Chapter 1:

The Genesis

Throughout the developed world of the 1960s, many a small company came to life. For many reasons, these small family run enterprises were created - not by destiny - but rather through events that contrived to force the hand of an individual. This is how our company started – one event forced the individual to create something new.

H. William Howard, Bill as he was known, had previously been happily employed with a company called Toronto Type Foundry (TTF). This firm was Canada’s largest printing machinery distributor and had a legacy going back over 100 years. Bill enjoyed working for TTF as a salesman. Prior to this, he was employed for seven years with F.S. Tanzer Limited as the company's Montreal representative. Still prior to that, Bill worked for Gaston Lefebvre at Printing Materials. These companies served as the sales portion of Bill’s education, because in actuality Bill was a pressman.

After leaving school in England, Bill’s father, Tom, procured an apprenticeship at the firm E.G Berryman in London, England.   At the young age of 14, Bill began his seven-year indenture which was completed just in time for the outbreak of World War II in 1939. The next seven-years had Bill in the army as a “gravel crusher”.  Corporal by rank, Bill saw action in France, Holland and finally Germany following right behind the British Commando units as they crossed the Rhine.

On de-mob, Bill found life in London less than ideal and like so many servicemen returning from war, looked for a new start.  First thoughts were Boston, USA. Bill arrived there but for whatever reason chose instead to head north to Canada where he settled in Montreal, Quebec. Finding jobs in print was easy in those days especially for an Englishman who was highly trained and skilled. Billeted at the local YMCA, Bill worked for Ronalds Federated and was on a crew printing via letterpress, the Reader’s Digest magazine.   After a few years, the opportunity of a sales position presented itself and Bill began his career in the machinery sector.

The 50’s in Canada and especially Montreal was magical. Many immigrants poured into Canada’s largest city and this stimulated a giant growth spurt that lasted till the mid 60’s when the city of Toronto started to grow. Toronto grew really on the backs of what the government of Quebec discarded. Many businesses started to move out of Montreal heading down the highway to Toronto. This was due to a growing hostility towards non francophones disguised as cultural protection for the French populace. Besides Toronto, cities like Vancouver also reaped the benefits of a draconian government.

Off to Toronto in 1964, went the Howard family as Bill who had been working for F.S. Tanzer transferred to the quiet bedroom community of Cooksville.   Shortly after, TTF came calling and this proved to be the last company Bill worked for. TTF had represented the MGD Co. (Miehle-Goss-Dexter) of Chicago for a great many years, but MGD announced they would for the first time sell direct.

The ownership of TTF had some decisions to make - do they find a replacement supplier or do they just wind down and close. The decision TTF made was fortuitous because they decided to wind down. It is almost certain that had TTF stayed in business Bill would have completed his working life and retired with them – that’s how much he enjoyed working for TTF.   But, as hard as it was back in 1966 to start anew, that’s exactly what Bill did.

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