Encyclopedia ofChicago
Entries : Dick (A. B.) Co.
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Dick (A. B.) Co.

 

 

 

Dick (A. B.) Co.

Albert B. Dick, who started a lumber business in Chicago in 1883, soon left that field to pioneer the manufacture of mimeograph machines, which were based on a design by Thomas Edison. The first of these primitive copiers were cranked by hand; eventually, Dick introduced larger and more automated models. In 1918, the company established the “Ditto” trademark. By the mid-1930s, Dick employed about 900 people in the Chicago area. In 1949, the company moved its headquarters to suburban Niles, where it opened a new plant. During the 1960s, Dick's mimeograph technology lost out to the new copy methods pioneered by Haloid/Xerox. By the mid-1970s, when Dick's annual sales approached $300 million, it had about 3,000 workers in the Chicago area. In 1979, the company was purchased by General Electric Co. of Great Britain. In the late 1990s, over a century after it was founded, A. B. Dick still called Chicago home; as a division of Nesco Inc. of Cleveland, it was a supplier of printing and graphics equipment, with about 1,000 employees.