||The Ault & Wiborg Co. Printing Inks
Brown and Orange and Flower Pots
The Ault & Wiborg Company, a manufacturer of printing inks and dry color dyes and pigments, was established in 1878 in Cincinnati, Ohio. Levi Addison Ault was born in Ontario in November 1851, one of seven children of a French-Canadian cloth manufacturer whose family lived in the village of Mille Roches on the St. Lawrence River.
In his late teens, he left home with an older brother, settling in Wisconsin, where he worked for a railroad and as a bookkeeper for several companies. After his brother
moved to Cincinnati, Ault joined him here in 1876 to take a job with a dealer in lampblack, pitch and rosins. During his two years there, he became the company's top salesman. What he learned about the lampblack operation gave him an idea for a business that he hoped to start - ink manufacturing - provided he could find an investor.
Frank Bestow Wiborg, had been born in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1855, the son of Henry P. Wiborg, a Norwegian immigrant. He left home to seek his fortune and found his way to
Cincinnati, where he was admitted to the Chickering Institute, a select college preparatory academy emphasizing the classics and sciences. Wiborg graduated in 1874, paying his way by peddling newspapers, and got work as a salesman for Levi Ault, impressing him with his abilities.
Wiborg was willing to put up $10,000 capital as an equal partner with Ault, so Ault launched the Ault & Wiborg Co. in July 1878 and boldly told friends he was to become the
top producer and distributor of inks and lithograph supplies in America, perhaps the world. The first plant was a small building on New Street in Cincinnati. After five years
the business did so well that Ault took his wife on a delayed honeymoon trip to Europe, the first of many worldwide voyages. These travels led Ault to establish sales offices
in Toronto, London, Buenos Aires, Shanghai, and Manila. The company motto was "Hic et Ubique", meaning Here and Everywhere.
In its early years, Ault & Wiborg capitalized on two innovations - the use of coal-tar dyes to produce brightly colored inks and the development of lithography. Both
developments helped to expand the ink business beyond the simple black product that had been produced for centuries. Around 1890 the company hired its first chemist, a
German named Rose, and then Robert Hochstetter, an American who had studied in Germany. Hochstetter saw the possibilities of litho reds as ink pigments. They were
inexpensive, nonbleeding, fast and bright and became widely used under the name "U.S. Reds." The firm also introduced "Reflex Blues" and many other special colors. It
pioneered in lithography, rotogravure, steel die and mimeograph printing, carbon papers, and typewriter ribbons.