American Graphic Arts has a long history of commitment to the graphic arts industry. Originally formed in the 1920s, the Weinstein family bought and sold used graphic arts machinery.
H. Weinstein Machinery Company Christmas Party, December 24, 1936
Specializing in die cutting and lithographic presses, the H. Weinstein Company thrived in a rapidly growing graphic arts industry. Mr. Weinstein's nephew, Sidney White, joined the company in the 1930s and the H. Weinstein Machinery Company was forever changed.
Over the next several decades, Sidney White expanded the customer base and product mix. Sidney was responsible for moving the company from Manhattan to Elizabeth, New Jersey in the early 1970s. Later in the 1970s, Sidney White met a young, energetic man named John Jacobson at a bookbindery in Moonachie, New Jersey. John Jacobson had been the plant engineer at the Tapley Rutter Company for several years. He started his career at the JF Tapley Company in Brooklyn, which merged with the Russell Rutter Company to form Tapley Rutter. The Tapley Rutter Company made some of the finest Bibles and extra bound books worldwide. The close attention to fine detail and workmanship was admired and imitated throughout the industry.
Sidney met John Jacobson during a plant visit and the two quickly hit it off. John was offered a job and American Graphic Arts, Inc. was once again forever changed. John brought a strong engineering background in bookbinding machinery to the table and that made a fine addition to the used machinery line available from AGA.
Extra bound books by Tapley Rutter
In 1985, the White Family sold AGA to John Jacobson and once again the future direction of AGA was forever changed. At this time AGA delved more into equipment rebuilding and custom retrofitting. In 1987, John Jacobson Jr. joined the company after graduating from the Rochester Institute of Technology. In the coming years, AGA added a complete machine shop and became heavily involved in equipment rebuilding and custom work. In 1991, Kevin Jacobson joined the company after graduating from Rutgers University.
With two sons to feed, John Sr. was now at an important crossroad. In the early 1990s it become difficult to find the type of used machinery that had become our mainstay. We put our heads together and thought: Why don't we start manufacturing our own line of machinery? We started with a simple hand Casemaking Line that consisted of a Stomper Turning In machine, a Slider Case gauge combined with a Potdevin Gluer and a Rotary Press.
First Casemaking Line
With the advent of on demand printing technology the book publishing business model would be forever changed, and in May of 1997 AGA took the initiative and moved forward. We decided to introduce a complete line of hard cover equipment to supplement our shrinking used equipment business. These machines would be a nice addition to our used equipment business, and once again the future of AGA was forever changed.
The 1997 On Demand Digital Printing and Publishing show would be the ideal place to introduce our new line of equipment. After many sleepless nights and long hours, we completed the first set up of machinery just a few hours before the show opened.
On Demand Digital Printing & Publishing Show - NYC - May 1997
At the show, we met many representatives from the Xerox Corporation who provided great insight to the on demand marketplace and offered many words of encouragement that led us to continue our efforts. After the show, we formed a new company called On Demand Machinery that would become our marketing vehicle for the new ODM line of on demand hard cover bookbinding machinery.
In the coming years, the ODM equipment line would be a nice edition to our used equipment business. Our long roots in the used equipment business gave us a huge advantage in designing new equipment. After rebuilding machinery for many years, we knew what worked and what did not work on these types of bookbinding machines. This is a perspective that our competitors were certainly lacking.
As each year passed, the on demand printing market would continue to grow while the used machinery business would continue to shrink. Companies such as Lightning Source and MyPublisher would emerge as leaders in the on demand book business and many would soon follow their lead.
We have continued to expand our product line of new machinery and in the year 2006, ODM new equipment sales were 90% of overall sales. The huge growth in the on demand book market and the emerging photo book segment of this industry has generated a tremendous amount of business. ODM machines have significantly become more technologically advanced, without straying from our original premise of keeping ODM machines simple and backing them with the best customer service and tech support in the industry and this will never change!
Print 05, Chicago, IL September 2005
Our most significant achievement is being able to successfully design and manufacture ODM equipment on American soil. It is with great pleasure that we state all ODM machinery is made with pride in U.S.A.
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