August 3 – Happy Birthday Herbert T Singer

herbert_singer_c_mediumHerbert T. Singer was the youngest son of a former Big Apple postal clerk named Abraham Singer. In 1898, before there was a Zip Code, Abraham put a small printing press in the back room of his New York City apartment and began producing packs of “practice cards” for his co-workers who sorted the mail that trains used to carry around the country back then. These cards displayed the name of the post office on one side and the railroad and county location of that post office on the reverse side. Abraham Singer ended up moving to Amsterdam in 1909, where he continued both his career as a postal clerk and his practice card business in a small barn located behind 339 Division Street. He also started taking on more and more commercial printing work. By 1914 he needed more room so he purchased a former broom factory on the corner of Liberty and Forbes Street in the same building that until just recently served as the Central Administration headquarters of the Greater Amsterdam School District.

In 1919, Abraham’s two oldest sons, B. Barrett and Everett joined their father’s business and moved the company into the sale of advertising specialties. Simply put, an ad specialty is any product used for any purpose that also includes a printed advertising message. Calendars, appointment books and pens are each traditional examples of ad specialty products. They are typically handed out free to customers and prospects and each time they are used by those individuals, the ad printed on the product is seen again and again.

In 1927, today’s Amsterdam Birthday Blog Celebrant, the youngest of the three Singer brothers, would also join the company. A decade later, Abraham died and the three brothers formed a partnership that would propel Amsterdam Printing and Litho on a path of growth that would evolve the family’s business into one of the largest Ad Specialty company’s in the world.

They were pioneers and expert practitioners in the field of direct mail, using the US Postal Service to deliver their promotional mailings to hundreds of thousands of prospects around the country. The company’s direct mail kept the Amsterdam Post Office busy and profitable for decades.

In 1960, the firm that started in the tiny back room of a Manhattan apartment was moved …

You can read the rest of my story about this patriarch of Amsterdam Printing & Litho in my new book “A Year’s Worth of Amsterdam Birthdays.” To order your copy, click here.

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