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W.J. CRYER & CO., COMMERCIAL & ART PRINTERS, REDFERN, SYDNEY

This cover has a colourful and stylized advertisement for W.J. Cryer & Co. Pty. Ltd. Commercial & Art Printers, 99 Marriott St, Redfern (Sydney). It has a green 1½d QE stamp with a roller cancel of REDFERN/ 5 30 PM/ 11 OCT/ 1946/ N.S.W. AUST. with a slogan SEND MONEY/ BY POSTAL NOTE/ OR MONEY ORDER. The reverse was not seen (Figure 1).

The growth of W. J. Cryer & Co., from its small beginning in 1903 to its present position among the largest and most progressive printing establishments in Australia is a magnificent example of Australian enterprise and ingenuity combined with unswerving loyalty of employees. The story of W. J. Cryer & Co. had its beginning in 1862 when, at Manchester, England, was born Walter James Cryer. His parents moving to Liverpool, where attended a public school until he was eleven, when he commenced work as an errand boy. He entered the printing world, being bound as an apprentice to the then well-known firm, F. M. Jones & Co., Printers, Derby Road, Bootle.

It is on record that W. J. Cryer "served his time to the utmost satisfaction, and he remained a considerable time in the capacity of foreman." Having a desire to gain knowledge and experience in fine work, he took up a postion with Mr. Howden, Printer, in College Lane. Afterwards he was employed for some time in the business at Red Cross Street by Messrs. McCorquodale & Co. At the end of 1862, Mr. Cryer left Liverpool and came to Australia, and on arrival accepted a position with Mr. A. W. Beard. He transferred his services to the firm of Gibbs, Shallard & Co., Hosking Place, Sydney, being appointed leading compositor on fine work. In the early hours of 2nd October, 1890, a fire occurred in the premises of Messrs. Gibbs, Shallard & Co., and proved one of the most disastrous known in Sydney.

Consequent upon the total destruction of the business, Mr. Cryer became Factory manager for Messrs. John Andrew & Co. "The Art Printer," London, August, 1896, and a tribute to Mr. Cryer’s ability as a craftsman was described as "His productions speak for themselves, both as regards good taste and effectiveness, and have won for him a reputation second to none amongst the trade at the Antipodes as an artistic and master-craftsman. By virtue of his business acumen and integrity, his ability as a craftsman and his qualities as a citizen, Mr. W. J. Cryer gained for himself recognition as a Master Printer and a respected place in the social and commercial life of Sydney.

In 1934, the Company suffered a severe loss by the death of Mr. Cryer, Senior. He had maintained an active interest in the business, although leadership had for some time devolved upon Mr. Walter J. Cryer, Junior. His father had realised the fulfillment of his ambition to found a business which would continue to play a part in the future of the country he had come to love. In 1903, Cryer senior had become associated with Mr. J. Brunton Gibbs and on the 26th February the business of "Gibbs, Cryer & Co.," was founded as Printers and Publishers, at Hamilton Street, Sydney. As early as 1904 the business had outgrown the Hamilton Street room, and a move was made to larger premises at 169 Castlereagh Street. In 1920, Mr. Cryer purchased Mr. Burton Gibbs interest, the firm’s name then changing to W. J. Cryer & Co. Demand for the Company’s products was rapidly increasing and in 1935 the large modern building at Marriott Street, Redfern was completed, and the transference of the business was carried out. In 1939, a second property was acquired adjoining, and thus was completed "Cryterion House". A picture of the firm at 99 Marriott Street, Redfern is seen in Figure 2.



 

On this second property, is a two storey factory and an extensive residence for the caretaker and catering requirements for employees. Though it was considered that the buildings in Redfern would provide adequate space for the Company’s needs, in 1948 it was necessary to re-occupy a portion of the premises at Arnold Place, still owned by the Company. It was while the business was located in Castlereagh Street that Mr. Walter J. Cryer (II), began his apprenticeship in 1908.  Having completed his apprenticeship, he decided to go abroad for further experience, so he worked his way to America and, after twelve months, returned to take on the responsibilities of Factory Manager. In 1919 Mr. C. Stuart Cryer (later, Managing Director), younger son of the Founder, became associated with the business, and in 1923 the business was formed into a Limited Liability Company.

In 1928, Mr. Cryer, Senior, had attained twenty-five years as a "Master Printer" and to celebrate the occasion his friends in the printing and allied trades gave him a Silver Jubilee dinner. Tribute was paid to his accomplishments as a Master Printer, and expressions of appreciation were conveyed to him for the valuable service rendered as a member of the Executive Committee of the N.S.W. Master Printers. He served continuously on this Committee from 1915 up to the time of his death. He was succeeded as a member of the Executive Committee by his son, Mr. Walter J. Cryer (II), until 1943, who, in turn was succeeded by his brother, Mr. C. Stuart Cryer, who was also President of the Association for the years 1947-49. In 1934, Mr. W. J. Cryer (III), son of Mr. Walter J. Cryer, and grandson of Mr. W. J. Cryer, Senior, entered the business, serving an apprenticeship as did his father. A picture of Walter J. Cryer in his office is seen in Figure 3.
 


Thus a third generation of the Cryer family became associated with the firm. Upon the death of the Founder in 1934, his son, Mr. Walter J. Cryer, was appointed Managing Director. Mr. W. J. Cryer (III), was appointed to the Board in 1940. Mr. Walter J. Cryer (II), on medical advice, allowed, from 1943 onwards, the active oversight of the business to be transferred to his younger brother, Mr. C. Stuart Cryer. The death of Mr. Walter J. Cryer (II) occurred in 1946. He had greatly expanded the business patterned on the founder’s original plans. In 1946, Mr. C. Stuart Cryer succeeded his brother as Managing Director, and Cecil E. Slinn, a grandson of the original founder, was, in 1951, appointed to the Board.

It has ever been a major objective of the Company to keep well ahead with the latest manufacturing ideas and Walter J. Cryer (II) went abroad in 1913 for the purpose of studying trade developments and to purchase new plant and machinery. Whilst he was only 21 years old, he could see the benefit from overseas experience and the trip materialized into twelve months printing experience in America. Upon his return to Sydney a tremendous impetus was given to the firm’s operations. He implemented a policy of "specialized service to individual customers," continuance of which proved an important factor in the firm’s progress. In 1938, the Managing Director, Walter J. Cryer, prompted by a desire to keep abreast of the latest developments, made his third visit abroad, visiting England and the Continent, returning via America.

W. J. Cryer (III), was twenty-one years old in 1939 and, at the expressed wish of his father, was sent to America and the United Kingdom for the purpose of extending his knowledge of the printing industry. Upon his return to Sydney in 1929, Walter J. Cryer (II) found Australia in the throes of the worst depression in history. Knowledge of practices in production and administration, acquired while abroad, enabled him to steer the Company safely through this perilous period. A new department was created in 1930, when the Company installed its first Pin Ticket Machine, to manufacture all kinds of "Cryterion" brand Price Marking Tickets. Production of "Cryterion" brand Greeting Cards was entered upon in 1931, and gradually expanded to its present large and important place in the organization with Commonwealth wide distribution. The development of this department led to the introduction of offset machinery, thus allowing the company to give greater service to customers.

To keep ahead in ideas, a staff of artists closely study overseas trends in greeting card design. A result of the 1935 overseas visit was the manufacture of "Cryterion" brand Adding Machine & Cash Register Rolls. Walter J. Cryer (II) realised that, to meet the requirements of customers, it would be necessary to introduce machinery capable of printing by yet another method, viz: Dry Offset. Investigations revealed that there was not a dry offset rotary machine on the market suitable to requirements and, plans were drawn up and placed in the hands of a firm of Sydney engineers who made an excellent job of manufacturing the first of the Company’s dry offset machines [the "Crytin"], which was delivered in 1940. The plant has been added to and such strides have been made that, the resultant product compares favourably with the best dry offset printing in the world.
 

The firm was still operating in 1986, and the above paper has been abstracted from its website.


 

 

 
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