About us

Who’s Chicago WaterMark Company?

Chicago  WaterMark  Company   is a  child of the venerable 115 year  old Chicago Printing & Embossing Company. In 1902, E.T. Koch established the Chicago Printing & Embossing Company in an area called Printer’s Row in Chicago (See Telephone Directory, 1902). He specialized in high-quality commercial and job printing. One of his first customers was Marshall Field & Company, at the time the preeminent store for the carriage trade. Mr. Koch’s job was to print the personalized stationery and invitations for Marshall Field’s customers. Society had very formal rules for gatherings and printed Invitations were d-rigueur, No self-respecting society lady (or gentleman, for that matter) would be without personal stationery. (Go to samples of early printing.) The quality standards were impeccable for Mr. Marshall Field, and Chicago Printing & Embossing Company rose to the challenge. Some years later, Mr. Koch retired and the business passed to Mr. Frank F. Bosworth, his partner. In the early 1930’s the business changed hands again, this time to Mr. Leroy Durbin, an employee of the firm. He continued to cater to the high society crowd and Marshall Field continued to use him as his printer of choice. In 1963, a 21 year old former “printer’s devil” from the south side of Chicago bought the company.

Don Brunke began his career in printing at the age of 12 when his sister gave him a toy printing press for his birthday. For some time he’d been hanging out after school at a local print shop. Coming home smeared with ink, all he talked about was Printing. Once he got his birthday present there was no stopping him. From badgering neighborhood merchants for printing orders to publishing the Boy Scout Troop newspaper and then buying and setting up his first “real” printing press (small) in the backyard shed, while spending evenings watching experienced pressmen work at the Benedictine Abbey Press, a Catholic Newspaper published in the Slovak and Bohemian languages! This was down and dirty big printing presses. Heaven for Don and sometimes a pain for the employees who he shadowed to learn! Finally Don saved enough money and with help of some very dear and important friends was able to buy his first REAL LIVE printing company, Don was hooked.

In 1968, Southern California weather called out, and Don moved his business from Chicago to the West Coast. For the next 40 years, Chicago Printing & Embossing Co. became a familiar name in the Los Angeles area for excellence, quality, and a no nonsense 100% money-back guarantee.

In 1996, a new process for Watermarking small quantities of paper became available, and Don jumped on the bandwagon. Utilizing his printing experience, he quickly introduced Affordable Custom Watermarking to California.

On March 1, 2002, Don enabled his long time employees to buy the company and he created the Chicago WaterMark Company and the Small Quantity WaterMarked paper industry was born. Until Don began his company NO OTHER company sold small quantities of Custom WaterMarked paper to the public.

His life long dream was to live in New York City! A place that captured his imagination from his first visit at the age of 11. Printing requires heavy equipment and factories and sales offices. So the dream went unrealized.  UNTIL—the Internet!

NOW it was possible to run a business, successfully, without a store front, counters, and parking spots. On the WEB!  Don latched on to that technology real quick, and took his fledgling WaterMark Company, his dog and partner Tammi3 AND his computer and moved to New York!  Harder than it sounds but he got there.  The WaterMarking process doesn’t require the heavy printing presses, so opening a factory in New York wasn’t a problem. And here we are 15 years later.

Chicago WaterMark Company is firmly established in New York City. Our plant is securely hidden from public view….the better to make your paper SECURE! And we stand ready to help you with your need for the Finest Custom WaterMarked paper you can buy!

Following E.T. Koch’s philosophy of producing only the finest printing, Don continues to carry on a tradition that began more than 115 years ago.

Get your FREE sample kit of our exquisite papers. Colors, Textures,  Security features. Everything you need to get YOUR OWN Custom WaterMarked Paper,

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