Text © 2013 Helen Glazer and George D. Glazer. All rights reserved.
Photos from George Glazer Gallery and Library of Congress.
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 Extant examples of their larger prints are known with pastedown labels over company names, suggesting that they were originally made for companies, but later adapted by Root & Tinker for general sale.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.