Journal-News, Wednesday, Dec. 1, 1993
Medieval knight familiar corporate symbol for Champion Papers for about 50 years
By Jim Blount
"The Postmark of Distinctive Trademarks" once was Hamilton's official slogan, and possibly the most visible and most popular of those prestigious symbols was Champion's knight, which first appeared nearly 70 years ago.
Evidence of its familiarity is that some people not directly associated with Champion don't realize the mounted figure was "retired" almost 20 years ago.
Champion management sought an image of strength, reliability and quality when it was decided the Hamilton-based company needed a trademark. The knight -- a part of European history for more than 600 years -- represented stability and longevity.
"Of all the many types of soldier that have appeared on the military stage in the course of history," said Francis Gies in The Knight in History , "none has had a longer career than the knight of the European Middle Ages, and none has had an equal impact on history, social and cultural as well as political."
Gies said among several knightly traits were a striving for excellence, loyalty and "a strong sense of solidarity" -- characteristics stressed by Peter G. Thomson, who built the Hamilton mill, which will observe its 100th anniversary in April 1994.
The knight emerged soon after formation of a corporate advertising department in Hamilton in 1924. E. Kenneth Hunt, Champion advertising manager, hired Charles B. Falls, a New York artist, to design a trademark which would suggest the company name and symbolize leadership, integrity, dignity and strength. Falls created a mounted knight in full armor with a flowing robe and carrying a lance.
The first Champion trademark also featured a motto: "The Champion of organization, equipment & service -- the foundation of quality."
The logo was first used Oct. 19, 1925, in labeling paper made in the Hamilton mill. It was registered March 22, 1927, in the U. S. Patent Office. For nearly 50 years the medieval knight and the accompanying slogan were utilized in a variety of ways, both inside the company and in advertising its products to potential customers.
"It is your trademark -- for your reputation as a worker depends upon its success -- and its success depends upon your work," said Peter G. Thomson in explaining the symbol's relevance in an employee publication. "The Champion trademark is in reality no stronger than the least efficient worker in the Champion mills."
The knight continued to represent the combined company after the Champion Coated Paper Company of Hamilton and the Champion Fibre Company of Canton, N. C. - both founded by Thomson - became the Champion Paper and Fibre Company in 1935.
In July 1961, the company was renamed Champion Papers Inc., and the knight was redesigned and reduced to co-star status.
A new symbol, a stylized CP, was described as evolving from "the continuous web flow of the paper-making process." The explanation said the modernized knight "eliminates detail lines while retaining the familiar outline." Both symbols were produced by the studio of Noel Martin, then Champion's principal design consultant.
Mergers later prompted additional trademark changes and the knight was gradually retired. When it was last used on company documents, labels and advertising is unknown. But the knight's final appearance on the masthead of Chips, the Hamilton mill employee publication, was May 23, 1974.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Dec. 8, 1993
War restrictions brought cigarette shortage and unofficial rationing system in local stores
By Jim Blount
Buying tobacco products, especially cigarettes, required patience and endurance in December 1943. Shortages during the war-time holiday season -- when cigarettes were a popular gift -- imposed an unofficial rationing system in Hamilton and other communities.
Long lines -- some extending more than a block outside Hamilton drug stores and grocery stores -- greeted shoppers trying to buy cigarettes for personal use or as Christmas gifts. When some patrons reached the front of the line, they had to be content with limited purchases and no choice of brand.
"Smoking was at universally high levels throughout the war years among civilians and servicemen alike," noted Paul D. Casdorph in his book on the period. During World War II, tobacco companies shipped 30 percent of their output to the armed services, which comprised only 10 percent of the population.
"The wide usage of tobacco to relieve tension during World War II -- in the days before tranquilizers -- may well explain the upsurge of cancer-related deaths during the 1970s and 1980s," observed Casdorph in Let the Good Times Roll: Life at Home in America during World War II.
Early in the war, tobacco products were plentiful, as evidenced by local advertising.
"All popular brands" $1.49 a carton, advertised Radcliffe's Drug Store (southeast corner of S. Second and High streets) in October 1942. In December, King's Cut Rate Drugs, 208 High Street, featured Camels, Lucky Strikes, Old Golds, Raleighs, Pall Malls, Fleetwoods, Spuds and Chesterfields at $1.50 a carton, including tax and Christmas wrapping. Radcliffe's also advertised a 16-ounce can of pipe tobacco at 72 cents.
By the summer of 1943, popular brands became scarce in some sections of the nation, despite record production of cigarettes. The shortage worsened in December 1943 when shoppers tried to purchase smokes as Christmas gifts.
Stores posted "No Cigarettes" signs until a shipment arrived. Then the news spread quickly and a line formed. Most merchants limited sales, mostly only one, two or three packs per person. Non-smoking family members and friends were enlisted to endure the cold, rain or snow and long wait to buy cigarettes.
Some merchants held packs of the popular brands under the counter for their regular customers, and dealt the off brands to others.
"After two years of war, civilians had not only learned how to cope with shortages and make-do substitutes," said Casdorph, "they had also become adept at circumventing Washington-imposed regulations. By the end of 1943, an under-the-counter black market was operating all over the country to furnish whatever people wanted."
"It was not an organized, illicit operation," he said, but "simply average folks getting around restrictions on wartime living to secure cigarettes, gasoline, scarce food items or rationed clothing."
The supply dwindled in 1944, and by mid July Hamilton merchants reported "an acute shortage" of cigarettes, a situation which continued through the remainder of World War II.
In late November 1944, for example, employees at Champion's Hamilton mill received in their pay envelopes company-produced cigarette ration cards for use in the mill cafeteria. That card could be used between Dec. 4 and Dec. 10, but another would not be honored until Dec. 18, explained a Champion publication. "The extra work necessary in rationing cigarettes is considerable," the company said, "and we ask the cooperation of our employees to make their purchases" between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m.
"Each employee, when presenting a card, may purchase three packs, two of his choice and one of any brand other than Camels or Lucky Strikes," the announcement said. That was an increase of one pack from a previous period because some employees had not redeemed the earlier card. For the Jan. 1-7, 1945, period, the Champion allotment was reduced to one pack per employee.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Dec. 15, 1993
Butler County was called 'Garden of Ohio' as writer-artist surveyed the Buckeye state
By Jim Blount
Henry Howe said "Butler County has been termed 'the Garden of Ohio' " and called Hamilton "a large and flourishing town . . . destined to be an important manufacturing town."
Hamilton was about 50 years old and Ohio and Butler County had been established 43 years when Howe visited in 1846 to gather material for his Historical Collections of Ohio.
The work of the writer-artist -- which was published in 1847 with 177 engravings from his sketches -- sold more than 18,000 copies. Howe's books on Ohio and other states are stilled valued for their first-hand narratives and anecdotes.
Howe, born in New Haven, Conn., developed an appreciation for books as a youth while working in his father's bookstore near the Yale University Campus. But when he was ready for college, his father encountered financial problems.
In 1841 Howe joined John Barber in producing Historical Collections of New York, based on their travels through the state. In 1836 and 1839, Barber had compiled similar volumes on Connecticut and Massachusetts. The New York book's success encouraged them to collaborate on the Historical Collections of New Jersey in 1844. The next year, on his own, Howe produced Historical Collections of Virginia. Then he turned his attention to Ohio, coming to the state in January 1846.
Howe started in Marietta -- the state's first permanent settlement. From there he tried covering the state on foot, but later bought an old white horse, Pomp, and spent more than a year on horseback collecting stories, data and sketches for his book. He visited 79 of Ohio's 83 counties (five new counties later were split from existing ones).
Howe traveled on unimproved roads and slept in log inns and hotels. Their sleeping conditions were so primitive that Howe often slept on the floor under his own blanket and with his knapsack as a pillow.
He searched for early settlers to record their stories, asking the literate to write their recollections so they could be checked. Others he interviewed and took notes. He also made sketches of locations he visited.
In 1847, with completion of the 600-page Ohio volume, Howe returned to New Haven and married Frances A. Tuttle They moved to Cincinnati where Howe continued to write and publish until 1878, when he returned to New Haven. Later, he and his wife resided with a son in Columbus.
With encouragement from prominent Ohioans, including former President Rutherford B. Hayes, he started another trip around Ohio in October 1885.
More than 200 people paid for Howe's new book in advance to help finance his travels, which took him to every county seat, major cities and historic sites. This time he also hired local photographers to take pictures of locations he had sketched in 1846. Much of his writing contrasted Ohio of the 1840s and in the 1880s.
The 72-year-old writer-artist finished his travel in March 1887 and began to produce the two-volume edition with the help of his son, Frank. It was completed in 1891, six years after he started the strenuous project which faced financial hardships.
"No publisher or capitalist, even if I had desired, which I did not, had the courage to unite with me -- the enterprise was too risky, involving years of time and many thousands of expense, its success depending upon the uncertain tenure of the life of a man entering his 70th year," Howe wrote in the introduction to the centennial edition.
Butler County -- including descriptions of Hamilton, Middletown and Oxford -- is profiled on pages 341-358 in volume one of the 1891 edition.
Howe noted that the county's "bottom lands are . . . famed for their immense crops of corn, while the uplands are equally well adapted to wheat and barley." He said the area seemed to have "an unquestioned claim to be styled 'the Garden of Ohio.' "
Howe died two years later, Oct. 14, 1893, in Columbus, "practically penniless," according to an obituary. He is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Columbus, the capital of the state he had so ably chronicled.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Dec. 22, 1993
Christmas in 1901 was somber holiday after fire leveled Champion coating mill
By Jim Blount
Christmas 1901 was a somber event in about 400 homes in the Hamilton area, the holiday coming three days after an $800,000 fire destroyed a fast-growing local industry.
Earlier that year a newspaper had described the Champion Coated Paper Company (now part of Champion International) as a Hamilton business that in five and a half years "has doubled the capacity of its plant six times, and developed from a puny infant into an industrial giant."
Champion started operations in April 1894 on North B Street on part of 187 acres which had been purchased a few years earlier by Peter G. Thomson, founder of the company.
Disaster struck Thomson's paper mill at about 11:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 22, 1901. The Republican-News described it as "the largest fire" and "the heaviest loss" in Hamilton history, leaving the Champion mill "a blackened, wrecked and ruined mass with only the skeletons of burned and charred walls left."
"All else is debris and chaos in the plant proper, saving the office and the west ware room," the newspaper said. Also salvaged was an addition, nearing completion, at the south end of the complex.
Destroyed were the plant's machinery and its "large and valuable stock of paper," including several railroad boxcars loaded and ready for shipment. One of the most spectacular events, according to the hundreds who watched the fire, was the collapse of a 104-foot iron smoke stack, which may have been a lifesaver.
"There was every indication for a time," said a newspaper, "that a terrible explosion would add to the horrors of the Champion fire. The heat caused the great battery of boilers to hiss and roar, and it looked as though it would explode."
"Finally, the big iron stack fell and at once there was a tremendous roar of escaping steam. It is supposed the falling stack broke the steam connection and allowed the steam to escape, thus averting a possible disaster," noted a reporter. There had been a series of small explosions when a chemical room burned, but they did little harm.
The fire started as two workers were "cleaning valves on a platform in the drying room
in the west end of the mill." Each man had a lantern, "which they set down at the foot of a steam radiator while they worked. Suddenly one of the lanterns exploded, scattering oil all through the room."
A slight wind fanned the flames which seemed to "spread through the buildings with almost lightning rapidity" from north to south, a newspaper reported. Fire Chief P. F. Welsh said "it was an awful fire to fight" because "the character of the stock made the heat so terrific."
Water problems hampered Hamilton firemen. "The water pressure," said the Republican-News, "was wretchedly poor, but it later improved, though no amount of water could have stopped the terrible blaze."
"There would have been a much better water service at the fire last night if the new 12-inch main in B Street had been completed. As it was, the trench greatly interfered with the firemen," the newspaper reported.
When the fire struck, plans for a $23,000 sprinkler system were said to have been on the desk of Thomson, who announced after the disaster that "the Champion Coated Paper Company will at once rebuild," promising to "ultimately put up a finer and bigger plant than ever." Thomson also said "we will give employment to as many men as we can, of our present force, clearing up the wreck."
A few weeks later about 500 men were rebuilding the mill, which would be about a third larger than the former building. It was expected to employ about 650 people, a 58 percent increase over the 410 working when the fire struck.
The December 1901 fire wasn't the first or the last setback for the Hamilton mill, which was back in business in June 1902.
In April 1994 Champion's Hamilton mill -- much altered since 1902 -- will mark 100 years of operation.
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Journal-News, Wednesday, Dec. 29, 1993
Slot machines, once numerous in Hamilton, led to police department investigation in 1938
By Jim Blount
Thanks to the recent approval of Indiana voters, legalized gambling will soon be within an hour drive of Hamilton. One of the attractions on the Ohio River casinos will be slot machines -- once prominent, but illegal in Hamilton.
Gambling reports prompted Hamilton City Council in May 1938 to investigate the Hamilton police department. Most of the witnesses, according to transcripts, were operators of local saloons and grocery, candy, cigar and drug stores who admitted having slot machines in their businesses. The investigation centered around these questions:
# 1. "Whether slot machines, gambling and vice have been permitted to operate in Hamilton with police department knowledge?"
# 2. "Whether one slot machine operator has been favored by the police department over all other operators of gambling devices, and whether police activity has tended to give this one operator a monopoly on all gambling?"
# 3. "Whether police have offered special privileges to certain store proprietors if these proprietors would handle a certain product?"
"I certainly do," answered one man when asked if he believed slot machines, gambling and vice operate with police department knowledge?
"The reason I think that," he explained, "is because all you do is drive down the street and you can see them. You don't even have to go in, and if the police department was on the job, they certainly would see those things." He said machines are placed "so that if you were driving down the street, you could look in and see them."
Some witnesses said police had told them to remove their machines and gave them at least 24 hours to comply. Others said the one-armed bandits had been confiscated, but they were able to recover the machines and the money in them.
Several witnesses agreed that three rivals owned and controlled the slot machines in Hamilton, and one was said to have placed 200 machines throughout the city, usually sharing the income on a 50-50 basis with the owner of each bar or store.
Most machines -- available second-hand for $25 to $50 -- required a penny, nickel or dime to play. Income was said to be about $10 to $15 a week on nickel machines, but some confiscated machines contained $75 to $80 in coins.
The questioning also produced reports of punch boards, numbers jars and other forms of gambling in the city. Council also heard that children were allowed to play the slots. One youth testified that a store near a parochial school had a box beside the slot machines so children could stand on it and reach the lever.
A few subpoenaed witnesses failed to appear, causing a councilman to ask a saloon and grocery operator if "anyone threatened you not to come up here and testify?"
"No," he replied, and then added that "there were two or three (unknown men) come to my place and said they thought I shouldn't come up, that I might have to take a ride or something," which he discounted as "a bunch of men talking."
A practical nurse said "I have had calls over the phone threatening me not to be here tonight." The anonymous calls came after she complained about selective enforcement of slot machine laws.
The woman had reported the locations of several slot machines because she "was informed how a certain operator was treated, and I couldn't understand why they would pick up just one slot machine when there were so many others." She had compiled a list of "the location of 30 slot machines, just where they were sitting and the addresses of the places" and had taken the list to the city manager.
When she charged that a police captain "is the payoff man," she was interrupted by a defensive councilman who called it "hearsay evidence" and said "you can't prove a thing."
One witness complained that the campaign against the slot machines -- encouraged by local clergy -- was hurting bartenders. About 75 bartenders, he said, had lost jobs or had hours cut because of the removal of slot machines.
The police chief was asked if he had "any plan by which you can completely eliminate gambling" in Hamilton? "I don't think it can be done," he replied. "If we arrested everybody that actually gambled," the chief said, "I don't believe your jail would hold them."
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