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In the late nineteenth century, Chicago became a center for commercial printing in the United States, second only to New York. Chicago printers worked closely with magazine and catalog publishers; they had easy access to rail transportation; and they achieved a competitive position because Chicago was the point at which zoned shipping rates for bulky printed products increased. In the years after World War I, Chicago’s centrality in the industry developed into a regional industrial concentration greater even than that of the big eastern cities. By the end of the twentieth century, four of the ten largest printing companies in the world were headquartered within 100 miles of Chicago. The internationalization of their operations since the 1970s, however, has included the exportation of the actual printing.

The Inland Printer was a Chicago-based trade journal for the printing industry that began in 1883. In 1958, it merged with the American Printer and Lithographer, and went through a series of name changes that ended with The American Printer, which was also an earlier name of the publication with which it merged. It ceased regular publication in 2011.

Learn more about the history of Chicago’s printing industry in our Encyclopedia of Chicago entry.

Front cover of The Inland Printer, c. December 1895. Designed by Will H. Bradley. CHM, ICHi-076734

The Encyclopedia of Chicago 

The Encyclopedia of Chicago is no mere collection of fun facts. It is a work of stunning scholarly achievement.” — Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times 

Published by the University of Chicago Press, The Encyclopedia of Chicago is the result of a ten-year collaboration between the Newberry Library and the Chicago History Museum. This project brought together hundreds of historians, journalists, and experts on everything from airlines to Zoroastrians to explore all aspects of the rich world of Chicago and its surrounding metropolitan area. 

Chicago History Museum Sharing Chicago Stories