The History of K&H
K&H was founded in 1908 in Everett, Wash., by
Lawrence Kane and William Harcus.
William's parents James and Margaret Harcus
traveled from Chicago to Portland, and finally settled in Everett
shortly after 1900. He was the preacher of the local Plymouth
Brethren congregation, known as the Gospel Hall Christians.
The Harcus children included sons William and Charles, and
daughters Margaret and Mary. William was apprenticed by Knisely
Printing to become a typesetter. The family moved into a boarding
house on Hoyt Avenue, where they met Lawrence Kane, a Michigander
by birth, but most recently of Yakima where his family ranched.
Following his father's death, Lawrence came to Everett in 1900 at
the age of 20 and tried his hand at a number of jobs. He sold books
for the Int'l Correspondence School, and pedaled Bibles from
horseback. Raised an Irish Catholic, he converted to the Plymouth
Brethren faith of the Harcuses, and in 1915 he married Miss Mary
Harcus. Their son Donald Kane entered the Kane & Harcus family
business in the 1940s as an outside salesperson.
So, Kane & Harcus were more than business partners; they
Lawrence Kane the salesman and Will Harcus the experienced
printer began their printing venture in 1908 as Cascade Stationery
& Printing, but soon renamed the company Kane & Harcus and
set up shop in the basement of the Commerce building at 2827
Rockefeller, on the same block as the Brown Brothers' print shop,
and close to Priebe Stationery & Bindery on Wetmore.
Prior to Boeing's arrival in the 1960s, there was an abundance
of mills in Everett: Weyerhaeuser, Scott, Everett Plywood, and
Everett Pulp & Paper have all been situated here. At a time
when Everett was known as "The City of Smokestacks," Kane &
Harcus naturally catered to the timber industry. Aside from
printing direct mail advertising literature and social stationery
items, they manufactured waterproof log scale tally books. A
salesman would drive up and down the West Coast, or even hop a
freight train and head towards the timberlands to get orders for
these products. As late as the 1980s, Ross Kane (Donald's son)
recalls traveling to Darrington for his Snohomish County job, and
having his name recognized because of the "Kane & Harcus"
tagline on log scale items.
With such success, Kane & Harcus moved up in the local
business world - literally - from the basement to the main
level of the Commerce Building.
They were conservative Christian men (Ross recalls no smoking or
drinking in business or social settings). This is reflected in some
of the company literature and, oddly enough, in a profitable
business venture. A gentleman they knew from church invited them to
invest in the Red Rock Creamery (known for its invention of
sweetened cottage cheese). They did so, and when Red Rock Creamery
was bought out in 1925, they could either hold stock in the new
company (Kraft) or cash out their stock. They opted for the cash,
and with their windfall they accomplished three things:
- They built lovely homes side by side; still standing
- They financed moving the Lutheran Church building to its
present location near Clark Park.
- They put money into their printing business, which saw them
through the Great Depression.
Vernon R. Haines owned a typewriter service company just across
the street from Kane & Harcus, and was active in the Chamber of
Commerce with them. When the economy forced him to close his
business in 1933, he walked across the street, and got hired as a
Salesman to focus on local accounts. He enjoyed it and his career
blossomed; eventually in 1947 Lawrence Kane permitted him to buy
into the business. Lawrence's son Donald, a young man in his 20s,
was also a salesman interested in owning the firm. When Lawrence
Kane and William Harcus retired in 1951, Don and Vern became equal
Vern's son Vernon P. Haines (better known as "Bud") got his
first real job in 1942, driving (and apparently denting) the Kane
& Harcus delivery truck. Eleven years later, with a wife and
two daughters to support, he was selling Oldsmobiles when his dad
invited him to work for the company again, this time in sales. His
first day on the job was memorable: He didn't show up, because his
son Rob had arrived three weeks early!
Bud had lots to learn about printing, and was a diligent
student. The industry was changing; letterpress printing was giving
way to offset printing, and Vern and Don had purchased a 1250
Multilith. Prior to this time, most jobs were black and white, run
on letterpress, using cuts purchased from Everett Photoengraving
Company. Printing on the Multilith required purchasing negatives
and plates from a supplier. Don and Vern decided it was time to
shop for the pieces to build their own prep department: a process
camera, plate frame, light table, arc lights, a plate whirler, and
an employee to operate them.
In late 1953, Bernie Webber, the talented young artist at
Thornhill Publishing Company became Kane & Harcus' first Art
Director. During his tenure, the company acquired a new 2-color 29"
Miele Press from West Germany and expanded its office space. Bernie
remained until 1961, when he worked freelance; a loss to Kane &
Harcus to be sure, but it proved over the years to be a tremendous
gain to our community. The creative forces of Bernie Webber and his
successor Clydeana Pouria helped establish K&H in Everett as
"The Printer with Ideas in his Ink."
Don Kane and Vern Haines determined their company simply could
not grow any more in the Commerce Building, and began searching for
suitable quarters. Local realtor Dan Duryee directed them to 1631
Broadway, the old Arown Dairy Company building. They also invited
Bud to become an owner. He and wife Norma took the plunge.
K&H moved into its new location in spring 1963, occupying
the main floor. The basement was leased to Jerry's Surplus for
storage. There was plenty of room for growth, but the owners
quickly discovered one drawback: The shop was no longer just a
convenient walk from Everett Typesetting Company. Any type errors
to be corrected required several car trips back and forth. We
needed our own typesetting equipment and an employee to operate it,
but where to get it? Coincidentally, Don Kane learned that the firm
Printer Brown (which just happened to have typesetting equipment)
was reluctantly relocating. A merger was proposed and accomplished
in spring of '65. At this time, Vern Haines opted to retire. And
within a year, Don Kane resigned. Bud and Norma negotiated with the
Brown brothers, and became the owners January 1, 1969.
The six Haines children spent plenty of Saturdays at K&H
doing various jobs. Bud always held the door open for them to enter
the family business, and has passed on his drive to keep ahead of
the competition, to be at the cutting edge.
In 1984, Bud Haines erected a beautiful new building at 1611
Broadway, to house administrative, customer service and prepress
functions. Press, bindery and shipping departments remained at the
south end of the block, and Ray's Adult Delicatessen was sandwiched
in between our 2 buildings. "K&H North," with its skylights and
windows east and west was a great place to work, and to
Prepress technology changed continually in the '80s and early
'90s, and K&H stayed on the cutting edge, purchasing VariTyper
typesetting equipment, the Gerber AutoPrep, MacIntosh desktop
computers for our two designers, and the seemingly magic Scitex
scanner and film assembler.
Four-color printing was becoming easier to accomplish. At the
same time, one-color printing, specifically black ink on white
paper for technical manuals, was a growing market. So in 1990,
K&H added its first Xerox DocuTech 5090 digital printer,
servicing customers such as Hewlett-Packard, and the Precor and
Quinton companies of Bothell. We've been upgrading and adding Xerox
machines to our pressroom ever since.
In the 1990s, K&H acquired plenty of new equipment, and
plenty of new people. We inherited the Fluke Company's print shop
crew, and the staff of Greater Seattle Printing & Mailing,
and we welcomed consultant Jay Ackley, who has since become the
owner of K&H.
Eventually K&H's visionary senior management
team decided to get into the mailing business and developed
a baseline of high volume customers. We landed Seattle
Filmworks and, shortly thereafter, according to the Post Office,
K&H was the largest volume mailer of standard mail in
Washington State. Such growth prompted K&H to move its mailing
operations to Seaway Boulevard. Ultimately the entire print shop
moved from its longtime home on Broadway to its present location on
K&H has long been involved in printing public
election materials such as ballots and political flyers. But in
2002, we entered a new area: private elections. A company in
Bellevue serendipitously referred us as a printer to the 8th Annual
Screen Actors Guild Awards Committee. It was suggested that K&H
could handle the entire election process, from printing and mailing
out ballots to tabulation and delivering the secret results for the
Awards Show. That first private election led to the formation of
K&H's daughter company Integrity Voting Systems.
Likewise our public elections printing and mailing business has
grown, and prompted the purchase of yet more equipment: two Oce
9000 Digital Web Presses.
Most recently, the opportunity presented itself in late 2006 for
K&H to purchase Southgate Press, adding web presses to our
equipment capabilities, new customers such as Comcast and
Washington Mutual, and of course a new crew of employees.
Since 1908, a lot has changed in the printing and mailing world,
but some things remain the same. K&H is still printing, still
mailing, and still--just as Lawrence Kane and Will Harcus
intended--endeavoring to be "continually progressing since