The Art of Collecting: Root and Tinker, A New York Publisher
An Online Exhibition by the George Glazer Gallery
Root & Tinker was a major publishing company in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Among their specialties were promotional prints and broadsides celebrating prominent Americans and patriotic subjects.

Text © 2013 Helen Glazer and George D. Glazer. All rights reserved.
Photos from George Glazer Gallery and Library of Congress.

Charles T. Root

Charles Towner Root, pictured in the trade journal Printers' Ink in 1904.

Root & Tinker was a prolific New York City publisher of trade journals, separately issued prints, broadsides, and trade cards from the mid 1870s until the early 1890s.  The company began as a partnership between Charles Towner Root (1849/50-1938), Franklin H. Tinker (1852-1890) and his father Henry F. Tinker (1826-1889).  With periodicals such as The Oil, Paint, and Drug Reporter; Clothier and Furnisher; The American Hatter and Dry Goods Economist, they catered to a readership of manufacturers, tradespeople and retailers.  Their prints were geared to the same clientele: advertising prints, broadsides, calendars, trade cards and cigar box labels with financial, New York City or Americana subject matter, notably the Statue of Liberty and portraits of prominent men. They marketed these prints to businesses to be imprinted with company information and promotional messages.  Among the companies that utilized their services were Moore & Schley Bankers and Brokers, the New York Life Insurance Company, Empire Refining Co. and Climax Red Tin Tag Plug Tobacco.  Extant examples of their larger prints are known with pastedown labels over company names, suggesting that they were originally made for companies, but later adapted by Root & Tinker for general sale.  Root & Tinker generally employed Buek & Lindner, 65 Warren Street, New York, as the lithographer of its prints.

After the deaths of both of the Tinkers, the firm apparently kept publishing for a couple of years under the Root & Tinker name. Root continued to lead the firm; at some point, it became known as Textile Publishing Company, succeeded by the United Publishers Corporation, of which he was president until retiring in 1924. When Root & Tinker had taken over Dry Goods Economist in 1889, they perceived a need for practical display and sales advice for department store managers and retailers nationwide, and switched the magazine's focus from finance to retailing methods, a shift described by the Library of Congress as having had a lasting impact on store merchandising, effectively launching "modern display style." Root's publishing empire brought him great wealth and he built homes in New Jersey and Maine in addition to his primary residence in New York, a large townhouse at 309 West 92nd Street which is now the home of the West Side Montessori School.

Root & Tinker Folio Prints
Shown with the publication date and a brief description, based on known examples. Follow the links to see enlargements and full descriptions.
Contact us to contribute more examples.
New York

The City of New York (1879). Panoramic view. Promotion for Rogers, Peet & Co., New York. More information: George Glazer Gallery and Library of Congress.

The Kings of Wall Street

The Kings of Wall Street (1882). Images of famous financiers, industrialists, bankers arranged seated and standing. More information: George Glazer Gallery

The Kings of Wall Street

Representative Journals & Journalists of America (1882). Portraits of journalists against backgrounds of their newspapers. More information: Library of Congress

Liberty Enlightening the World

Liberty Enlightening the World (1883). View of Statue of Liberty. Promotion for Low's Jersey Lily for the Handkerchief (Robert Low's Son, New York). Another version promoted The Travelers Insurance Co. of Hartford, Conn. More information: Library of Congress.

The Kings of Wall Street

Origin of the Stars and Stripes (1883). History of the George Washington family insignia and the American flag. Promotion for New York Life Insurance Company. More information: George Glazer Gallery

The Kings of Wall Street

Representatives of Professional Baseball in America (1884). Portraits of baseball pioneers. Promotion for Climax Red Tin Tag Plug Tobacco. More information: Library of Congress

Liberty Enlightening the World

Noah Webster: The Schoolmaster of the Republic (1885). Portrait of Webster incorporating dictionary still life. More information: Library of Congress.

Other Known Prints (not pictured):

James A Garfield (1881). Image of the president with other political figures. Promotion for Warner & Co.

Famous Runners & Jockeys of America (1885). Portraits of race horses and jockeys.

The Standard Oil Company Building (1886). Street view of the building. Promotion for Standard Oil Company. More information: Corbis.

The Kings of Wall Street

The World's Exchanges (1886). Views of various building facades. Promotion for Moore & Schley Bankers and Brokers. More information: George Glazer Gallery


References:

Gray, Christopher. "Streetscapes/ Lamb & Richards." New York Architecture. 11 July 2004.
http://www.nyc-architecture.com/ARCH/ARCH-LambRich.htm (26 March 2013).

"The Coolidge Era and the Consumer Economy, 1921-1929." Library of Congress. 14 August 1995. http://lcweb2.loc.gov:8081/ammem/amrlhtml/dtdrygod.html (26 March 2013).

"The 'Dry Goods Economist.'"Printers' Ink Vol. 49, No. 2. 12 October 1904. pp. 18-21. http://books.google.com/books?id=udMhAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA18 (4 June 2013).

"Visualizing Nineteenth-Century New York." Bard Graduate Center. 2011.
http://resources-bgc.bard.edu/19thcNYC/map-about.php (22 March 2013).


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