Vintage Ads Inspired by Dad

In honor of Father’s Day, we scoured the archives for our favorite vintage advertisements that we think the most dashing dads would adore. From business papers to wedding proposals, we certainly thought exquisite stationery was the mark of a true gentleman.

A good business man treats stationery not as an office expense but as part of the advertising budget.

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A true gentleman is the marrying type (and marries a woman who writes on Crane). 

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A true gentleman recites the kind of poetry that demands an audience.

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A good business man knows the importance of branding.

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A true gentleman reads his correspondence in a top hat and tails.

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A good business man corresponds with clients with dignity and distinction.

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How To: Identify a Printing Process

We often get asked the differences between the various printing processes we use to craft our stationery, especially between engraving and thermography. Of course, the best way to tell the difference is to pay a visit to your local stationer so you can feel the difference. However, below we’ve outlined all of the different processes and what makes them unique.

Engraving is the finest, most distinct form of three-dimensional “raised printing.” No other paper manufacturer offers our engraving quality, craftsmanship and level of service.

As a highly skilled craft dating back to the 16th century, engraving conveys an unspoken message of distinction and timelessness. It has a warmth and elegance all its own. Running your fingers over a piece of engraved stationery reveals the textures unique to engraving — finely detailed, raised letters with slight indentations on the reverse side of the paper. There is no substitute for true engraving.

engraved hot air balloon

How it Works

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Post Script: Our Finishing Department

The holiday season is the busiest time of year at Crane. Our factory is bustling with Christmas card and invitation orders, and our printing presses are humming as ink is fixed to paper. Again and again and again.

Once the ink dries, the orders are sent off to the Finishing Department, where ribbons are tied, envelopes are lined and cards are duplexed (a process that involves affixing a smaller sized paper stock atop a larger sized paper stock to create a layered look).

crane & co. envelope liners

Below, we talked with four women in Finishing — who work hard to make sure every detail is just so — about Presidential inaugurations, letters from loved ones and brand new puppies.

finising dept ladies

Tell me about how you ended up at Crane.
Nancy Randall:  started working for Crane when I was 20 years old. I had worked in retail previously but I like the work schedule Crane offered and the pay was better than retail.

Adriene Davine: I came to Crane out of high school.

Becky Riley: When I first started at Crane, I worked in [envelope] Liners. When I was hired full time, I moved to Inspection.

Lori Mulder: My husband worked at Crane and encouraged me to apply.

Tell me what a typical day is like in the Finishing Department.
LM: Busy.

BR & AD: Very busy!

What is your favorite part of the job?
NR & BR: Tying ribbons.

crane & co. ribbon baby announcement

AD: Making sure the order is correct and watching what people order.

LM: Working with my co-workers — they are a great group of people.

And the most challenging?
NR: Duplexing* a card that has a ribbon around it. It is more difficult to keep it consistent.

crane & co. duplex card

LM: Hitting the deadline to ship at 6 p.m. Most orders are time sensitive and need to ship the same day that the order arrived in Assembly.

What do you see most of come through the Finishing Department during the holidays?
BR: Most orders involve ribbons, which are on the majority of orders at Christmas. There are also many photo digital cards.

LM: Digital pictures or photo mount pictures with added ribbon. They come out beautiful.

Describe the most elaborate job you have ever had to work on.
NR: A wedding invitation with the invitation card being duplexed after having a ribbon wrapped around it and the base card was an engraved folder.

AD: The inauguration of President Bill Clinton.

BR: A Princess wedding where each invitation was in a separate box that we tied with a ribbon, tissue closed for 2,000.

LM: A bat mitzvah. We had a program with seven inserts and furnished ribbon. We have to collate on two long tables to make sure that every page was correct. The customer wanted two pieces of the ribbon tied at once with the narrow ribbon on top and wide chiffon on the bottom, then had to twist and turn the ribbon in order for everything to be the same.

What are you doing when you are not at Crane?
NR: I spend time with my daughters and granddaughters, I attend a fitness class, go out with friends and take walks.

AD: Taking care of my four-month-old puppy.

BR: I enjoy cooking and baking mostly. I love animals and find them very entertaining.

What is one thing most people don’t know about you?
NR: The one thing most people don’t know about me is I can be analytical of people and why they are the way they are.

AD: How religious I am.

BR: It is a secret — that is why they don’t know.

LM: I collect statues and pictures of the Blessed Mother.

Tell me about the most memorable letter you’ve ever received?
NR: From my youngest daughter when she was at boot camp for the Air Force. She didn’t have a lot of time to write but she tried to put as much as she could explain quickly about how things were there and re-assuring me that she was okay.

AD: From an old boyfriend that I met on cruise ship.

BR: It was a letter from my niece thanking me for a blanket I made for her son. This made me feel special. She also sent a picture with the baby loving his new blanket.

LM: When I was a teenager, my brother joined the Navy and was stationed in Italy. I loved his letters telling me about his adventures and the people he met there. This was back in the 80′s when cell phones were not invented yet.

All photos taken by the wonderfully talented Dan Morgan.

How Our Engraved Stationery Comes to Life

We recently took a spin around the factory floor and came across one of our talented press artisans engraving custom cards for Cartier. Thoughtfully, he laid out all of the elements and layers that an engraved card boasting four ink colors goes through to obtain perfection. Which, we must say, this card certainly possesses.

First, the engraving plate is made.
cartier bird engraving platesThe card is then run through the engraving press one time for each ink color.

cartier bird printing stagesEt voila, an exquisitely engraved bird for the most special correspondence.

cartier bird final

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From the Archives: Presidential Stationery

This post is the first in a new series we’re calling “From the Archives.” We’ve been the choice of stationery for presidents and princes, dignitaries and duchesses, starlets and CEOs. We like to think this is the case because not only have we been making fine papers since 1801, but also because of our commitment to classic craftsmanship and attention to detail. As we like to say, when it’s Crane, it’s right.

Many people don’t know that we have often printed the stationery, invitations and announcements for the White House. So we thought we would highlight a selection of our favorites here. Take a look, and feel fee to envision yourself receiving one of these in the post box. We know we did.

  • A Presidential dinner invitation

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The Making Of: Our 2012 Personalized Holiday Card Collection

It is indeed the most wonderful time of the year. So when our design team finally unveils the new collection of personalized holiday cards, it feels like, well, Christmas.

We must say they’ve quite outdone themselves this year, keeping with a classic, traditional look and color palette that showcases our elegant design and craftsmanship so well.

“This year we dipped into our archives to celebrate our heritage,” said VP of Creative and Product Development Rachel V. Ivey. “It has been great to look back at traditional American Christmas of the past.”

Here’s how our 2012 Personalized Holiday Collection came to be…

  • Colors

personalized holiday card colors

Our design team achieved the classic, traditional look of our distinguished holiday cards by using a core palette of Hunter green, medium gold and red. A hint of shimmering platinum adds an additional metallic to the mix.

  • Inspiration

personalized holiday card inspiration

Home decor and botanicals have provided inspiration for many of our cards throughout the years. It reminds us of our own homes during the holidays. For example, the Holiday Door design — new for this year — was inspired by the home of an employee.

engraved holiday door card

The wreath below is an example of taking vintage art and altering it for a whole new look. For 2012, we enlarged the design and printed in three-color letterpress with foil accents on our Lettra® paper.

engraved wreath holiday card

Many of the designs this year were enhanced by using multi-level model dies. The use of these dies in the engraving process gives added dimension to the card. The Classic Wreath is an excellent example of how a model die can make a beautiful design look even more dramatic.

“Christmas is a great season for Crane to showcase all of our incredible processes,” said Ivey. “We love our classic designs for which consumers come back year after year.”

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The Making Of: Signature Collection

Koi fish copper engraving dye.

In this edition of “The Making Of” we take a look at our new Signature Collection and how it went from just an idea to an exquisitely crafted piece of stationery. Engraved and paired with envelope liners imported from India, this collection is one that should only find its way into the hands of the most appreciative stationery connoisseur.

The Signature Collection began as inspiration from a far away land. If you have traveled to the Far East, it was our creative team’s hope that the designs would take you back. If you haven’t been, the rich culture they have re-created via correspondence will certainly inspire you to make the trip.

First, the team curated a color palette. Red and gold, the iconic colors of Asia, serve as the core hues while shades of aqua were pulled from nature and Asian artwork.
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Crane & Co. and America: Our Made-in-the-U.S.A. History

Give Us Liberty

crane & co. liberty paper mill

Liberty Paper Mill.

More than 200 years ago, Stephen Crane decided to make a statement. And it wasn’t with his fashion forward breeches or well-groomed mutton chops. It was, rather, with the name of a paper mill he opened in 1770. He called it the Liberty Paper Mill and, for purveyors of our American heritage, was named so just two years after the British occupied Boston. – and just five miles away. A tres bold move, if we do say so ourselves.

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Post Script: Jackie Brown, Monogram Artist

Like chocolate and peanut butter or Fred and Ginger, stationery and monograms just work perfectly together. Making sure that they do is our resident monogram artist, Jackie Brown.

Whether you’re into swirly or straight, diminutive or daring, she can turn initials into works of art. A monogram, after all, is the ultimate expression of individuality. So it made sense, then, that we get personal about, well, getting personal.

When did your interest in the monogram begin?
My interest in monograms began shortly after being hired by Crane. I was hoping to develop an art-based career. I found such an opportunity in making monograms. Monograms allowed me to become creative, thereby making them my art.

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