University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

R. Hoe & Company

1876 - 1929


Manuscript Collection Number: 469
Accessioned: Purchase, 1989
Extent: 1 linear ft. (ca. 54 items)
Content: Catalogs, ephemera, letterhead, patents, price lists, scrapbook
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: 2002 by Theresa Hessey

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

Born in England in 1784, Robert Hoe studied carpentry before immigrating to the United States in 1803. Upon arrival, Hoe met Matthew Smith and together they formed Smith, Hoe & Company in 1805 in New York City, specializing in the manufacture of wooden hand presses. Due to the nature of the materials used, Smith and Hoe decided to incorporate saw-making into their business. Following the death of Smith, Hoe took over the company and changed its name to R. Hoe & Company in 1822. He continued to manufacture printing presses and along with his sons made numerous improvements upon existing machinery. In 1827, Hoe bought and improved Samuel Rust’s patent for a wrought iron framed press and began manufacturing it as the “Washington” press. After his death in 1833, his sons Richard and Robert overtook daily operation of the company and are credited with introducing various improvements and obtaining patents for these innovations. Consequently, R. Hoe & Company firmly established its products as superior to those of European design. Notable advances made by R. Hoe & Company included a mechanical sheet delivery system for fast cylinder presses, the rotary printing press, and the first type revolving presses. The work of R. Hoe & Company helped facilitate the rapid and cheap production of newspapers.

In 1886, after the deaths of his father and his uncle, Robert Hoe III assumed control of the company. In the years following, he became better known for book collecting than for manufacturing. After his death in 1909, his son, Robert Hoe IV gained control but resigned by 1924. In that year the company was incorporated and a board of directors was announced. Robert Kelly was named president and the Hoe family no longer ran the company. During World War II, the company began to manufacture parts for weapons. After the war, however, the price of Hoe stock dropped and by 1969 the company was forced to claim bankruptcy. Throughout the 1970s, the Hoe factory was dismantled while the board focused on revitalizing the saw-making aspect of the company. In 1984, Pacific Saw and Knife Company purchased R. Hoe & Company and formed Pacific/Hoe Saw and Knife Company. It is still in operation today.


Comparato, Frank E. Chronicles of genius and folly : R. Hoe & Company and the printing press as a service to democracy. Culver City, Ca. : Labyrinthos, c1979.

Additional information derived from the collection.

Scope and Content Note

The R. Hoe & Company Collection consists of one linear foot of material spanning the dates 1876 to 1929. During this period, the company main offices were located in the block 504 to 520 Grand Street in New York City. The collection includes catalogs for various pieces of printing machinery, samples of company letterhead, price lists for materials produced by R. Hoe & Company, printed collections of publisher opinions regarding the quality and efficiency of Hoe products, British patents extended to R. Hoe & Company for manufacture in London, assorted printed ephemera of R. Hoe & Company, and ephemera related to William R. Fish, a civil engineer who patented various improvements in the field of printing technology.



Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

1    F1        R. Hoe & Co., Printers’ and Binders’ Price-List, 1876

     F2        R. Hoe & Co., Fast Newspaper Printing and
               Folding Machines, 1877

     F3        R. Hoe & Co.’s Price List March, 1880

     F4        R. Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Binders’ Presses and
               Materials, 1881

     F5        R. Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Machinery and
               Materials for Electrotyping, 1890

     F6        Catalogue of Some of R. Hoe & Co.’s Patent Type
               and Stereotype Fast Newspaper, Pamphlet and Book
               Perfecting Printing Machines, 1892

     F7        Various Catalogues, 1888
               Contains four catalogues bound together; R. Hoe
               and Co.’s Catalogue of Printing Presses, 1891, R.
               Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Printing Materials,
               1888, R. Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Machinery and
               Materials for Electrotyping, 1890, and R. Hoe &
               Co.’s Catalogue of Machinery and Materials for
               Stereotyping, 1891

     F8        The “Observer” Stereotype Perfecting Printing
               Machine and Folder, 1894
               Listing of offices using Hoe products

     F9        R. Hoe & Co.’s Sextuple Stereotype Perfecting
               Press and Folder, 1895
               Listing of offices using Hoe products

     F10       R. Hoe & Co., Catalogue of Improved Printing Presses, 1895

     F11       R. Hoe & Co., Some Fast Newspaper Printing
               Machines with Folders, 1895

     F12       R. Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Printing Materials, 1897

     F13       R. Hoe & Co.’s Catalogue of Machinery and
               Materials for Electrotyping, Stereotyping and
               Photo-Engraving, 1898
     F14       R. Hoe & Co.’s Multi-Color Perfecting Printing
               Machine and Folder for Newspapers, 1899
     F15       R. Hoe & Co.’s Single Large Cylinder, News and
               Job, and Flat-Bed Newspaper Presses, 1901
     F16       Various Catalogues, 1903
               Contains Improved Quadruple, Sextuple and Color
               Combination Newspaper Perfecting Presses, 1903,
               Some New Hoe Fast Speed Newspaper Presses, 1903,
               R. Hoe & Co.’s Patented Improved Two-Roll Three-
               Roll and Four-Roll Two-Plate Wide also Double
               Supplement Newspaper Perfecting Presses, 1903
2    F17       R. Hoe & Co.’s Improved Machinery and Materials for
               Electrotyping, Stereotyping and Photo-Engraving, 1904
     F18       Various Catalogues, 1919-1921
               Contains Circular Saws, Bits, Shanks and Saw Tools
               also Printing Machinery, 1919, Supplement to 1919
               Edition Catalogue, Revised List Prices, 1921
     F19       What Publisher’s Say, 1925
               Includes printings of letters from publishers who
               use machinery manufactured by R. Hoe & Co.
               regarding their satisfaction with the products
     F20       Various Catalogues, 1925
               Contains Hoe Rotary Two-Color Lithographing Press
               with Suction Feed and Pile Delivery, Style F-2-D,
               1925, Hoe Rotary Two-Color Offset Lithographing
               Press with Suction Feed and Pile Delivery, Style F-
               2-O, 1925
     F21       Hoe Electrotyping Machinery Accessories and
               Supplies, 1925
     F22       Hoe Universal-Unit Multi-Color and Black Rotary
               Web Perfecting Presses, 1925
     F23       Hoe Photo-Engraving Machinery Accessories and
               Supplies, 1926
     F24       R. Hoe & Co., Inc., Saw Manufacturers, Jobbers’
               Special Discounts, 1929
     F25       Miscellaneous advertisements and catalogues, n.d.
     F26       Catálogo de R. Hoe y Compañia, 1873
     F27       R. Hoe & Co., Fabricants de machines et matériel
               de stéréotypie, galvanolastie et photogravure,

     F28       Patents 1892-1894
               Contains British patents granted to R. Hoe & Co.
               through intermediaries in the Office of Patents,
               London spanning the years, 1892-1894

     F29       R. Hoe & Co. Ephemera
               Includes two manufacturer’s labels, “Our
               Reputation, Our Declaration of Principles”
               distributed to employees, a code book for
               telegraphic cables, a print of a drawing of the
               Hoe Manufactory, an unattached back cover of a
               catalogue, and a company folder

     F30       Scrapbook
               Contains a scrapbook of materials relating to R.
               Hoe & Co. including sample invoices, form
               letters, and advertisements

3    F31       William R. Fish Ephemera
               Includes various notes, chemical formulations,
               invoices, and correspondence of William R. Fish, a
               civil engineer.  Also included is Fish’s patent
               for improvements in the production of transfer
               sheets for lithographic and other printing
               processes and a legal agreement allowing Mary
               Miner to practice, use, and vend Fish’s inventions

     F32       A. G. Burton’s Sons, Inc. and Butler and Kelly
               Contains a Printers and Book Binders Machinery
               catalogue for A. G. Burton’s Sons, Inc. and a
               business card for Butler and Kelly, Engravers and

     F33       S. J. Clark’s Sons, Inc.
               Includes a catalogue of printing samples

     F34       Duplex Printing Press Company
               Contains a catalogue for the Duplex Flat-Bed Web-
               Perfecting Newspaper Press

     F35       Empire Type Foundry
               Contains a catalogue of type, paper, inks, and
               metals used in the printing process

     F36       Klapperich and Company
               Includes a catalogue of Blue Label Fresco Stencils and Letter Patterns

     F37       Charles F. Persons, J. W. Ostrander, and Whitlock Cylinder
               Contains a business card for Charles F. Persons, a
               steam printing establishment, an advertisement for
               a combined saw and trimmer manufactured by J. W.
               Ostrander, and a print of a Whitlock Cylinder

     F38       Miller and Richard, Edinburgh
               An Epitome of Specimens of Magazine and Newspaper Founts
     F39       Stephenson, Black and Co., London
               Specimens of Newspaper Founts

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