in one of the largest typefoundries in Chicago, which though almost a repetition of the matter above given, will not be without interest:

Anonymous TF Spokesman, Chicago

“I am not fully posted as to the recent developments, but it was originally intended that the English syndicate should advance $4,000,000 in cash. For this it was to get practical control of the combination. The owners of the foundries in the trust were to get this money, which represents two-thirds of the cash value of their plants. Then the foreign stockholders were to get the preferred stock of the trust, amounting to $4,000,000.

“Part of the common stock was to go to the original holders of the foundries. In addition to this they were to get two-thirds of the bonds to be issued, amounting to $6,000,000, these bonds to bear six per cent interest. The preferred stock was also to bear six per cent interest, and after this was paid the capital stock holders were to take whatever remained of the earnings.

“If this amounted to more than six per cent, the preferred and capital stock were to participate equally up to the amount of eight per cent. If any remained over and above this, it was to go to the holders of the capital stock. There may have been a few minor changes made in this, but I hardly think so. The amount of the whole deal is that the Americans are to take the minority of the stock and in a general way be retained as managers.

“The ultimate aim is to advance prices. Of the twenty-three6Twenty-three is the number of US TFs that joined ATF in 1892. BBS, Farmer, Bruce, Lindsay, Hansen, Hawks & Shattuck|Pacific States, Keystone and perhaps others declined. typefoundries in the United States, I don’t think more than four or five have been making any money. The balance-sheets of some of the largest and oldest concerns in the East have shown a loss for years. This, of course, is what induced the formation of the trust.”

—Editor (The Inland Printer)

Coincidence or Family Networking?

Arthur T.H. Brower was president of Union TF (Chicago), which owned the Manhattan TF (New York). He and John Marder proposed the ATF merger to William B. MacKellar (son of Thomas MacKellar, retired from MSJ), whose endorsement of their plan convinced most others to join the ATF merger.7Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editor]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index] (1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, page 231. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE. Bower was appointed the first secretary of the corporation; Marder, Western General Manager.8Bullen, H.L. [pen-name Quadrat] (1906-1908): Discursions of a Retired Printer. In The Inland Printer 39:513–519, July 1907. Was he related to C. De H. Brower, the broker identified by Rogers?

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1. Future site of the Columbian Exposition: Chicago, May–October 1893.
2. BBS did not join ATF until 1911.
3. The Bruce TF joined ATF in 1901; the Farmer, in 1909.
4. Actually, it was in September–October 1886—five years earlier.
5. The Inland Printer reported that delegates representing “20 of the largest and best” attended.
6. Twenty-three is the number of US TFs that joined ATF in 1892. BBS, Farmer, Bruce, Lindsay, Hansen, Hawks & Shattuck|Pacific States, Keystone and perhaps others declined.
7. Annenberg, M.; Saxe, S.O. [Editor]; Lieberman, E.K. [Index] (1994): Type Foundries of America and Their Catalogs, page 231. Oak Knoll Press, New Castle, DE.
8. Bullen, H.L. [pen-name Quadrat] (1906-1908): Discursions of a Retired Printer. In The Inland Printer 39:513–519, July 1907.