Hallwyler Printing Company

First Day of Issue Envelope -- 1960.jpg

In a random internet search for some printing related items, I came upon a listing on the UK eBay site for a “Dated 1960 Cover Portland Hallwyler Printing Company” envelope. The image above is what turned up — quite a specimen of composition work, with its presses and people built out of type! This particular company has been on my list of print shops to research, as it has been mentioned by others as a major player in the print scene in Portland during the mid-1900s.

Hallwyler Printing Company was founded in 1926 by Fred O. Hallwyler (1901-1978). Fred was the son of Swiss immigrants who came to the US when they were in their mid-twenties. Shortly thereafter Fred was born. He began his printing career at the Portland Daily News Telegram, and worked through the ranks to become a master typographer. Not much information on the early years of the Hallwyler company is available, but it is noted that Fred’s father, Gottlieb, also worked at the shop. By the mid-1950s business seemed to have been thriving, and in 1955 an expansion added 10,000 sq feet to their existing facility at 1020 E. Burnside. The building extension filled out the block to 10th Avenue, ultimately changing their address to 10 SE Tenth.

A feel-good story in the Oregonian in 1957 tells the tale of a high school student who recovers a fire-proof safe from an overgrown lot in North Portland. It turns out to belong to Hallwyler Printing and had been stolen from the shop in the middle of the night, hauled away in the company truck by an opportunistic burglar. The safe contained only the company records and no money, but was returned unopened anyway. The boy who found it and turned it in was rewarded with $50 which he used to rent a tux for his Junior prom at Roosevelt high school. Fred and his wife, Alice, apparently delivered the check in person.

At this time Fred’s son Robert was working for the company in a management role. Hallwyler was a well-respected job shop in Portland, and both Fred and Robert were elected as officers for the Oregon Printing Industry professional association at various times. Fred served as secretary in 1956, and Robert held the office of president in 1961.

In 1966, the Hallwyler Printing Company announced a merger with Agency Lithograph Company, and stock was exchanged between the two companies. Later in that same year, the firms took part in the historic expansion of the Graphic Arts Center, wherein they joined with Abbott Kerns & Bell, Paul O. Giesey Adcrafters, and Meredith Type Founders at a newly constructed facility at 20th and NW Wilson. This combination formed one of the most historically renowned job & advertising print organizations in Portland.


Got more info on Hallwyler Printing? Or photos of this historic shop? Send it all along to us to be added to this bio. We’re slowly building an archive of Portland print history.