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Laura Gamble

Left side shows engraved printing. Right side shows halftone printing.

Peter G.Thomson (1851-1931)

Marriage to Laura Gamble

In 1875 Peter married Laura Gamble of Louisville Kentucky. According to family lore, Peter’s mother asked him to leave work early on a Saturday, when he worked for the Robert Clark Company, to escort her and her friends to a matinee. Laura Gamble, in Cincinnati visiting a family friend, was included in this group. On the final night of her stay, Peter took her to Pike's Opera House. Laura returned home to Louisville, but they continued a courtship from a distance. Peter later proposed. Family members say they had seen each other only seven times before their wedding day.

In 1882 they started to publish children’s books and games. Later, valentines were added. The children's books sold for a dime.

This business was so successful that it was bought by the McLaughlin Brothers of Brooklyn, N. Y., in an effort to end Thomson’s competition in children's publications. Enough was made from this sale that Peter could move his family from downtown Cincinnati to College Hill in 1884.

The Beginnings of The Champion Coated Paper Company

While Peter G. Thomson was publishing, the printing industry was undergoing vast changes led by the invention of the halftone process. This printing process used tiny dots of varying size to render a detailed picture rather than engraved lines.

This new process required paper smoother than any available at that time. With his experience as a printer, Thomson realized that a high quality and inexpensive supply of such paper would have an unlimited potential market.

Thomson seized the opportunity and Champion Coated Paper Co was incorporated in 1893. Champion Coated Paper began in Hamilton Ohio, along the Great Miami River, about 20 miles north of Cincinnati.

One of Thomson's strengths was constant innovation, seeking more effective and less expensive ways for production. Peter G. had three maxims: establish a good credit and then use it as much as you can; keep constantly plugging; there is no luck connected with success, nor any secret. The surest way is to work hard.

Through W.W. II, Champion remained the largest coated paper manufacturer plant in the U.S.

For a more complete history of Champion Paper, click here.

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