In January 1867, A. O. Russell, Robert J. Morgan, James
M. Armstrong and John F. Robinson Jr. formed a partnership to go into the
printing business. Russell and Morgan were printers while Robinson and Armstrong
were financial backers. They purchased the printing section of The Cincinnati
Enquirer which was known as the Enquirer Job Printing Rooms. The 'printing
rooms' occupied the first and second stories of the building at 20 College
Street in Cincinnati, Ohio.. The company operated as Russell, Morgan &
Co., referring to the two printers in the partnership.
The company initially printed theatrical and circus
posters, placards and labels. By 1872, the business had increased so much,
it was forced to seek larger quarters, and in November 1872, it moved into
a new four-story building.
Early in 1880, Russell proposed to his partners that
they add the equipment to manufature playing cards. The partners agreed and
arrangements were made to add two additional stories to their building, making
it six stories high. New machines were designed and built expressly for Russell,
Morgan & Co. The first deck of playing cards was completed on June 28,
1881. About 20 employees manufactured 1600 packs per day.
In 1891, Russell, Morgan and Company changed their name
to The United States Printing Company.
Their signature on their prints was U.S. Printing Co. but their kept their
name prominent by adding in large letters Russell Morgan Print. NOTICE: the
photo on the right where you can see above the Russell Morgan Print where
is says U. S. Printing Co. The image is blurry but I haven't been able to
find a better one yet.
expanded their business by acquiring other operating print companies, such
as: The Standard Playing Card Co (Chicago), Perfection Card Co (New York)
and New York Consolidated Cards. These acquisitions made them one of the largest
printing operations in the country. NOTICE: the photo on the left from 1903
which shows 4 plants (from the top left and going counter clockwise) from
Cincinnati, New York, St. Louis, and Chicago.
By 1894, the playing card business had become so large
that it was separated from the Printing Company, becoming The United States
Playing Card Company. This company is still in existance today and is the
largest manufacturer of playing cards in the world, making such brands as
Bee, Bicycle, Hoyle and Aviator.
U. S. Printing Co. continued with their printing operation
until 1901 when they changed their name to
United States Lithograph Co. They abbreviated their name to U. S. Lithograph
Co but used the same type of logo for their signature. (Yes, I know that
it is just as blurry as the other one)... but NOTICE: just above the Russell
Morgan Print now says, U. S. Lithograph Co. They maintained printing offices
in Cincinnati and New York and continued printing for the entertainment industry.
NOTICE: on the left is an excellent example of their
posters from the 1903 production of Wizard of Oz. You can click on the image
to see a larger shot so you can see their logo in the bottom right.
The company later changed it's name to the United States
Printing & Lithograph Co. It was between 1912 and 1914 because you can
see the Russell Morgan logo on the 6 sheet of the Selig film in 1912 of Kings
of the Forest. The poster for A
Good Little Devil in 1914 was Mary Pickford first feature film had U.
S. Printing & Lithograph tag across the bottom but didn't carry the Russell
Morgan logo. They printing for such studios as Famous Players Lasky and Triangle
Click here to see their posters in our archive.