Wiebking-Hardinge & Ludlow Pantographs

The Most Important Unknown Pantographs in America

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There are several CircuitousRoot Notebooks which deal with matters related to Wiebking, Hardinge, and their work. These Notebooks will, necessarily, duplicate much material among them:

One should also be familiar at least in general terms with the history and significance of the Ludlow Typograph Company.

This present Notebook on the Wiebking-Hardinge/Ludlow pantographs presents the most comprehensive of these various accounts, from Wiebking's father's machine in Prussia in the 1870s through the surviving ex-Ludlow pantographs in the 21st century. It is becoming a bit unwieldy, but given the great obscurity of this information and the difficulty in discovering it, there is some satisfaction in putting it all in one place.

1. Introduction

The pantographic matrix and punch engraving machines developed by Robert Wiebking and Henry H. Hardinge (along with further machines at the Ludlow Typograph Company) are among the great (nearly) lost technological items of printing history. They are certainly among the most important typographical pantographs ever, but almost nothing is known about them.

They were developed out of a 19th century German pantograph made in Berlin and brought to the US by Herman Wiebking. This machine was developed by his son Robert Wiebking, in partnership with Henry H. Hardinge (co-founder of the great Hardinge lathe company), into one or more very successful machines in the early 1890s. Despite their roots in the 1870s, these pantograph engraving machines were not the first in America to engrave typographical matrices (that distinction belongs to the Central Type Foundry Pantograph, in 1882). Neither were they the first pantographs used to engrave patrices in typemetal or punches in steel ( Benton's first machine was doing this by 1884). Nor was Wiebking the first independent matrix engraver in America (the Schroeder & Werner partnership of 1888 was producing well-known types while Wiebking was still an apprentice).

However, these machines allowed Wiebking to become the premier independent matrix and punch engraver in America from 1894 to his death in 1927. During this time he engraved many of Goudy's early types, and Bruce Rogers' Centaur. Wiebking was also persuaded to provide these machines to the Ludlow Typograph Company, and as such they were responsible for the creation of most of the display type - measured pound for pound - of the 20th century. Much of the look of print from the 1890s to the 1980s was created with these machines. Yet Wiebking kept them secret (and required the Ludlow company to do so as well). They were never documented, and have almost entirely vanished from the historical record.

2. Robert Wiebking

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(See [Werner 1932] for source.)

Robert Wiebking was born in Schwelm, Westphalia (in what was then the Kingdom of Prussia) in 1870. His family moved to Chicago when he was 11, in 1881. His father, Herman Wiebking, was an engraver. Though, like many immigrant children, he began work in a relatively simple occupation (basket weaving), he apprenticed as an engraver at the firm of C. H. Hanson (Chicago) from 1884 to 1892 (ages 14 to 22, approximately). See the Notebook on Robert Wiebking for further biographical details.

At this time there was also an H. C. Hansen Type Foundry in Boston, but I do not believe that this was related to C. H. Hanson in Chicago. Several ads for C. H. Hanson appear in, for example, 1885 numbers of The Current (a Chicago-based publication). These list C. H. Hanson, 36 Clark St., Chicago as suppliers of "STAMPS: Brass, Steel and Rubber Stamps, Numbering Machines, Pool Checks, Baggage Checks." [Hanson 1885]

So although we don't know the details of Wiebking's education as an engraver, we do know that from an early period of his apprenticeship his master/employer was offering brass and steel stamps for sale. It is but a short step from this to typemetal patrices and steel punches for matrix work. (Note also that Wiebking himself was advertising "steel stamps" for sale in a Chicago city directory of 1900. [Chicago Directory 1900].)

3. Herman Wiebking's Engraving Machine

Robert Wiebking said that his father used an engraving machine of some kind at least as early as 1875. [Werner 1932] Robert Wiebking's brother, Adolf Wiebking, wrote to Robert Wiebking's son Robert P. Wiebking:

"My father's [Herman Wiebking's] original engraving machine was made by somebody in Berlin, possibly during 1870 or even before, for it was in his house as far back as I can remember. We children were never permitted to touch it, and it was carefully covered up when not in use. I made wax seals on this very same machine when only fourteen years old.

"My father cut matrices and cast up metal letters in 1878 to 1880, before he came to the United States. He cast or pressed the letters by means of a hand-press and a ladle in a rather primitive way. In this manner he made beautiful type faces and borders without the regular height type bodies. He milled the under side of the letters on a lathe and thus made letters for small metal door signs. He had constructed a somewhat complicated frame with holders and coil springs, and soldered the letters onto a metal base. The background was filled in with asphalt varnish, then dried, and the top of letters and borders polished.

"They were fancy letters and borders and made beautiful door signs. So far so good. The theory was all right, but I think he had trouble with soldering the letters onto the base plate, or it may be that he did not get enough orders."

(From [Werner 1932], p. 73)

Robert Wiebking also told Werner that "his father engraved a matrix, in 1882, from which type was cast by Marder, Luse & Company of Chicago" ( [Werner 1932], p. 71). Nothing more is known of this, however, and it is unlikely that anything came of it. Robert Wiebking would have been 12 at the time and working as a basket weaver.

So it would seem that machine engraving was a part of the Wiebking household from Robert Wiebking's infancy, but it is unlikely that Herman Wiebking's machine or methods were sufficient for practical typographical matrix engraving. We know nothing of the technical details of Herman Wiebking's machine. We can only guess that it was indeed a rotary pantograph engraving machine and that it was a horizontal machine of the four-bar linkage type. The "Central Type Foundry" machine, which was also made in Germany prior to 1880, was of this type. There is no evidence other than proximity of time and place to link Herman Wiebking's machine to the Central machine, however.

R. Hunter Middleton notes that Herman Wiebking died "in the late [eighteen]eighties". [Middleton 1937] Robert Wiebking was at that time still an apprentice at C. H. Hanson.

4. Henry H. Hardinge

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Obscure as his history is, Robert Wiebking seems like a celebrity compared to his business partner Henry H. Hardinge - yet Hardinge co-founded one of the best known precision machine tool manufacturers in America (and now nearly the only remaining one) and was for a time a relatively frequent writer on political issues. He is almost certainly the Henry Hutchins Hardinge who was born in 1863 in Warkworth, Ontario, Canada and who died in 1946 in Chicago. In 1890 he founded Hardinge Brothers (now the Hardinge Group), but left that firm in 1895 (or possibly around 1900). See the Notebook on Henry H. Hardinge for more biographical information.

Hardinge appears to have begun collaborating with Robert Wiebking around 1894 (while still at Hardinge Brothers, apparently). Their partnership was formally established in 1896 and incorporated in 1901. [Advance 1913]

The only biographical account of Hardinge is a brief article which appeared in the journal The Public in 1909. [Public 1909] It contains the following passage relevant to his skill as a machinist:

"He has built practicable engines so small that you could weigh them on a letter scale, and others so large that a side-show giant could walk through the cylinder without bending his body or touching his head. He has bored a tiny hole lengthwise through a bar of steel of a diameter of only 75-ten thousandths of an inch, has then split the bar into three sections and having ground the hole with diamond dust so as to make it central, round and true, has finally put the sections together again, therefore making a commercially perfect tube of a diameter equal to about three hairs of the human head. It may well be believed that work like this, for commercial purposes, requires extreme patience, exquisite precision, marvelous skill, and the ability incidentally to dream out and to work out both fairy-like and giagantic mechanical implements." (1183)

The article continues, noting that he spent 10 years with Hardinge Brothers (this would put his departure from that firm at 1900, which fits the date for the incorporation of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co., but differs from the date of 1895 given in other sources on the history of this Hardinge company).

The article has this to say of his work with Wiebking:

"He has for the past 10 years been engaged, in collaboration with Robert Wiebking, an engraver, upon inventions calculated to revolutionize the manufacture of printers' types. This art, underlying what old printers like to call 'the art preservative of all arts,' is particularly exacting. Of all the implements of the printer, types rank first for indispensability, perishability, and cost; and their production, delicate and difficult even in its secondary processes, demands microscopic accuracy in the primary work of matrix-making. Almost any one acquainted with printing may guess the difficulties of revolutionizing this industry by radical invention, but only a type founder thoroughly familiar with the art can have an adequate idea of the magnitude of the task, now accomplished by Mr. Hardinge and his collaborator, so many and varied were the nice technical problems involved and so intricate their relations to one another." (1183)

Nothing is known of the degree to which he contributed to the Wiebking pantographs. Hardinge was an engineer, however, not an engraver (no matrix engraving work has been credited to him). It is reasonable to assume that he did contribute to the Wiebking pantographs, and therefore also reasonable to call them "Wiebking-Hardinge" machines.

In the period from around 1907 through around 1911, Hardinge was occupied with the development of a typecasting machine. The patents for this machine were all filed in his name, without any mention of Wiebking. (They were, however, assigned to Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. and were almost certainly the machines used in their Advance Type Foundry.)

5. Wiebking-Hardinge Pantograph, 1894

[Werner 1932] says that Wiebking "started in business on his own in 1893, having made connections with the Crescent Type Foundry and the Independent Type Foundry. The Crescent Type Foundry was a very small firm in Chicago that is attested from 1895 to 1900 (this would make Werner's note about Wiebking's association with it the earliest known reference to it). No other record exists of a firm by the name of the "Independent Type Foundry." Note that this does not imply that Wiebking began using a pantograph engraving machine in 1893. He had just trained for eight years as a hand engraver, and would have been perfectly competent in engraving both patrices in typemetal for electrolytic matrix making and punches in steel for punching matrices. We simply know nothing of his business in 1893.

R. Hunter Middleton, the chief type designer for Ludlow and the other main source we have for information on Wiebking, said that Wiebking "was ready to accept commissions for engraving punches or matrices" two years after leaving his apprenticeship with C. H. Hanson. [Middleton 1937] This would have been 1894. This date corresponds to the one given in the 1913 trade notice for the Advance Type Foundry [Advance 1913]. It is also interesting that Middleton mentions matrices specifically. With a very few exceptions which are not relevant here (such as the early 19th century "Sanspareil" matrices), matrices were never cut by hand. This implies that by 1894 the Wiebking-Hardinge engraving machine was functional.

We know nothing of the technical details of this machine, but it is probably safe to presume that it resembled the later machines used by Ludlow. These were horizontal-format four-bar pantograph rotary engraving machines. No record survives of the unusual acoustic device present on the later Ludlow machines; it may or may not have been present on the early Wiebking-Hardinge machines.

Middleton also says "It is not generally known, but a fact, that Robert Wiebking developed an engraving machine of his own design, the model of which was brought to America by his father in 1881. This machine was protected behind the walls of his shop [i.e., through trade secrecy] rather than by patents." It is interesting that by 1937, at the height of its use by Ludlow - when you could not read a daily newspaper without seeing its product - the Wiebking-Hardinge pantograph was unknown.

6. R. Wiebking & Co.; 358 Dearborn

So Werner [Werner 1932] tells us that Wiebking started on his own in business in 1893, and the 1913 press release from Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. [Advance 1913] says that they established a "partnership" in 1894. This "partnership" does not seem to have had both their names attached to it, however.

The earliest record I can find regarding Robert Wiebking is an entry in the "Mortgages and Trust Deeds" section of The Economist (a Chicago publication, not the London magazine) from 1896 indicating that he took out a loan:

"Christenson N to R Wiebking, April 13, lt 33, b 4, b 2, 19, 40, 14, 3 years, 6 per cent 1,000"

I do not fully understand the notation here, but it is clear that he borrowed $1,000 for three years at 6 percent. This could of course have been for a house, but with a term of three years I think that it is more likely that it was a loan for his business. [Wiebking Loan 1896]

The earliest record I have found so far for Wiebking's business as such is in the report for 1899 of the State Factory Inspectors of Illinois. This lists, in the category of "Printing and Publishing," "Wiebking, R. & Co." at 358 Dearborn Street [Chicago] with four employees (all male and over the age of 16). [Illinois Factory 7th]. (These reports commenced in 1893. Wiebking does not appear in the 1893 first report, the 1895 third report, or the 1897 fifth report. The second (1894), fourth (1896), and sixth (1898) reports have not yet been digitized by Google. Of course, these reports list only those factories which were inspected in that year; an absence from a report tells us nothing.)

358 Dearborn Street is the address before the 1911 renumbering of downtown Chicago streets of the Pontiac Building (now at 542 South Dearborn).

In the Eighth report of the factory inspectors (for 1900), the listing is the same. [Illinois Factory 8th].

Turning briefly to a different resource, the 1900 edition of the Chicago Directory Company's city directory lists: "Wiebking R. & Co. (Robert Wiebking) engravers, steel stamps, etc. 358 Dearborn." [Chicago Directory 1900].

In the Ninth factory inspectors' report (for 1901), R. Wiebking & Co. is listed at 358 Dearborn St. with six employees (all male and over the age of 16). But for the first time they are listed in the "Metal Working Trades" section rather than the "Printing and Publishing" section. [Illinois Factory 9th].

With the 10th report (1902), however, there is a significant change. The address is still 358 Dearborn, but the name of the business is "Wiebking, Hardinge & Co." So if the 1913 Advance Type Foundry press release which dates this incorporation to 1901 is correct, then it would have occurred at some point in 1901 after the state factory inspector visited. For 1902, they have an increase in staff (seven employees, still all male and over 16) and a slight change of business: "Metal novelties." [Illinois Factory 10th].

7. 1227 West Newport Avenue

The final major change documented by these factory inspector reports is recorded in the combined Eleventh and Twelfth reports for the years 1903-1904. (This was a combined report because the inspectors were overloaded with work; it did not appear until 1906.) It is unfortunate for the present study that this report covers two years, because it shows the relocation of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. from 358 Dearborn to 1227 Newport Avenue. They are now producing "Automatic machinery" with twelve employees (seven male and five female, all over 16). [Illinois Factory 11th & 12th].

In the May 26, 1904 number of American Machinist, Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. (1227 Newport) placed a short classified ad (in the "Miscellaneous Wants" section) advertising "Unusual facilities for accurate work, dies, tools and special machinery." [American Machinist 1904-05-26].

In the Thirteenth annual report, for 1905, Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. are at 1227 Newport Avenue as a "Machine shop" engaged in manufacturing. Staff is up: 13 male and 4 female employees, all over 16). [Illinois Factory 13th].

The Fourteeth through Seventeenth annual reports have not yet been digitized. Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. do not appear in the 18th (for 1910, though not published until 1914). As noted earlier, though, absence from a report indicates nothing.

The 1909-1910 Illinois Biennial Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts lists Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. at 1227 W. Newport. [Illinois Auditor 1910].

8. 1131-33 West Newport Avenue

The streets of Chicago outside of the Loop were renumbered in 1909 (the Loop was renumbered in 1911). 1227 Newport Avenue became 1133 Newport Avenue (and 1229 became 1131). So in 1909, their building at 1227 Newport became 1133 Newport.

It isn't yet clear to me whether they also occupied the building at 1229 (old style) / 1131 (new style) at this time. However, by 1913 we have evidence they did. The 1913 account of its sale to Western Type Foundry [Wiebking, Hardinge Sale 1913] and the 1919 account of its repurchase by Robert Wiebking [Wiebking Repurchase 1919] describe the property as a 50 x 124 foot lot with a north facing street frontage. It occupied two street addresses (1131 and 1133) on West Newport Avenue. The 1913 notice is clear that it is between Racine and Seminary Avenues.

A modern aerial view of this location indicates that it is three blocks south of Wrigley Field and just to the east of a now built-in rail corridor. Google Streetview shows mid-to-late 20th century residential construction; no trace of the Wiebking plant survives.

The abandoned railway corridor just to the west of this location requires a further look, especially in light of the later suggestion (not yet confirmed) of the destruction of Wiebking's premises in later freeway construction . Here is (West) Newport Avenue as showin in an 1897-1899 Rand McNally map of Chicago [Rand McNally 1897]:

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Modern Google and Rand McNally maps put 1131-33 West Newport Avenue just about where the 'M' in "C.M.&S.P." is on this 1897 map. We know also that this must be the West Newport Avenue on which the Wiebking-Hardinge plant was located because the notice of the 1913 sale to the Western Type Foundry says specifically that it is between Racine and Seminary. [Wiebking, Hardinge Sale 1913] This fits the map well; this would have been 1227 (pre-renumbering), and this is the 1200 block of Newport Avenue.

What is now Wrigley Field (built 1913) is to the northwest of Clark where the (now former) C.M.&S.P. rail lines cross Clark and turn north. Perhaps more relevantly, the great Oswald ("Oz") Cooper resided for many years at 1201 Addison, also about three blocks away. [Ozbuk]

The rail corridor which crosses Newport at a diagonal is that of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway ("the Milwaukee Road") line to Lakeview and Evanston. This was opened in 1885. The section of track of interest here begins running north on what was then Herndon (now Lakeview) and then runs diagonally from Belmont (at Lakeview) to the intersection of Addison and Clark. Along the way, it crosses Newport just to the west of the presumed location of the Wiebking, Hardinge plant.

In 1908, Chicago 'L' service was extended along these tracks to Evanston and joint freight operations (between the 'L' and the Milwaukee Road) began. In 1920, the 'L' took over the freight operations directly. Beginning in 1973 and through 1984 (by which time service extended only as far north as Belmont Ave.) the Lakewood branch was gradually abandoned. [Chicago 'L' Freight]

See 1131-33 West Newport, Later history for the further history of this location.

9. Setting Up Ludlow (1909 - ca. 1917)

The Ludlow Typograph Machine began as a proposal by Washington Irving Ludlow for a matrix-bar style of casting machine entirely unrelated to the Ludlow as we know it. This machine was completed (at least five were built by 1909), but it was abandoned. It was re-engineered under the direction of the the head of the Ludlow company, William A. Reade, into the machine which came to dominate display linecasting in the 20th century. By January 1911 the new machine was demonstrated in public.

The Ludlow company began in Cleveland but a factory was established in Chicago in 1909. (The general offices remained in Cleveland for some period of time, but at some point the entire company moved to Chicago.) Significantly, the Reade obituary reports that "In 1909, the company established its own factory on the ground floor of the building occupied by the late [in 1930] Robert Wiebking, who had been engraving matrices and later engraved master punches with which the matrices were driven." The better known Ludlow factory on Clybourn Avenue was begun in 1916.

So the Ludlow company had the very good fortune (perhaps not at all accidental) of establishing its first factory in Wiebking's building. From some unknown date through 1913, Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. (and in 1913 their Advance Type Foundry) were in a building on a 50x124 foot lot at 1131-1133 Newport Avenue, Chicago (between Racine and Seminary Avenues). This is three blocks south of Wrigley Field on what is pretty clearly a former railway line (the area, including the railway right-of-way, appears now to have been redeveloped into housing). [Wiebking, Hardinge Sale 1913]

The Reade obituary also notes (p. 12) that "the first single matrices [for the Ludlow] ... were engraved" and demonstrated in 1911. Then "Early in 1912 fonts of single matrices for 36 point Caslon Bold were produced, and late in 1913 matrices for 24 point Caslon Light were completed." (p. 13). Presumably these were made by punching.

So in 1909 the Ludlow Typograph Company set up their factory in the Wiebking, Hardinge building. It is likely (but not completely certain) that he engraved the matrix bars for the original version of the Ludlow. By 1911 Wiebking was engraving individual matrices for them, and by 1912, punches.

The primary source we have for the acquisition by Ludlow of Wiebking pantographs is a brief passage in R. Hunter Middleton's Chicago Letter Founding. [Middleton 1937] Middleton begins:

"The Ludlow Company has managed its punch engraving problems independently for about twenty years." (p. 24)

This is interesting because it may date their acquisition of the Wiebking-Hardinge machines. Middleton was writing in 1937, which would put the establishment of the Ludlow engraving department in about 1917. If this is indeed the case, then it took Reade about eight years to convince Wiebking to sell him one of the machines operating on the next floor up.

Middleton continues:

"During the earlier days of the company's activity, the engraving work followed the pattern which has prevailed throughout this story. [I am not quite certain what he means by this; I would guess he simply means that they contracted out their engraving work.] The Ludlow company also availed itself of the experience and skill of Robert Wiebking. Although Mr. Wiebking had very little faith in the Ludlow method of composition, his attention to the company's early and later engraving problems was never lacking in sincere craftsmanship.

"The relationship between the Ludlow Company and Robert Wiebking grew to be friendly and profitable to both parties. As a result of this association, Robert Wiebking and William A. Reade, the founder and president of the Ludlow Company, until his [Reade's] death in 1929, made an arrangement whereby the Ludlow Company purchased one of Wiebking's engraving machines. This arrangement, together with a brief period of tutelage in engraving methods by Wiebking, launced the Ludlow Company on an independent engraving program. Mr. Wiebking lived to see the Ludlow Company succeed and to find in the 'upstart' a constant and reliable client. It is also gratifying to record that Wiebking continued to do Ludlow engraving work until his death on June 25, 1927." (pp. 24-25)

The only other detail we know of the arrangement between Wiebking and the Ludlow company was that it required a continuation of Wiebking's secrecy concerning the pantograph. In a posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list on 1999-06-30 [Duensing 1999-06-30a], Paul Hayden Duensing wrote:

"The pantographs Ludlow used were originally designed by Wiebking. When Ludlow drew the contract with Wiebking, one stipulation was that they be housed in a special, locked room, to which only the head of the punch-cutting department had the key. The fear of industrial spying was very strong at this time. ..."

Duensing does not state his source, but it may be presumed with relative safety that it was Middleton. (As will be seen below, Middleton gave Duensing a Ludlow pantograph when engraving operations ceased in the U.S.)

No technical information is known from surviving published literature about the Wiebking-Hardinge / Ludlow pantographs. No patents were ever filed. No description or illustration was ever published. To the great dismay of the possessors of the few surviving machines, no operating instructions have ever been discovered. [Further Research]

10. Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. through 1913

The Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. partnership seems to have been a relatively secretive enterprise.

In various numbers of The American Machinist, Vol. 27 (1904), the firm of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. placed a "Miscellaneous Wants" ad advertising "Auto[matic] machinery of all kinds designed and built; hardened and ground work, flat or circular."

They are recorded in the Thirteenth Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois for the year ending Dec. 15, 1905 as operating a "Machine Shop" at 1227 [sic] Newport Ave., Chicago. [Illinois Factory 13th]

In The Chicago Printing Trades Blue Book of 1911, for example, they are not listed.

During this period, Wiebking was well established as a matrix engraver. His client base and the types he engraved are little known, however.

Because of the fame of their designer, the types he engraved for Frederic Goudy have been better documented than most. The Goudy types known to have been engraved by Wiebking generally before the opening of the Advance Type Foundry are:

See the Notebook on Robert Wiebking for further details.

11. Advance Type Foundry

See also the Advance Type Foundry Notebook.

Although it gets the most attention, the Advance Type Foundry of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. had an exceedingly brief existence.

Its startup is difficult to pin down, because it was really just an operating name for Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. It never had its own premises. It it safe to assume that Wiebking engraved the matrices for it and that it used the Hardinge Type-Caster. The earliest known reference to it is an advertisement in The Inland Printer, Vol. 50, No. 4 (January, 1913): 617.

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(From the Hathi Trust / Google digitization of the University of Minnesota copy. Hathi ID umn.319510018987754)

This was followed by a trade note in The Inland Printer in March 1913. [Advance 1913]

Ads appear in The Inland Printer and The American Printer) in Feburary 1913, March 1913, and April 1913. No further ads appear.

Short listings appear in the "Business Directory" section of The Inland Printer for April 1913 and Sept. 1913 for "ADVANCE TYPE FOUNDRY - Highest quality type at moderate prices. WIEBKING, HARDINGE & CO., Props. 1133 Newport av., Chicago."

However, a notice in Printing Trade News, Vol. 45, No. 11 (Sept. 9, 1913), p. 37 which announced the sale of Wiebking, Hardinge & Company's plant to the Western Type Foundry says that "a short time ago [the Advance Type Foundry] was consolidated with the Western Type Foundry."

So it would seem that the Advance Type Foundry as such was in operation from January to no later than September 1913, and that it was sold as a business independently of the Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. plant to the Western Type Foundry by September 1913.

12. The Sale of the Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. Plant

The sale of the Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. plant at 1131-1133 West Newport to the Western Type Foundry occurred separately from, and slightly after, their sale of the Advance Type Foundry business to the Western. [Wiebking, Hardinge Sale 1913]

For the physical disposition of this plant and Wiebking's role in it (it stayed in the same place, and he stayed in it), see the next section.

I am aware of no information concerning Hardinge's activities after this point. He was issued a patent (US 1,131,643) for a composing machine in 1915, but that patent had been filed in 1910. It was assigned to Josiah Cratty, a Chicago lawyer with various business interests, but there is no record of its production.

13. Western Type Foundry, "Wiebking Branch"

By late 1913 the Western Type Foundry had acquired the Advance Type Foundry and the manufacturing plant of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co.

The relationship between Wiebking and Western during this period can be seen in a trade note which appeared in The Inland Printer Vol. 62, No. 4 (February, 1919): 573. It says:

"The engraving business of Wiebking, Hardinge & Co., established by Robert Wiebking in 1896, and which has been operated for the past five years as a branch of the Western Type Foundry, has been purchased by Mr. Wiebking. As sole owner, Mr. Wiebking will continue the business under the name of the Wiebking Engraving Company. The plant and offices are at 1113 Newport Avenue, Chicago.

So it would seem that Robert Wiebking simply continued working as an egraver at the same Newport Avenue location in Chicago throughout the Advance and Western periods and on into the 1920s.

Other than the faces he engraved for Western, the work done by Wiebking during the 1913-1918 period is not entirely clear. He did engrave two Goudy designs in 1914: Klaxon (for Goudy directly) and Goudy Roman. Goudy says that Goudy Roman was engraved for Barnhart Brothers & Spindler. This suggests that Wiebking was engaged in work not only independently from Western but for competing foundries. [Goudy 1946]

In 1918, the Western Type Foundry was purchased by Barnhart Brothers & Spindler (who were then owned by ATF but operating as an independent foundry). At around that time, Wiebking re-purchased its engraving busines (see "Wiebking Engraving Company," below). It is likely, therefore, that the Wiebking-Hardinge pantographs were kept by Wiebking during the period when he operated as "a branch" of the Western Type Foundry and that they never passed to BB&S. The fate of Hardinge's typecasters is unknown.

14. Wiebking Engraving Company, From 1918

14.1. Wiebking Repurchase

On January 6, 1919, Robert Wiebking repurchased his premises at 1131-33 Newport Avenue, Chicago, from the Western Type Foundry. It is significant that this purchase was from Western, not from BB&S, because that indicates that Wiebking's machinery never went to BB&S (or its owners at that time, ATF). [Wiebking Repurchase 1919]

14.2. Business

No complete account of the types engraved by the Wiebking Engraving Company exists. He is no doubt best known for the types he engraved for Goudy during this period (a line of business which ended only when Goudy set up his own engraving operation). These are:

(See the Notebook on Robert Wiebking for further details.)

Wiebking also did general jobbing work in matrix engraving, and supplied the International Typographical Union and the International Sterotypers' and Electrotypers' unions with the matrices for their logos.

A notice appears in the "Reports of Officers to the Sixty-Fifth Session of The International Typographical Union" printed as a Supplement to the Typographical Journal, Vol. 57, No. 2 (August 1920): p. 173 and in The International Sterotypers and Electrotypers Union Journal, Vol. 15, No. 7 (July 1920), p. 38 reporting a price increase by the Wiebking Engraving Company:

"September 19, 1919

"[To] J. W. Hays, Newton Claypool Building, Indianapolis, Inc.:

"Dear Sir - We beg to notify you that all orders for label matrices received after October 1 wil be billed as follows: Allied label mats, $5 each; typographical label mats, $5.50 each.

"Yours very truly

"Wiebking Engraving Company,

"Robert Wiebking"

14.3. Succession of Wiebking's Sons (by 1928)

In a February 17, 1928 letter from George O. Cromwell, Vice President of the Ludlow Typograph Company to the noted designer Bruce Rogers, the following passage occurs:

"I note your postscript for the address of the successors of Robert Wiebking. The business is being carried forward by his two sons, Robert and William, and the plant is in the same location. The title of the company is Wiebking Engraving Company (not incorporated) and the address is 1133 Newport Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. You will probably be interested to know that for several years prior to Mr. Wiebking's death he had these two boys in his factory instructing them in the details of the business and watching their development. Since his death these young men have carried forward the work of the father in a very creditable manner. We are all the time having work done by them and have generally found that the execution of same was very good. Of course the knowledge and skill that Robert Wiebking, Sr. was possessed of made him occupy a class entirely by himself, not so much in detailed execution of manufacture, but in the other details of preparation and general good judgment as to the proper relation of one character with the other. Robert, Sr. was a master and his death is quite a definite loss to those desiring his aid in the development of typefaces. So far as I am informed this is the only free lance engraving plant worthy of any particular confidence. Of course it is not as valuable to designers as it formerly was under the senior's direction, but the young men have been pretty well grounded in their work and I think under competent direction would be able to do for you the things that you would like to have done. If we can be of any assistance to you in this particular, I will be very glad to have you avail yourself of our services." [Rogers PBT]

14.4. Later History

Almost nothing is known of the later history of the Wiebking Engraving Company. A certain amount can be learned by tracing the buildings they were located in, and other firms occupying the same buildings. It would be unwise, however, to attach too much importance to this very sketchy record.

14.4.1. 1131-33 West Newport, Later History

To review: the two lots at 1131-33 West Newport Avenue were occupied by Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. from some point prior to 1913. Ownership passed to the Western Type Foundry in 1913 with the sale of the Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. plant (vs. the sale of the Advance Type Foundry business). Wiebking repurchased this property, as an individual, from the Western Type Foundry on January 6, 1919. Wiebking's two sons, Robert P. and William H., continued the Wiebking Engraving Company business at this location after Robert Wiebking's death in 1927.

At some point by the mid-1940s, the 1133 West Newport address was shared by another company, Allied Products Co. (Allied introduced a rust-removal product, CorOdex, while at this location). [CorOdex PM] Various trade publications cite them at this location through at least 1962. [Hardware Age 1962] While of course it is impossible to prove who owned or leased what, it is not unreasonable to assume that they were leasing space from the Wiebking Engraving Company much as the Ludlow Typograph Company had earlier leased this same space from Wiebking, Hardinge & Co.

The "Wiebking Engraving Company, 1133 Newport Avenue, Chicago" is listed in the Certified List of Domestic and Foreign Corporations of the Illinois Secretary of State in 1951. [Wiebking 1951] Various other listings confirm their activity through this period (do a search through Google Books to find them).

The presence of the Wiebking Engraving Company at 1133 West Newport is attested through at least 1963, in an industrial directory listing for that year. Deciphering the OCR: "Wiebking Engraving Co., 1133 W. Newport Chi 13, LA 5-0979. Owner: Wm. H. Wiebking. Mfg. special type matrices" [CCCID 1963]

By 1968, they had moved to 1158 West Armitage.

14.4.2. 1158 West Armitage

The building at 1158 West Armitage was the last recorded address of the Wiebking Engraving Company. It has its own history, however.

In 1924, the journal Iron Age reported: "The Hedman Manufacturing Company, a manufacturer of check protecting devices, is erecting a three-story factory at 1158-64 Center Street, to cost $105,000." [Iron Age 1924] At some point after that, this portion of Center Street was renamed Armitage Avenue. This is in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.

The earliest reference I have been able to locate which shows the Wiebking Engraving Company at 1158 West Armitage is a listing in the "Chicago, Cook County & Illinois Industrial Directory" for 1968 which shows "Wiebking Engraving Co. 1158 W. Armitage Chi 22. LI 9-2735. Owner: Wm. H. Wiebking. Mfg. special type matrices." [Chicago Directory 1968] (For the very young, "Chi 22" is a pre-ZIP postal code and "LI 9-2735" is an exchange-based telephone number, LIncoln 9-2735. ) Werner's 1932 article on Wiebking notes that he had three children, Robert P., William H., and Frances C., and that "his sons" (presumably Robert P. and William H.) were engravers. [Werner 1932] As the letter from George O. Cromwell to Bruce Rogers, quoted above indicates, Wiebking's two sons took over his business at his death. So it is not unlikely that the William H. Wiebking who owned the Wiebking Engraving Co. in 1968 was Robert Wiebking's son.

The Hedman Company remained at this location through at lest 1990 [Bank Management 1990], so it would be reasonable to presume that the Wiebking Engraving Company was leasing space in it.

I can find no record of the Wiebking Engraving Company after 1968, though of course the absence of data does not mean that it wasn't in operation.

An online search of the "Ancestry.com" website shows an entry for William H. Wiebking in the Cook County, Illinois, Death Index 1908-1988 with a death in 1973. I have not discovered the date of death of his older brother, Robert P. Wiebking.

The property at 1158 W. Armitage was sold in 1997. [Realty & Building 1997] (Note that I have not done a complete search on the history of this building; this is just one snippet. It may or may not have been sold more times than this.)

1158 West Armitage still stands and has been converted into condominums under the name "Hedman Lofts." A look at its exterior via Google Streetview suggests that it probably is the 1924 Hedman factory building. According to an early 2013 check of their website (http://www.dreamtown.com/buildings/Hedman-Lofts.html), units have sold for as much as $450,000.

14.4.3. Possible Highway Issues

In a posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list on 1999-06-30, Paul Hayden Duensing says that Wiebking's premises were destroyed by plans for a freeway. [Duensing 1999-06-30b] Something is missing our knowledge of this phase of its history, however.

On the one hand, Duensing's reputation as a source is beyond question. Moreover, his sources (letters between the Wiebking company or family and the City of Chicago) seem secure.

On the other hand, there is no freeway through 1131-33 Newport Avenue (it is presently occupied by housing). 1158 W. Armitage still stands.

I've done some research online into the various routes proposed for what is now the Kennedy Expressay near these locations, and none of them go east of the Chicago River (both the Newport and Armitage locations are east of the river).

Neither location seems to have been near the various demolitions associated with the decommissioning of Ogden Avenue south of Armitage.

The abandonment of the "L" freight lines on the former Milwaukee Road Lakeview branch, which ran near Wiebking's Newport Avenue plant seems not to have involved redevelopment. [Chicago 'L' Freight]

I have been able to turn up nothing with regard to the demolition of the Wiebking plant at 1131-1133 W. Newport. Neither have I been able to find any evidence of any proposed freeway to Wrigley Field.

So a mystery remains.

15. Matrix Engraving in Steel

In a posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list dated "Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:19:10 -0400", Harold Bratter (Woodside Press) said:

"I understand that Robert Wiebking also developed a method for engraving matrices into steel blanks, something he did for BB&S. Steel mats are virtually indestructable compared to mats engraved into brass.

"At Woodside Press we have matrices for Cooper Oldstyle (alas Roman only), engraved in steel, purportedly by Wiebking."

The existence of steel mats by Wiebking is confirmed by a posting to LETPRESS dated "Mon, 4 Sep 2000 10:54:32 -0700" by Fritz Klinke (NA Graphics), who says:

"Well, [this posting is] not exactly [related to] printing, but my current project of interest is trying to get a suite of 18 point BB&S steel mats electro plated with a covering of copper so we can cast type from them on one of Theo Rehak's ATF Barth casters [at The Dale Guild Type Foundry]. Cut by Robert Wiebking, these mats do not have a deep enough drive to cast type high using existing moulds [for the Dale Guild's Barth casters]. We are adding .010" of copper to the face, and then Theo will mill them down to correct height. This means that the sides and back of the mat, as well as the letter itself, have to remain free of copper. Theo was reluctant to try the plating because it requires the use of a cyanide plating bath, but the plater we use on our historic restoration projects (buildings), routinely plates copper to steel and other metals. We have had him replate steel door hardware, gold plate a zinc weather vane (about 7 feet tall), and other architectural items."

16. A Ghost Machine: Goudy

Paul Hayden Duensing, in a LETPRESS post on 1999-06-30 [Duensing 1999-06-30a] said:

"Goudy's original machine was a Wiebking, but later his newer machine (after the fire?) was similar to the Linotype punchcutters and was manufactured by the Eaton Engravers Machinery Co. of Sag Harbour, Long Island, NY. They sold for a princely sum of $1850."

This is a significant remark because I believe that it is the first nearly-correct identification of Goudy's machines (many sources say, quite incorrectly, that Goudy used a "Benton" machine). However, I believe that I have been able to identify the three matrix engraving pantographs Goudy used (two before the 1939 fire, one after) as rotary engraving pantographs by the Engravers' and Printers' Machinery Co., of Sag Harbor, to a design of William S. Eaton. These machines are single-arm vertical-format pantographs, but they differ significantly from the Linotype (Barr) and Benton vertical machines.

There is no evidence that Goudy at any point obtained a Wiebking or Ludlow pantograph. Goudy himself said that he first saw his pantograph at a trade show ( Goudy. Typologia , p. 111). This was in the early 1920s. Recall that in 1937 the Wiebking-Hardinge / Ludlow machines were still so secret that Middleton had to insist they even existed.

See the "Eaton and Related Pantographs" Notebook and the chapter on "Goudy's E&PM Co. Pantograph" in Making Matrices .

17. Rumors of Ludlow Dispositions

In a posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list in 1999, Paul Hayden Duensing said this of the ex-Ludlow pantographs not distributed by R. Hunter Middleton: "The other pantograph machines were sent to Scotland where Ludlow still cuts punches and mats (including kinds of mats for machines other than Ludlow.) [Duensing 1999-06-30a]

However, I have been able to discover no indication of any Ludlow activity in Scotland.

There is an English connection to late Ludlow manufacturing, though. As John Harrison reports in an article in the ATF Newsletter No. 33 [Harrison ATF 33], the English printing firm Stephen Austin and Sons began matrix engraving on their own from the 1940s on. They employed Taylor-Hobson pantographs at first, and then George H. Alexander pantographs (these were English copies of various models of Friedrich Deckel machines). In what I think would be the 1960s (the article isn't entirely clear, their matrix division (SASMATS) was purchased by Ludlow and became Ludlow Industries (UK). He says that "The existing Ludlow setup in the UK ws transferred from Raynes Park to Hertford [where Austin was located]." (34) The matrix markings from this facility ran, chronologically: "SA&S", "SASMAT", and finally "LUDLOW". Harrison notes that "in the mid 1970s I was appointed president of Ludlow Typograph. The decision ws made to close the Clybourn Avenue factory in Chicago, and to retain a small sales office on the outskirts of Chicago. Production was transferred to Ludlow (UK)." (34)

So it is possible that Duensing meant Hertford (UK), although this is a long way from Scotland.

18. Surviving Ex-Wiebking Pantographs

None are known.

19. Known Ex-Ludlow Pantographs

19.1. The Smithsonian Machine

The 1977 annual volume Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year ending Sept. 30, 1977 (also titled "Smithosinian Year 1977 - Programs and Activities") (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978) [2] contains in its list of donors for that year the following entry:

"Ludlow Typograph Company (through John M. Calhoun): 1 Ludlow Typograph Machine, 1 set of 13 bar type matrices, 4 matrix sticks, 1 12-point mold, 1 bottom trim knife, 1 pantograph engraving machine and 3 depth gauges (319975)." (p. 407)

So the Smithsonian might have a Ludlow-Wiebking pantograph, presumably now in cold storage as they have eliminated their once-famous printing exhibit.

19.2. The Duensing/Rimmer Machine

Paul Hayden Duensing acquired a Ludlow machine. I am not yet certain which of his typefaces he used it for. He in turn gave this machine to Jim Rimmer. [Duensing 1999-06-30a]

Jim Rimmer, in his article "Cutting Cartier in Metal," DA, Vol. 52 (2003): 15-20 , identifies his machine by name ("a Wiebking-Ludlow") and says that he cut his typeface Cartier on it (I think he means that he engraved matrices directly; the article is almost but not absolutely clear on this). He also discusses the engraving of patrices in typemetal and punches in steel, and it is most likely that he meant engraving them on this machine (again, the article isn't absolutely clear). He says in this article that his initial cutting of Cartier failed because "the adjustment locks on the pantograph ... shifted..." (19) but does not otherwise indicate that the machine was unsatisfactory. However, information from Rimmer's friend Alex Widen [Widen 1] indicates that Rimmer discovered that this machine had too much wear in its spindle for use. He sold this machine, and it survives.

In an e-mail to me on 2011-08-08, Jim Rimmer's friend Alex Widen (Alden Press) described the machine in this way:

"The Weibking had no reference marks - it required spacers to adjust for reductions. It did have a wonderful holder for punches, and an earpiece so the operator could hear when the cutter touched the surface of the work. After Jim replaced the motor he discovered wear in the spindle - when the cutter was lowered it would describe a circle instead of a point. It was a beautiful thing, hardwood work surface and brass fittings, and a seat for the operator."

Alex Widen took the following two photographs of Rimmer and his Wiebking-Hardinge/Ludlow pantograph, and has very kindly shared them. These 21st century photographs are the earliest known images of a Wiebking pantograph.

In the first photograph, Rimmer is shown standing at his Taylor-Hobson pantograph. His Wiebking-Hardinge/Ludlow pantograph is partially visible to his left (it looks like a small jeweler's workbench with arms). The box and cord of the "acoustic device" can be seen attached to its right side.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-widen-rimmer-cartier-sf0.jpg

In the second photograph, the Wiebking pantograph is more clearly visible. (For those unfamiliar with typecasting machinery, the machine just visible in the front left foreground is Rimmer's Monotype Supercaster, the gray machine well-lit in the right foreground is his Monotype-Thompson Type-Caster, and the machine partially visible in the front right is his Monotype Composition Caster (with an open can of Dixon's Mold Polish on it!)

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-widen-rimmer-typo-valet-sf0.jpg

(These photographs are copyright by Alex Widen and used here with his permission. They should not be reproduced commercially or for profit.)

19.3. The Nelson/Goossens Machine

R. Hunter Middleton placed an ex-Ludlow pantograph with the noted punchcutter, typefounder, and hand mold maker Stan Nelson. [Duensing 1999-06-30a], [Nelson 1999-07-12] and [Nelson 2013-03]

Nelson gave this machine to the Milwaukee professional pipe organ constructor and amateur printer and typefounding enthusiast Henry Weiland. [Nelson 2013-03] This must have been after 1999, because a posting to LETPRESS on 1999-06-28 indicates that Weiland did not yet have this machine. [Weiland 1999-06-28] Weiland died in 2010. His business partner Stanton Peters confirmed to me that he did have this pantograph and that he stored it not at their shop but in the shop of Weiland's friend Philo Baker (a printer and collector of type machinery). [Peters 2013-03-18]

It has not been confirmed that this machine passed from Weiland to Baker (Baker was know for his extensive collection, and in theory could have acquired another ex-Ludlow pantograph), but it is very likely that it did.

Baker sold a pantograph to Paul Aken, proprietor of the Platen Press Museum in Zion, Illinois. ( http://www.platenpressmuseum.com/). Aken in turn sold this machine in 2010 to the noted Belgian type and typographical machinery collector Patrick Goossens.

Before he sold it, Paul Aken took several photographs of this machine. He has very kindly allowed them to be reprinted here. Please do not reproduce them further without his permission.

The machine is of a more substantial construction than might first appear. Note that the entire apparatus for holding the working pattern (including the hardwood arm-rests) slides in a flat-and-V machine slide arrangement. It would appear to me that the influence of the machine-tool builder Henry Hardinge is apparent here.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-447-sf0.jpg

The arrangement of the pantograph mechanism itself is unusually complex. As I write this in early 2013, it has been figured out only by the late Paul Hayden Duensing and the late Jim Rimmer (and to the best of my knowledge neither left any notes about its use).

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-448-sf0.jpg

Note that in the form it is shown here the machine may have been disassembled and reassembled several times since it left the Ludlow plant. There is no guarantee that it is set up in a workable configuration in the photographs here.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-450-sf0.jpg

The item sitting on the right-side arm-rest and attached to the machine via a coiled cable is the "acoustic device" (see below).

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-451-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-449-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-452-sf0.jpg

The pantograph mechanism is interesting when compared to other machines. The Taylor-Hobson system (used on both Taylor-Hobson machines and certain models of Gorton and Friedrich Deckel machines) separates the cutting spindle (supported on a heavy articulated arm) from the pantograph proper (which can therefore be lightweight). Other machines (such as larger Friedrich Deckel or Gorton models) simply use a single heavy pantograph with a cutting spindle mounted directly on it. The Wiebking-Hardinge/Ludlow machine (which was designed before the Taylor-Hobson) is a kind of compromise, with a heavy portion of the pantograph for the cutting spindle controlled by lighter arms.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-454-sf0.jpg

This machine is set up for engraving matrices. I believe that the entire workholding vise may be adjusted vertically.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-455-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-453-sf0.jpg

The machine is furnished with a range of cutters and collets for holding them (wooden blocks on left), a couple of unidentified accessories (metal box in center), and a range of tracer/follower tips (on the right). The relationship between tracer tips and cutter diameters is important in scaling the engraving. (When given by Middleton to Nelson it had no cutter sharpener. When acquired by Aken from Baker it had acquired an English George H. Alexander cutter grinder of the type which originated with the American Gorton 265 cutter grinder.)

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-456-sf0.jpg

The machine is also furnished with several auxiliary pantograph arms. Alex Widen indicates that with the Duensing/Rimmer machine "There were no markings on the arms to indicate reduction. A set of metal rules were placed on the arm and the slider moved to it, then tightened." [Widen 2013-03-07]

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-458-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-459-sf0.jpg

At some point Ludlow began using a flexible shaft drive (it is likely that the original machines were belt driven). The Duensing/Rimmer machine, this machine, and the Johnson machine are all driven by similar overhead flexible-shaft units. Note that there is a porcelain light-bulb socket on the top of the vertical support pole here (see the Johnson machine, below, for further information).

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-445-sf0.jpg

19.4. The Johnson Machine

Another ex-Ludlow pantograph passed in some way yet unknown to an un-named scientist in the upper midwest. More recently, this machine was purchased by John Johnson, a private press printer in Virginia (Birdhouse Press, http://printinghistory-chesapeake.org/members/johnson-john/index.html).

On March 6, 2013, Johnson posted an image of this pantograph to the BriarPress online forum (thread: http://www.briarpress.org/33535). (The suggestion by a later poster on this thread that this machine is a "trophy or name plate engraving" machine is completely incorrect.)

John Johnson has very kindly shared further photographs of this machine, some of which appear below. It is without question an ex-Ludlow pantograph, complete with the "acoustic device." Please note that these photographs are copyright 2013 by John Johnson. They are used here by permission. Please do not reproduce them further without permision from Johnson.

You can see the earphone for the "acoustic device" to the right of the machine, on a coiled cord.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1651-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1674-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1684-rot5cw-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1654-sf0.jpg

Note both the second bore for a different spindle location and the second pivot for a different arm location.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1655-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1656-sf0.jpg

The more I look at these photographs the more I see the practical influence of Hardinge. This machine is built exactly like a high quality machine tool of the turn of the 20th century.

I am told that it is much heavier than it looks.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1666-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1688-crop-sf0.jpg

Like the other Nelson/Rimmer and Duensing/Goossens machines, this one is furnished with several additional pantograph arms. The purpose of the straight tubular arm is obscure to me.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1696-crop-sf0.jpg

Unlike the Nelson/Rimmer and Duensing/Goossens machines, this machine is furnished with a supplemental pantograph mechanism. I do not understand its use. The two portions of the L-shaped piece on the left in the photograph below are stamped "4-E" (this is just visible if you go to the full-size image). The square connector on the far right, above the handles for the tracer, is also stamped "4-E" (again, this is just barely visible in this photograph, but is clear in other photographs not reproduced here).

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1697-crop-sf0.jpg

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1692-crop-sf0.jpg image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1694-sf0.jpg

The motor arrangements for this machine are interesting. It is powered by a variable speed DC motor (115V, 2A, 3300RPM, 0.25 HP) driving a flexible shaft; this resembles the drive arrangements for the Duensing/Rimmer and Nelson/Goossens machines (though I don't have their specific motor details). The really unusual item, though, is the blue light bulb on top of the motor mast. You can see the socket (empty) for a similar bulb on the Nelson/Goossens machine and, if you look closely in the second photograph of it, a similar blue light on the Duensing/Rimmer machine. John Johnson says that this light fluctuates in intensity with the speed of the motor.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1651-crop-motor-sf0.jpg image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1691-crop-sf0.jpg

20. Rumored Ex-Ludlow Pantographs

In a 1999 posting to LETPRESS, Calvert Guthrie claimed that Robert Middleton "had a pantograph in his basement studio that he said had been built by Wiebking" but did not know of its disposition. [Guthrie 1999-06-28]

In a separate discussion thread close to this (1999-06-30), Paul Hayden Duensing said that "all of [Middleton's] tools went to a college in the mid-west (U of Iowa possibly)." [Duensing 1999-06-30a] Inquiries with a friend in the book arts at Iowa suggest the possibility that a machine still exists, but this is not yet confirmed.

21. Technical Analysis

There is very little to go on. What can be known must be reverse-engineered from the few surviving machines.

21.1. The Acoustic Device

Here is the "acoustic device" shown first on the Johnson machine:

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-johnson-ludlow-1681-crop-sf0.jpg

Next on the Nelson/Goossens machine:

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-451-crop-acoustic-sf0.jpg image link-to-aken-wiebking-ludlow-449-acoustic-sf0.jpg

Finally on the Duensing/Rimmer machine (no higher resolution available):

22. Notes and Sources

(Because so many individual bits of information refer back to so few sources, I've identified the notes here by name rather than number.)

[Advance 1913]

The following summary appeared in the "Trade Notes" section of The Inland Printer, Vol. 50, No. 6 (March, 1913): 914. Note, however, that the spelling Wiebking's name (here "Weibking") is incorrect; the correct spelling of "Wiebking" is confirmed by the ads placed by the firm.

[click image to view larger]

image ../../press/noncomptype/typography/advance/link-to-inland-printer-v050-1912-10-1913-03-hathi-umn-319510018987754-p0914-img1054-sf0.jpg

(From the Hathi/Google digitization of the University of Minnesota copy. Hathi ID umn.319510018987754)

Note that their claim to have made "the first successful machine for engraving type matrices" is not correct. That distinction probably goes to the unnamed machine used at the Central Type Foundry in the early 1880s .

[American Machinist 1924-05-26]

"Miscellaneous Wants" column, American Machinist. Vol. 27, No. 21 (May 26, 1904): 51. Digitized by Google Books from the Stanford University copy. The extract below links to a PDF of this page.

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-american-machinist-v027pt1-1904-01-to-1904-06-google-stanford-v27n21-1904-05-26-p0051-pdf1246-wiebking-hardinge-classified-ad-sf0.jpg

[Bank Management 1990]

Bank Management (1990). Cited in a Google Books snippet:

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image link-to-hedman-company-still-at-1158-w-armitage-1990-sf0.jpg

[CCCID 1963]

In the Chicago, Cook County & Illinois Industrial Directory for 1963, p. 198. Cited in a Google Books snippet:

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-wiebking-engraving-1133-w-newport-1963-google-sf0.jpg

[Chicago Directory 1900]

The Chicago Directory Company's city directory for 1900 has been digitized by the Newberry Library in their "Chicago Ancestors" program ( http://chicagoancestors.org). Regrettably, their scheme of hyperlinked PDFs seems broken. The PDF of the 'W' section of the is available directly at: http://chicagoancestors.org/downloads/1900w.pdf Their digitization of this directory is in copyright, so I cannot reprint it here. It is also available via "donslist.net" site at: http://www.donslist.net/PGHLookups/cgi-bin/HandOff-1_0.cgi?Chicago1900+Chicago1900w+2006SP (p. 2006, which includes the R. Wiebking entry).

[Chicago Directory 1968]

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image link-to-wiebking-engraving-co-1158-w-armitage-chicago-directory-1958-google-sf0.jpg

[Chicago 'L' Freight]

There is a detailed history of the freight operations of the Chicago 'L' over the former Milwaukee Road Lakewood Branch online in the page on 'Freight Service on the "L"' at: http://www.chicago-l.org/operations/freight/

[CorOdex PM]

Allied Products Company, with an address of "1133 Newport Avenue, Chicago 13, Ill." ran advertisements for "CorOdex Rust Remover," the "war-time miracle liquid heretofore sold only to war plants" in several numbers of Popular Mechanics in the 1940s. E.g., Oct. 1945 p. 212 or Oct. 1947 p. 296 Some of these ads also made reference to a brief news item under the title "'Needle's Eye' Rust Remover Penetrates Smallest Cracks" which appeared anonymously (due no doubt to wartime security concerns) in the Dec. 1944 number of Popular Mechanics (p. 88). Popular Mechanics in this period is viewable online via Google Books.

[Duensing 1999-06-30]

One of Paul Hayden Duensing's 1999-06-30 postings to the LETPRESS e-mail list reads in full:

"Subject: Re: Wiebking Pantographs

"From: Paul Duensing [e-mail address omitted to protect the privacy of Duensing's widow]

"Reply-To: Letterpress Discussion List <LETPRESS@LISTSERV.UNB.CA>

"Wed, 30 Jun 1999 07:48:58 EDT

"The pantographs Ludlow used were originally designed by Wiebking. When Ludlow drew the contract with Wiebking, one stipulation was that they be housed in a special, locked room, to which only the head of the punch-cutting department had the key. The fear of industrial spying was very strong at this time. Bob Middleton gave me one with several attachments, one of which was an ancillary stylus head which fitted onto the machine stylus and raised the reduction capacity to 50:1 in stead of only 25:1 with the basic machine, a clever solution. I eventually gave mine to Jim Rimmer, Vancouver, B.C. who uses it frequently, I believe. Stan Nelson, of the Smithsonian Museum took a second machine (and tells a hilarious story about trying to get it through the door to his apartment). Bob also gave me a matrix trimming machine for planing down the drive of a matrix by half-thousanths which I still have. The other pantograph machines were sent to Scotland where Ludlow still cuts punches and mats (including kinds of mats for machines other than Ludlow.)

"Goudy's original machine was a Wiebking, but later his newer machine (after the fire?) was similar to the Linotype punchcutters and was manufactured by the Eaton Engravers Machinery Co. of Sag Harbour, Long Island, NY. They sold for a princely sum of $1850. The cutter grinder was additional--and also not cheap. After Bob's death, all of his tools went to a college in the mid-west (U of Iowa possibly).

"PaHaDu Paul Hayden Duensing"

[Duensing 1999-06-30b]

The other of Paul Hayden Duensing's 1999-06-30 postings to the LETPRESS e-mail list reads in full:

"Re: Robert Wiebking 1870-1927

"From: Paul Duensing [e-mail address omitted to protect the privacy of Duensing's widow]

"Reply-To: Letterpress Discussion List <LETPRESS@LISTSERV.UNB.CA>

"Wed, 30 Jun 1999 07:48:02 EDT

"Concerning Wiebking

"The decline of Wiebking's foundry was hastened by the City of Chicago's desire to build a super highway on the land where his shop sat. I had some exchange of letters between the two parties (contributed by the last of his relatives) but of course Wiebking lost

"Paul Hayden Duensing [e-mail address omitted]

(But see the discussion in the Later History of the Wiebking Engraving Company for possible issues with this.)

[Further Research]

I should note that I have not yet consulted the Middleton papers at the Newberry Library or the University of Illinois, Chicago. Neither have I investigated the rumor that Middleton's equipment went to the University of Iowa.

[Goudy 1946]

Goudy, Frederic W. A Half-Century of Type Design and Typography: 1895-1945. Volume 1. (NY: The Typophiles, 1946.) Typophile Chap Books: XIII.

[Guthrie 1999-06-28]

Calvert Guthrie's 1999-06-28 posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list reads in full:

"Subject: Re: Robert Wiebking 1870-1927

"From: Calvert Guthrie [e-mail omitted here]

"Reply-To: Letterpress Discussion List <LETPRESS@LISTSERV.UNB.CA>

"Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 22:22:50 EDT

"Bob Middleton had a pantogragh in his basement studio that he said had been built by Wiebking....i don't know what became of it after Bob's death....Calvert"

[Hanson 1885]

From The Current: Literature, Thought, and Current Events. Vol. 3., No. 59 (January 31, 1885). (Chicago: The Current Co., 1885) This is from a Google Books digitization of the Wisconsin Historical Society library's copy. This particular page appears on the back cover; in the original bound volume the covers were bound separately at the end (a common, if unfortunate, practice at the time). The image below links to a PDF of the entire page.

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image link-to-the-current-vol-003-1885-google-wisc-img433-1885-01-31-extract-image-000-crop-hanson-1536x252-sf0.jpg

[Hardware Age 1962]

Hardware Age, somewhere in vols. 190 or 192 in about 1962. Cited in a Google Books snippet:

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image link-to-allied-products-1133-w-newport-hardware-age-1962-google-sf0.jpg

[Harrison ATF 33]

Harrison, John. "Matrix Making at Stephen Austin and Sons; Work Leads to Merger with Ludlow, U.S.Closure." American Typecasting Fellowship Newsletter, No. 33 (October 2009): 32-34.

[Illinois Auditor 1910]

Biennial Report of the Auditor of Public Accounts to the Governor of Illinois, November 1, 1910 [For the fiscal years ending 1909-09-30 and 1910-09-30] Springfield, IL: Illinois State Journal, State Printers, 1910. Digitized by Google from the Cornell University copy. The PDF below is an extract of the two pages which mention Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. Note that in American business stock capitalization and state "equalized" values are both fictions; little can be concluded from this report other than the address of the company.

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image link-to-illinois-auditor-biennial-report-1909-09-30-and-1910-09-30-pp354-355-pdf427-428-wiebking-hardinge-at-1227-newport-sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 7th]

Seventh Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1899 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1900). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of p. 127 (PDF page 136) which lists R. Wiebking & Co.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1899-7th-report-published-1900-p127-pdf136-wiebking-sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 8th]

Eighth Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1900 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1901). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of p. 142 (PDF page 157) which lists R. Wiebking & Co.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1900-8th-report-published-1901-p142-pdf157-wiebking--sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 9th]

Ninth Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1901 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1902). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of p. 119 (PDF page 126) which lists R. Wiebking & Co.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1901-9th-report-published-1902-p119-pdf126-wiebking-sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 10th]

Tenth Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1902 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1903). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of p. 191 (PDF page 207) which lists Wiebking, Hardinge & Co.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1902-10th-report-published-1903-p191-pdf207-wiebking-hardinge-sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 11th & 12th]

Eleventh and Twelfth Annual Reports of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1903 [and] Year Ending December 15, 1904 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1906). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of pp. 264-265 (PDF page 333-334) which list Wiebking, Hardinge & Co. on Newport.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1903-1904-11th-12th-report-published-1906-pp-265-pdf335-wiebking-hardinge-on-newport-sf0.jpg

[Illinois Factory 13th]

Thirteenth Annual Report of the Factory Inspectors of Illinois, for the Year Ending December 15, 1905 . (Springfield, IL: Phillips Bros., State Printers, 1906). Online via Google Books. The image below links to a PDF of p. 472 (PDF page 497) which lists Wiebking, Hardinge & Co.

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image link-to-illinois-annual-report-of-the-factory-inspectors-for-1905-13th-report-published-1906-p472-pdf497-wiebking-hardinge-at-newport-sf0.jpg

[Iron Age 1924]

Reported in Iron Age, Vol. 113, [number unknown] (1924): 413. Here's the Google Books snippet showing it:

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image link-to-hedman-builds-1158-center-later-armitage-in-1924-iron-age-google-sf0.jpg

Center Avenue 2000N was renamed Armitage Avenue 2000N from 225 to 1475 W. [when?] Center Street 2000N 2000N was renamed Armitage Avenue 2000N from 225 to 1475 W. [when?] (Information on Chicago street name changes from a list compiled by William Martin in 1948 and available online at: )

[Martin Names 1948]

"Chicago Streets," a compilation of Chicago street name changes compiled in 1948 by William Martin. Available online from the Chicago Historical Society at: http://www.chsmedia.org/househistory/nameChanges/start.pdf

[Middleton 1937]

Middleton, R. Hunter. Chicago Letter Founding. (Chicago: The Black Cat Press, 1937.) [Click image below to read at The Internet Archive]

image ../../press/typemaking/literature/general/link-to-middleton-chicago-letter-founding-sf0.jpg

The icon at left links to a presentation of this work at The Internet Archive, where it can be read easily online. For reference, here is a local copy of the PDF (it is 134 Megabytes in size): middleton-chicago-letter-founding-0600dpijpg.pdf

[Nelson 1999-07-12]

Stan Nelson's 1999-07-12 posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list reads in full:

"Subject: Re: Wiebking Pantographs

"From: Stan Nelson [Nelson's e-mail address at the time omitted here]

"Reply-To: Letterpress Discussion List <LETPRESS@LISTSERV.UNB.CA>

"Date: Mon, 12 Jul 1999 10:16:14 -0400

"A few additional comments re. Ludlow pantographs:

"The National Museum of American History collected a Ludlow pantograph of the kind discussed here. Plus we also got a set of matrix 'bands' that ran on the first Ludlow caster. These 'bands' were similar to those used on Mergenthaler's Second Band machine (a predecessor to the Blower Linotype). Each 'band' had a complete alphabet, and came in two forms that tapered both from thin to thick and thick to thin. There was a whole bundle of bands resting upon the top of the caster, waiting to be manipulated. You 'set' a line by sliding the bands back and forth until a sentence was composed at the mid point. The 'bands' remained on the machine and were re-arranged for each new line. This invention was not practical and was not a success. We don't have the caster for these bands.

"Subsequently they produced a machine for composing display material, and we also have the first one of these.

"Bob Middleton also gave me my own pantograph, and yes there is a story about its delivery, that should be properly told over a couple of beers. I wish I could say that I still have it, but I became discouraged over problems in finding a cutter grinder (you have to have this to use the machine) and so I gave the pantograph to a friend who I'm sure provided a good home.


[Nelson 2013-03]

E-mail on 2013-03-17 from Stan Nelson to the owner of the "Illinois/Virginia" machine (see below), forwarded to me. I do not have permission to quote it directly here.


The Book of Oz Cooper: An Appreciation of Oswald Bruce Cooper . (Chicago: The Society of Typographic Arts, 1949).

[Peters 2013-03-18]

In an e-mail from Stanton Peters to me on 2013-03-18. I do not have permission to quote this in full here.

[Public 1909]

"Henry H. Hardinge." [biographical sketch in] The Public: A National Journal of Fundamental Democracy & A Weekly Narrative of History in the Making . Vol. 13, No. 610 (1909-12-10): 1182-1184, portrait as a supplement. Chicago: Louis F. Post, 1909. Digitized by Google from the University of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust. Hathi ID: mdp.39015080272167. [Click the image below to read]

image link-to-the-public-v012-hathi-mdp-39015080272167-v12-n610-1909-12-10-sf0.jpg

[Rand McNally 1897]

"Street guide map of Chicago" [Chicago] : Rand, McNally & Co., [between 1897 and 1899] This is available online in the University of Chicago Digital Preservation Collection, digitized 2006. Call number: G4104.C6 1897 .R3 http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/collections/maps/chi1890/G4104-C6-1897-R3.html. License: "Digital version available with no restrictions."

In general, the University of Chicago Library website on "Chicago in the 1890s" has a number of useful maps: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/e/collections/maps/chi1890/

[Reade 1930]

Anon. William A. Reade: 1866-1930 (Chicago: Privately Printed, 1930). This is an anonymous obituary of Reade, the primary figure behind the Ludlow Typgraph machine and its company. It is anonymous, but I suspect that it was written by R. Hunter Middleton. [Click the image below to read]

image ../../press/noncompline/ludlow/literature/history/reade-1930/link-to-titlepage-sf0.jpg

[Realty & Building 1997]

The following notice appeared in Realty and Building, Vol. 218 (1997), as shown in this snippet from Google Books:

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image link-to-1158-w-armitage-sold-1997-google-sf0.jpg

[Rogers PBT]

The original (presumably itself a copy kept by the author) of this letter from George O. Cromwell to Bruce Rogers is in the R. Hunter Middleton collection at the Newberry Library in Chicago. I have not examined it myself. It is reproduced online on the Paul Baker Typography website documenting a joint project (currently on indefinite hiatus) between Paul Baker and Paul F. Gehl to do a new version of Middleton's typeface Eusabius: http://www.pbtweb.com/eusebius/appendix/rogers.html

[Smithsonian 1977]

The 1977 annual volume Smithsonian Year: Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution for the year ending Sept. 30, 1977 (also titled "Smithosinian Year 1977 - Programs and Activities") (Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, 1978) This is online at The Internet Archive in a scan by the Boston Public Library, http://www.archive.org/details/smithsonianyeara1977smit

[Weiland 1999-06-28]

Henry Weiland's 1999-06-28 posting to the LETPRESS e-mail list reads in full:

"From: Henry Weiland <hweiland@EXECPC.COM>

"Reply-To: Letterpress Discussion List <LETPRESS@LISTSERV.UNB.CA>

"Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 10:41:25 -0500

"Some years ago, there still was a Wiebking Engraving Company in business in Chicago. I spoke over the telephone to the firm and they said that they had "alot of old stuff around here". They said that it was not a good time to visit at that particular time. They where "very busy". Several months later when I got to Chicago again, they where gone.

It is my understanding that of the original machinery some was retained by Wiebking, but most went to Ludlow. Their additional machinery he designed based on his machinery. I think I have a friend that might have one of the ludlow engravers. It was a pantograph type machine. Wasn't the machine Goudy is pictured with, a German machine he imported? Some years ago I found a man who had worked in or was head of, the engraving department at Ludlow, I remember that he told of how he subsituted flexible shafts to drive the cutters replacing the cord "belts" that "went to the ceiling".

"Henry Weiland


[Werner 1932]

In 1932, the printer and matrix engraver Nicholas J. Werner wrote an article on Robert Wiebking, deceased five years previously, for The Inland Printer. Werner knew Wiebking personally, and as importantly Werner knew matrix engraving and was a participant in it from its origins in St. Louis in 1882. His 1932 article on Wiebking is our primary source for information on Wiebking's early life and for information on Herman Wiebking's engraving machine.

Werner, Nicholas J. "Wiebking Created Popular Faces in Chicago, Friend Discloses" The Inland Printer Vol. 90, No. 2 (November 1932): 71-73. [Click image below to read]

image ../../press/typemaking/history/punch-patrix-matrix-makers/wiebking-robert/link-to-inland-printer-v090-n2-1932-11-0600grey-0071-073-werner-on-wiebking-sf0.jpg

(Scanned by me from an original copy.)

[Wiebking, Hardinge Sale 1913]

The following note appeared in Printing Trade News, Vol. 45, No. 11 (Sept. 9, 1913): 37. It would seem to indicate that the transfer of the Wiebking/Hardinge interests to Western Type Foundry occurred in two stages.

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image ../../press/noncomptype/typography/advance/link-to-printing-trade-news-v045-no11-1913-09-09-hathi-mdp-39015086719062-p037-advance-type-foundry-sf0.jpg

(A look at an online map of Chicago indicates that "Ravine" avenue is probably a typo for "Racine.")

(From the Google digitization of the University of Michigan copy, via The Hathi Trust. Hathi ID: mdp.39015086719062.)

[Wiebking Loan 1896]

The Economist [Chicago]. Vol. 15, No. 17 (April 25, 1896): 521. Digitize by Google; the PDF below is an extract of three pages, the third of which has the Wiebking loan.

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image link-to-economist-chicago-vol-15-1896-google-princeton-pp519-521-pdf-542-544-wiebking-mortgage-2-sf0.jpg

[Wiebking Repurchase 1919]

This notice appeared in the real estate notices section of The Economist [a Chicago publication, not the London magazine of that name] in the 1919-01-18 issue, p. 131:

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image link-to-the-economist-chicago-1919-01-18-wiebking-buys-newport-plant-from-western-sf0.jpg

(From the Google Books digitization of the Northwestern University copy. The extract above links to a PDF of the entire page.)

[Wiebking 1951]

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image link-to-wiebking-1951-google-screengrab-sf0.jpg

[Widen 1]

E-mail from Alex Widen.

[Widen 2013-03-07]

E-mail from Alex Widen, 2013-03-07.

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