About/History

We drive responses to our clients by creating continuous conversations between them and their target markets, via Direct Mail and unique eMarketing programs.
 
Company Overview:
Even as a 130-year-old company Curtis 1000 feels brand new.  We’ve always been about bringing value to our clients by helping them express their uniqueness and drive operational excellence. Today, whether the need is for state-of-the-art direct marketing services or print communications management, our solutions are individually tailored to net maximum results for each client.

HISTORY –

Curtis 1000 was founded in 1882
in St. Paul, Minnesota by Henry Russell Curtis.

• Selling stationery (mostly envelopes) in the twin cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, first-year sales revenue was $1,500.

• Curtis Printing Company became incorporated on September 9, 1886.

• Once the company was operating in the Twin Cities, Henry Russell Curtis realized there was less competition out of town. He developed a new tactic: he sold the orders, printed them, and shipped them to himself in various surrounding towns. When he got word that the goods had arrived, he’d go pick them up and deliver them to the customer. Talk about customer service!

• We started to add sales representatives in the 1890s. One of the first was Osborn Curtis, who traveled North Dakota for a month at a time, sleeping in trains and in $1-per-night rooms. Another early star performer was a Miss Hesnault, who rode the rails in Montana.

• In 1900, our company letterhead stated that we were “office furnishers, printers, lithographers, embossers.”

• In 1911, Henry Russell Curtis introduced a lightweight but very strong mailing envelope. He first called it “Curtis Special Envelope” and then “Curtis Fibre.” Widely adopted by bankers and lawyers for mailing bulky items, Curtis Fibre became the early key to our success. It started our tradition of developing and marketing unique items to solve customer problems.

• “Curtis 1000” became our name in 1912 when a new plant was built on property located at 1000 University Avenue in St. Paul. Henry Russell Curtis thought the company name would be easier to remember if a blend of the name and location was advertised on the sign. “Curtis 1000” became our company trademark.

• By 1920, Curtis Fibre was used by 26% of all banks in the U.S. We had been selling by catalog and direct mail, but were starting to develop a part-time envelope sales force. By 1925 we were recruiting and training salespeople in earnest.

• In 1929, sales reached $1 million before the stock market crashed. Because we had begun to branch out to businesses besides banks—creameries, insurance companies, gas stations and grain elevators—the company lost less money than many other companies in the years following the crash.

• To demonstrate the strength of Curtis Fibre to bank customers in the 1930s, Curtis Fibre Big Flap envelopes were filled to capacity and mailed from Costa Rica to every bank in the U.S. Eventually, over 53% of U.S. banks used Curtis Fibre. At one point, supply could not keep up with demand.

• In 1938, one of our envelopes made the first flight of the Hindenburg.

More innovations started to flow:

• We became the first to print envelopes with Artographic backprinting in 1939.

• Bank-by-Mail envelopes were another innovation in 1945.

• By 1952—our 70th year—we had the largest direct-to-consumer sales force in the envelope industry.

• In 1955, Chain-O-Matic continuous envelopes were introduced—the first continuous envelope developed for computer addressing.

• In the 1960s we began selling Forms—a whole new direction for us.

• In 1964, the Curtis family moved our headquarters from St. Paul to Atlanta, Georgia. We “grew” our own parent company—American Business Products (or ABP)—in the 1970s, and another new chapter opened.

• In 1982—our 100th anniversary—the sixth in the line of Henry Curtises (known as Harry) served as ABP chairman of the board and published An American Adventure, the story of the Curtis family and Curtis 1000.

• Also in 1982 we added manufacturing capabilities in the form of Label equipment.

• During Operation Desert Storm in the 1990s, Curtis 1000 donated specially printed envelopes for the troops to use in writing home to their loved ones. We made the local evening news and also received a letter of gratitude from then-President George Bush.

• In the last decade of the 20th century, Curtis 1000 “went digital”—adding Digital Printing equipment and gearing up for the new electronic marketplace.

• Today, we continue to place our Digital and eMarketing capabilities in the forefront of our value proposition for customers—as we also focus on Direct Mail, Promotional Products, Labels, Financial Institutions, Education and Nonprofit organizations, and state-of-the-art Web solutions in our 21st century business environment.

   
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