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The World Publishing Co. (1902-1963)


Historical Outline of the World Publishing Company


    1898 -Alfred Cahen arrived in London after walking across Europe from Poland, learning the printing business in Poland, Russia, Germany, and Holland. In London he worked for a company that did phamplets, library bindings, and repaired manuscripts for museums and private collectors.
    1902 - Mr. Cahen left London and came to Ohio where he worked for the Saalfield Publishing Company in Akron.
    1905 - Mr. Cahen opened his own bindery in Cleveland, the beginning of the Commercial Bookbinding Company.
    1912 - Cylinder presses were added, giving the company printing as well as binding facilities.
    1916 - The company built its own plant at West 110th street and Western Avenue.
    1920 - Fire destroyed the whole plant.
    1921 -The plant was again in production.
    1923 - The second building was erected.
    1928 -A third building was added. Automatic machinery, unique in the industry, was designed and built by Mr. Cahen and later adopted by most large book manufacturers as well as the Government Printing establishment. Mr. Cahen's two sons, Herman and Julius, both engineers and graduates of Case Institute of Technology, helped build the various machines. The World Syndicate Publishing Company was aquired along with their office in New York City. The company began publishing Bibles, dictionaries, and children's books.
    1929 - The company went public with a stock issue. LINDBERG, THE LONE EAGLE, was written, printed and bound in only one week, becoming the first book on that historic flight and launching World into trade publishing.
    1930 - The company set up an office in Chicago.
    1935 - Ben D. Zevin joined the company.
    1936 - Another building was put up to house the growing plant.
    1939 - The reprint line, Tower Books at $.49, was launched.
    1940 - The company had become the largest publisher of Bibles and dictionaries in the United States.
    1941 - Work was started on Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language.
    1942 - Forum Books, a $1.00 reprint line, was started, and the children's book line was growing much larger. During World War II, 17 million government-issued Bibles were distributed to the armed forces, and four out of every ten were made by World.
    1945 - Ben Zevin became president of the company.
    1949 - The Bruce Rogers World Bible was published in an edition limited to 975 copies.
    1953 -The College Edition of the New World Dictionary was published and quickly became the leading college dictionary in the country.
    1963 - The company was sold to Times Mirror, who eventually sold it to William Collins Sons, Ltd. When that company was disbanded in 1980, the dictionary division was sold to Simon & Schuster, who still publish Webster's New World Dictionary. The Bibles, childrens' and trade books were sold to various other companies, and some of these are still in print. [from Kent State - Special Collection and Archives - World Publishing Co., 1908-1975]

  1. [], [illustrations by Roger Duvoisin ]. The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe of York Mariner. Cleveland and New York, The World Publishing Co., 1946  
  2. [] Robinson Crusoe. Cleveland and New York, The World Publishing Co., nd

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