Paper Is Part of the Picture no. 4—Woronoco Quality

This is one in a series of blog posts accompanying Paper Is Part of the Picture: Strathmore Paper and the Evolution of American Graphic Design 1892–2017, an exhibition that I have curated at The Opalka Gallery of The Sage Colleges in Albany, New York. The exhibition runs from October 3 to December 15, 2017.

Fairfield Covers sample book (Woronoco Paper Co.). Photograph by Vincent Trinacria.

Fairfield Covers sample book (Woronoco Paper Co., c.1909). Photograph by Vincent Giordano.

In 1907 the Woronoco Paper Co. began touting the quality of its papers in the same manner that the Mittineague Paper Co. was doing. In trade advertising several similar phrase were used: “The Mill where ‘Quality Counts'”; “Where ‘Quality Counts’ every day in the year”; and “Where ‘Quality Counts’ the year around.” These awkward sentiments were eventually pared down a year later to “Quality Counts” and added to the Indian head that had been adopted as the company’s trademark in 1906. This radical shift from Woronoco’s earlier advertising and sample book design (many of which had no company mark) suggests the influence of Horace Moses who had purchased the mill in 1905.

The design of the Indian head trademark was not as definitively established as the Mittineague thistle. The depiction of the Indian was inconsistent as can be seen by comparing the marks on the Paragon Bond and Fairfield Covers sample books shown here along with the 1910 advertisement below. The Indian faced right sometimes and left other times; the feather headdress changed as did his countenance; and in some versions, he sports an earring.

Paragon Bond sample book (Woronoco Paper Co., c1907). Photograph by Vincent Trinacria.

Paragon Bond sample book (Woronoco Paper Co., c.1907). Photograph by Vincent Giordano.

Interior page from Fairfield Covers sample book (Woronoco Paper Co., c.1908).

Interior page from Fairfield Covers sample book (Woronoco Paper Co., 1907). Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Woronoco had come to embrace the value of a trademark. This was explicitly stated inside a 1907 Fairfield Covers sample book:

A Trade Mark to be of real value must be a guarantee.

We guarantee our Trade Mark, as shown here and it guarantees perfect goods. It is on the label of all Woronoco brands.

By 1910 Moses had succeeded in establishing both of his mills as purveyors of quality papers. A year later, he merged them and created the Strathmore Paper Company. For a short time the Indian trademark continued in use in advertisements for Strathmore papers made in the Woronoco mill (e.g. Woronoco Damask and Fairfield Parchment), but it was finally phased out in 1912 when the paper lines of Moses’ two mills were combined and reorganized.

Woronoco Bond advertisement in The Inland Printer vol 45, no. 6 (September 1910).

Woronoco Bond advertisement in The Inland Printer vol. XLV, no. 6 (September 1910), p. 815.