Tue Jun 18 2024...

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The History of Central Ink

Central Ink Corporation can trace its roots back to 1933 when Cecil E. Breen founded the family-run company as CEB Ink in a loft building near its customers on Printer's Row in Chicago. The company's initial focus was letterpress inks before moving into the web offset news ink market in the early 1960's

In 1965, the company moved to a custom designed 12,000 sq. ft. facility in Broadview which was built to accommodate the company's rapidly expanding business. When the company moved from Broadview to its current location in West Chicago in 1970, the name was changed from CEB to Central Ink Corporation. CIC introduced web offset heatset inks in 1978 and the inks have since become the corporation's principal product line.  Since moving to West Chicago, the Central Ink facility has expanded four times from 26,000 sq. ft. to its current 165,000 sq. ft. size that is capable of producing 155 million pounds of ink per year.

Central Ink has always been a family business. Cecil's eldest son, Vern, joined the company in 1945 and became President in 1975. Starting in 1946, Vern's brother Richard worked at CIC during his high school and college summer vacations, and after two years in the Army joined the company full time in 1954. In 1985, Vern retired and Richard became sole owner and President.

Richard had big plans for CIC which included development in many facets of the business. Manufacturing and distribution were areas that have seen high growth, as well as vertical integration in the industry. CIC housed the 1st six-tote mixer in the country in their West Chicago headquarters in 1989. The first branch opened in Wisconsin in 1991 and was followed shortly thereafter by the Minnesota branch in 1995. East Coast expansion started in 2001 and then continued in 2008 by opening a full manufacturing facility in New Jersey. The West Coast expansion started in 2003 in Nevada and moved to California in 2008. Further expansion is planned in California for late 2009. In addition, 2005 saw a distribution facility opened in Canada, which made CIC an international supplier. Since then, we have continued to sell ink to outreaching areas including South America.

Vertical integration in the market has been a constant focus as a means to control raw materials, and subsequently, costs. In 2001, CIC saw the dispersion department come to fruition. Our ability to make our own intermediates, such as varnishes, and converting pigment to dispersions allows CIC to minimize rising raw material costs. The dispersion department was upgraded to full automation in 2007, which resulted in a greater consistency, and consequently a higher overall quality. In the last 5 years, CIC has reinvested over $20 million dollars back into the company.









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