Digital Magazine

Standing the Test of Time: A Look at PFFC's 75-Year History

To view this special report as a PDF, click the link below.

Things that withstand 75 years certainly deserve to commemorate the anniversary with a glittering, valuable reminder of a hard-earned and fruitful longevity; perhaps that's why the diamond signifies 75 years. This month Paper, Film & Foil Converter celebrates its diamond anniversary with a chronology that reveals how The Envelope Industry morphed into today's PFFC—a timeline taken from 75 years of covering the converting industry.

This online version includes news and information that, due to space limitations, was cut from final print version. Enjoy!

1970 - 1973
1974 - 1976
1977 - 1979
1990 - April 1993
May 1993 - 1994
1995 - 1999
2000 to present

The 1920s...
As the U.S. prohibition continues throughout the decade, America is at its most prosperous. Aviators Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart accomplish their historic flights, taking aeronatics to the next level. Technology expands at a revolutionary pace as automobiles, radio, and film reach major turning points. Fashion continues to come out of its shell as women’s hemlines and hair become increasingly shorter. Meanwhile, music icons Duke Ellington and Bessie Smith define jazz as the “pop music” of a generation, and Babe Ruth enters the hearts of baseball fans everywhere when he slams 60 homers in a single season. But the 20s come to a crashing end October 29, 1929, as “Black Tuesday” catulpults America into its worst economic depression ever.

March 1927
Harry Schwarzschild publishes the first issue of The Envelope Industry, predecessor of PFFC, in Flushing, L.I., NY. Its mission: To bring about an exchange of thought upon common ground, among members of the industry, that each shall benefit by the knowledge gained and dispersed by the others. Schwarzschild holds the title of publisher and editor.

May 1927
A NY shoe manufacturer begins placing fine footwear in special envelopes before placing them in cartons to protect the leather and fabrics while adding dignity to the package.

Kroenert Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary.... Est. in 1903. kroenert.com.

January 1928
Overproduction is beginning to be a serious topic of debate in American business, not only as it applied to the paper industry, but to the industry at large.

March 1928
Offering an international perspective right from the start, The Envelope Industry runs an article on “Envelopes of India” in March and follows it in June with a story on “Envelopes of France."

November 1928
Republican Herbert Hoover is elected president.

December 1928
Envelope manufacturers develop an increased interest in air mail envelopes which the new age of flight introduces.

F.L. Smithe Machine Co. Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary.... Est. in 1904. flsmithe.com.

March 1929
The first Academy Awards is held.

The 1930s...
With the Great Depression putting a stranglehold on Americans, people and businesses begin to lose faith. However, renewed hope is ignited as Franklin Delano Roosevelt takes office in 1933. In arguably the most famous inauguration speech in U.S history, FDR inspirationally declares to Americans that “the only thing to fear is fear itself.” With a new outlook on the future and a “New Deal,” Americans march on as literature, board games, and Benny Goodman and Swing define 30s culture. At the decade’s end, America’s tide begins to rise again, but turmoil overseas will ultimately bring Americans into a new battle, and a new decade.

Elite Cameron Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary.... Est. in 1905. elitecameron.com.

January 1930
The Envelope Industry, sporting a redesigned cover and new logo, is now published by the Envelope Industry Publishing Co. and moves to 192 N. Clark St. in Chicago.

Sinclair Lewis becomes the first American to be awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

February 1930
A large meteor rumbles across the skies of the southern states and crashes near Paragould, Arkansas.

May 1930
Envelope manufacturers are concerned with their efforts to establish a uniform cost accounting system. It is the consensus that great progress is being made in the use of cost systems for the control of manufacturing and merchandising policies.

June 1930
Proposed for the bag industry during 1930 is a revision of simplified practice recommendation on grocers paper bags. Among the most important changes outlined by the US Bureau of Standards is the insertion of a column assigning definite minimum basic weights of paper, and the selection of an additional emblem (SSW), Standard Size and Weight, as the recognized imprint for all bags conforming to the size and weight standards.

July 1930
E. D. Graff is named editor of the magazine.

December 1930
An overproduction capacity of approximately 25% was said to exist in the paper industry at large.

Adolf Mueller Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary.... Est. in 1906. mueller-maschinenfabrik.de.

May 1931
Editor Graff reprints a message from Herbert N. Casson, editor of the London-based Efficiency Magazine. It says: “Here is the thought that I would like to send out to the business men of America. You are depressed. You think you are crippled. You are afraid of the future. You are full of fears. You have half the gold of the world and half of the machinery and most of the automobiles and all the skyscrapers. You have the greatest home market in the world and the largest corporations that the world has ever seen. You are ruled more by ideas and less by tradition than any other people in the world. You have usually done what you thought you could do. “How can it be possible that a progressive nation of 120,000,000 people can be wrecked by the speculations of a little handful of fools in Wall Street? The prices that were forced too high had to come down. Today all the prices are too low. There is now a golden opportunity for every man who has eyes to see it. “This silly depression has gone on long enough. Get rid of it. It is inside you.”

June 1931
The total of American banks that had failed since the stock market crash of ‘29 approached 2,500 and 5,000,000 were unemployed.

The Envelope Industry addresses America’s declining economy in the first of several articles dedicated to the era of the Great Depression.

July 1931
Converters in many lines are being forced to recognize and make way for newly developed papers. The use of glassine in the manufacture of envelopes, bags, and other containers is growing constantly.

August 1931
The Envelope Industry moves to larger, more centrally located quarters at 185 N. Wabash in Chicago.

December 1931
Our name changes to Envelope and Specialty Paper Industry as the magazine expands by adding four pages of additional copy devoted to specialty paper because, as Editor E. D. Graff says, “many paper men were fully as interested in the magazine as envelope men.”

Harold Smith is chosen to lead activities of the Envelope Manufacturer’s Assn. of America.

CP Films, as Martin Processing, Is Established... cpfilms.com.

Curt G. Joa Is Established... joa.com.

Rohm & Haas Celebrates 25th Anniversary... Est. 1907 rohmhaas.com.

January 1932
The Kary-Safe Paper Bag Co. of New York scores with a bag in the form of a ladies’ handbag. Although made entirely of paper, it’s folded to resemble a leather purse.

March 1932
Second annual Packaging, Packing, and Shipping Exposition is held at the Palmer House in Chicago, IL, USA.

June 1932
Kurz develops the first vacuum-metallized hot stamping foil by means of the genuine gold sputtering technology.

November 1932
As the unemployed reached 13,000,000, Democrat Franklin Delano Roosevelt is elected in a landslide over incumbent Herbert Hoover.

The Envelope and Specialty Paper Industry emphasizes that individuality in the label is key.

January 1933
Former president Calvin Coolidge dies.

The U.S. officially recognizes the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

October 1933
Our name changes again as Phil A. Howard, founder of the Howard Publishing Co., 1911 to 1913, Conway Building in Chicago buys Envelope and Specialty Paper Industry and consolidates it with A Journal for Paper Converters. Phil A. Howard is the new publisher and Frank C. Petrine is editor. The magazine, now called Paper Converters and Envelope Industry, reaches more than 2,000 paper converters that manufacture more than 1,000 distinctly different products.
Editor Frank Petrine says, “Every forward moving, progressive and aggressive industry looks to a dependable and forceful trade journal for a discussion of its problems and the experiences of others. Paper Converters and Envelope Industry is projected to fill the void of an authentic journal for this important and fast growing industry. A vigorous, searching and informative editorial policy will be followed.”
The official title of the company that will publish the journal is Paper Converters Publishing Co., a subsidiary of 14-year-old Howard Publishing Co., publisher of The American Paper Merchant.

H.H. Heinrich Inc. introduces its “Super-Speed” aniline printing press.

November 1933
After publishing the first issue of the new journal, Petrine reports the company received many letters, telegrams, and telephone calls of congratulations and good wishes. However, one letter reads: “After reading article on page 10 of the October issue and then looking at the envelope in which it was mailed, it would lead one to believe that very often a doctor is not willing to take his own medicine.”

Editor Graff responds, “This truth cannot be over-ruled by our excuse. However, our excuse is plausible under the circumstances. This issue will also be mailed in the makeshift envelopes, but not the December issue and thereafter. The new envelope now being designed, we believe, will be a credit to the envelope industry, please the aesthetic sense, and also be a sturdy specimen.”

December 1933
In the wake of the Great Depression, three outstanding changes are revealed: a change from Box Stay to Cloth Stay; new sealing tape standards; and the frequent use of glues and adhesives.

The Communications Act of 1934 establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate all communications, from telephones and telegraphs to radio and wireless communications.

Elsner Engineering Works Is Established... elsnereng.com.

Neenah Paper Co. and Garrett B. Linderman develop a new laminated paper that consists of two sheets of paper pasted to the center core of very thin aluminum. Cementing the plies together results in a paper that can’t expand or contract under varying humidity conditions, and is recommended for charts where accuracy demands.

February 1934
Speeds of 500 fpm are being achieved on laminating equipment, thus cutting machine hour and man hour rate per 1000 sq ft.

March 1934
The National Recovery Administration Code of Fair Competition for the gumming industry is approved.

August 1934
W.W. Pickard is appointed as coordinator of the paper industry, the purpose being to assist in the settlement of differences between the respective industries.

September 1934
American Envelope Co. establishes a service factory in Chicago, IL.

October 1934
We tweak our logo.

FDR signs the Social Security Act.

In 1935, young entrepreneur R. Stanton Avery manufactures the world’s first self-adhesive label.

Influential Senator Huey Long is assassinated in the Louisiana State House in Baton Rouge. The shooter, Dr. Carl Weiss Jr. is shot and killed by Long’s bodyguards.

June 1935
Transparent cellulose laminated to paper stock with a hot melt adhesive produces a sheet that creates wide spread interest. In the folding box field, the lamination is done on the printed blank before being scored and die cut.

Fiberware Corp. establishes a large experimental plant in Franklin, OH, for the development of paper pie pans for bakeries.

Suffrage pioneer Susan B. Anthony’s portrait is featured on the 3 cents US stamp.

The Boulder Dam is completed. It would later be renamed for Herbert Hoover.

Life magazine founded in New York City.

January 1936
Single-serve paper milk containers win a victory over glass milk bottles when the New Jersey Milk Control Board refuses to order an increase of 1% per quart for milk sold in paper bottles. A similar order of the New York State Div. of Milk Control was carried to the courts.

April 1936
Phil Howard is now editor as well as publisher.

July 1936
Envelope sales are up, but dollar volume is down as the result of lowered prices.

November 1936
FDR is re-elected in a landslide over Republican Alfred Landon.

December 1936
The Converter reports that 1936 exceeded any previous years’ volume of grocery bags for the first 11 months. Deliveries ranged 21% above normal for the period, with a higher percentage of increase in the last 20 weeks leading to Dec. 1.

Container Corp. of America begins construction of the first unit of its Fernandina, FL, mill.

March 1937
Seventh Annual Packaging Exposition is held in New York City.

May 1937
A new logo is introduced.

The Golden Gate Bridge is completed.

July 1937
Aviator Amelia Earhart and copilot Fred Noonan disappear while attempting to fly around the world.

September 1937
Benny Goodman is labeled the “king of swing” as his “boogie woogie big band sound” becomes the rage among teenagers.

December 1937
First “Publishers Page” for Paper Converter and Envelope Industry is introduced.

The consumption of kraft paper breaks all records, being 60% higher than that of 1929. More than 500,000 tons goes into making bags. The total production for bags and wrapping is around 1,435,000 tons, which is 30% more than the quantity used in 1935.

Thomas Jefferson’s portrait is placed on the US 5 cent coin.

Albert Einstein and Leopold Infeld publish The Evolution of Physics.

Howard Hughes flies around the world in 91 hours.

Relations with Nazi Germany become tense when word reaches the Oval Office that Jews are being persecuted.

The Gummed Industries Assn. organizes a certified products bureau.

January 1938
A new name and logo are introduced: The Converter (with tag line of "Paper - Board"). Phil Howard says, “Our editorial content will be strengthened, more articles concerning the technical problems involved in paper and board converting -- more clearly defined divisional sections and a greater coverage of information that our readers can turn to their advantage.

The name of a future publisher, J. S. Peacock, appears on masthead for the first time as the advertising contact, but Peacock will leave the company three years later, returning in December 1945, following three years as a lieutenant in the Navy.

June 1938
The “Big Seven," comprising seven of the largest producers of kraft paper in the country, engages in a ruinous fight for tonnage between themselves for bag and bag paper orders, which immediately results in the crashing of draft market prices.

July 1938
A new logo and cover redesign debuts. Credit goes to Miss Virginia Burpo, art counselor at the Winnetka Girls’ Camp.

August 1938
With the possible exception of the South, where a rapid growth in kraft facilities had been under way, there is no great expansion in plant capacity of the paper industry as a whole during the upswing, which commenced in 1935.

Fife Corporation Is Established... fife.com.

CMC Cevenini Is Established...cmccevenini.it.

March 1939
Paper napkins increase in popularity.

September 1939
We move to 111 W. Washington St., Chicago, just a few blocks from our current home.

October 1939
Influences of the European War have manifested itself in US markets and almost overnight buying shows a 50% increase. There begin to be whispers that a paper shortage might possibly develop under the pressure of war conditions, but an industry that has long been accustomed to over-production and under-consumption finds difficulty in adjusting this belief to its thinking.

November 1939
The Packaging Institute holds its first annual meeting.

December 1939
By year’s end, prices have advanced on both bleached and unbleached sulphite pulp and kraft pulp was priced at around $50. It is believed that there is a three-month supply on hand, but prospects for further imports of foreign pulp are not good.

Click here to view the 1940s.