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R. Hoe & Company collection


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

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.

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.

Boxes 1-2: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes

Box 3: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)

Removals: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize boxes (20 inches)

Purchase, 1989

Processed by Theresa Hessey, 2002. Encoded by Jaime Margalotti, November 2019.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2019 November
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections Department, University of Delaware Library,

Collection Inventory

R. Hoe & Co., Printers' and Binders' Price-List, 1876.
Box 1 Folder F1
R. Hoe & Co., Fast Newspaper Printing and Folding Machines Catalogue, 1877.
Box 1 Folder F2
R. Hoe & Co.'s Price List, 1880 March.
Box 1 Folder F3
R. Hoe & Co.'s Catalogue of Binders' Presses and Materials, 1881.
Box 1 Folder F4
R. Hoe & Co.'s Catalogue of Machinery and Materials for Electrotyping, 1890.
Box 1 Folder F5
Catalogue of Some of R. Hoe & Co.'s Patent Type and Stereotype Fast Newspaper, Pamphlet and Book Perfecting Printing Machines, 1892.
Box 1 Folder F6
Various Catalogues, 1888-1891.
Box 1 Folder F7
Scope and Contents

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

The "Observer" Stereotype Perfecting Printing Machine and Folder, Listing of offices using Hoe products, 1894.
Box 1 Folder F8
R. Hoe & Co.'s Sextuple Stereotype Perfecting Press and Folder, Listing of offices using Hoe products, 1895.
Box 1 Folder F9
R. Hoe & Co., Catalogue of Improved Printing Presses, 1895.
Box 1 Folder F10
R. Hoe & Co., Some Fast Newspaper Printing Machines with Folders, 1895.
Box 1 Folder F11
R. Hoe & Co.'s Catalogue of Printing Materials, 1897.
Box 1 Folder F12
R. Hoe & Co.'s Catalogue of Machinery and Materials for Electrotyping, Stereotyping and Photo-Engraving, 1898.
Box 1 Folder F13
R. Hoe & Co.'s Multi-Color Perfecting Printing Machine and Folder for Newspapers, 1899.
Box 1 Folder F14
R. Hoe & Co.'s Single Large Cylinder, News and Job, and Flat-Bed Newspaper Presses,, 1901.
Box 1 Folder F15
Various Catalogues, 1903.
Box 1 Folder F16
Scope and Contents

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

R. Hoe & Co.'s Improved Machinery and Materials for Electrotyping, Stereotyping and Photo-Engraving, 1904.
Box 2 Folder F17
Various Catalogues, 1919-1921.
Box 2 Folder F18
Scope and Contents

Contains Circular Saws, Bits, Shanks and Saw Tools also Printing Machinery, 1919, Supplement to 1919 Edition Catalogue, Revised List Prices, 1921

What Publisher's Say, 1925.
Box 2 Folder F19
Scope and Contents

Includes printings of letters from publishers who use machinery manufactured by R. Hoe & Co. regarding their satisfaction with the products

Various Catalogues, 1925.
Box 2 Folder F20
Scope and Contents

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

Hoe Electrotyping Machinery Accessories and Supplies, 1925.
Box 2 Folder F21
Hoe Universal-Unit Multi-Color and Black Rotary Web Perfecting Presses, 1925.
Box 2 Folder F22
Hoe Photo-Engraving Machinery Accessories and Supplies, 1926.
Box 2 Folder F23
R. Hoe & Co., Inc., Saw Manufacturers, Jobbers' Special Discounts, 1929.
Box 2 Folder F24
Miscellaneous advertisements and catalogues, undated.
Box 2 Folder F25
Catálogo de R. Hoe y Compañia, 1873.
Box 2 Folder F26
R. Hoe & Co., Fabricants de machines et materiel de stéréotypie, galvanoplastie et photogravure, 1906.
Box 2 Folder F27
Patents, 1892-1894.
Box 2 Folder F28
Scope and Contents

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

R. Hoe & Co. Ephemera.
Box 2 Folder F29
Scope and Contents

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

Box 2 Folder F30
Scope and Contents

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

William R. Fish Ephemera.
Box 3 Folder F31
Scope and Contents

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

A. G. Burton's Sons, Inc. and Butler and Kelly.
Box 3 Folder F32
Scope and Contents

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 Printers

S. J. Clark's Sons, Inc.
Box 3 Folder F33
Scope and Contents

Includes a catalogue of printing samples

Duplex Printing Press Company.
Box 3 Folder F34
Scope and Contents

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

Empire Type Foundry.
Box 3 Folder F35
Scope and Contents

Contains a catalogue of type, paper, inks, and metals used in the printing process

Klapperich and Company.
Box 3 Folder F36
Scope and Contents

Includes a catalogue of Blue Label Fresco Stencils and Letter Patterns

Charles F. Persons, J. W. Ostrander, and Whitlock Cylinder.
Box 3 Folder F37
Scope and Contents

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

Miller and Richard, Edinburgh.
Box 3 Folder F38
Scope and Contents

An Epitome of Specimens of Magazine and Newspaper Founts

Stephenson, Black and Co., London.
Box 3 Folder F39
Scope and Contents

Specimens of Newspaper Founts

Print, Suggest