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Pioneers of Color Printing: The McLoughlin Bros., Inc.

The McLoughlin Bros., formed in 1828 in New York, made revolutionary moves in regards to color printing technologies. They printed many children’s books with this newer color method.

They specialized in retelling classic stories, often removing any material that they considered improper or offensive.

The company grew as a family business, first run by John McLoughlin, Jr. and soon joined by his younger brother Edmund McLoughlin as a business partner.

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At the start of the business, they continually experimented with methods of illustration and their printing process. They tried hand stenciling to zinc etching to chromolithography, a method for making multi-color prints.

Eventually they opened a color printing factory which employed up to 75 artists. The company had established chromolithographs as their printing method of choice. The company moved their office location in New York a number of times through the years.

Inside pages of illustration from "The Old Woman and Her Pig" by McLoughlin Bros., Inc.

Inside pages of illustration from “The Old Woman and Her Pig

Unfortunately, the company founder John McLoughlin Jr.’s death in 1905 brought hardship to the company. It sorely missed his business and artistic leadership.

In 1920, Milton Bradley bought McLoughlin Bros., Inc. The McLoughlin branch still continued production of books and games (minus a pause in production during the WWII years). Through the years, other companies bought the McLoughlin trademark. The company’s name finally dropped from print in the 1970s.

Today, collectors express plenty of interest towards McLoughlin Bros. books and games as well as the Mcloughlin wood engraving blocks. They’re hot commodities in the collecting world.

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Source: American Antiquarian

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