The story of a forgotten America.

Ault & Wiborg Company

The Ault & Wiborg Company was located at 417 East 7th Street in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. It was built in 1930 for the Queen City Printing Company, a manufacturer of printing inks, dry color dyes, and pigments derived from coal-tar. The complex was demolished in 2009.


The Ault & Wiborg Company, a manufacturer of printing inks and dry color dyes and pigments, was established by Ontario-born Levi Addison Ault. 2 Ault had left home in his late teens to work for a railroad and as a bookkeeper in Wisconsin. He followed his brother to Cincinnati in 1876, working with a dealer in “lampblack, pitch, and rosins.” Ault eventually became their top salesman, which gave him the inspiration to begin an ink manufacturing business.

Frank Bestow Wiborg, born in Cleveland, Ohio, left for Cincinnati where he was admitted to the Chickering Institute, a select college preparatory academy. 2 He graduated in 1874 and later worked as a salesman for Ault.

Ault, seeking an investor for his fledging ink manufacturing business, sought Wiborg who put forth $10,000 in capital to jumpstart operations. 2 The Ault & Wiborg Company, a manufacturer of inks and lithograph supplies, was founded in July 1878 in a small building on New Street. The company used coal-tar dyes to produce brightly colored inks that revolutionized the printing industry. Ault & Wiborg became immensely successful and expanded its operations worldwide under the Latin motto of “Hic et Ubique,” or “Here and Everywhere.”

A larger ink manufacturing plant was constructed in St. Bernard near the current-day Proctor & Gamble factory in the early 1900s. 2 A varnish department, which supplied coatings, lacquers, varnishes, and finishes for metal products, was formed in 1905 in a newly built factory in Norwood. Wiborg left the company in 1906 to pursue personal interests.

During World War I, Ault & Wiborg sought to duplicate the manufacture of imported German dyes and intermediates as the conflict brought a disruption of trade between the two nations. 2 The dye manufacturing plant was significantly expanded upon and soon overshadowed the varnish operations.

In 1920, the dye factories in St. Bernard and Norwood were sold to Ciba, Geigy & Sandoz, a Swiss conglomerate, and became the Cincinnati Chemical Works. 2 The ink and varnish departments were not affected. Ault remained a director with Cincinnati Chemical Works until just before its 50th anniversary in 1928. The ink department was moved to 417 East 7th Street in 1930, and it was sold to the International Printing Ink Corporation for $14 million on December 30, 1948. It later became the Interchemical Corporation. 2

East 7th Street Property

The East 7th Street property was transferred to the Clopay Corporation on October 13, 1969. Clopay (a contraction of the words cloth and paper 3) had been established in Cincinnati in 1859 as the Seinsheimer Paper Company, which sold paper products and other sundries in the region. In 1964, Clopay entered the garage door business with the purchase of Baker-Aldor-Jones of Hialeah, Florida, which today it is the largest manufacturer of garage doors in North America.

The property was then transferred to Frye Copysystems on December 18, 1973, 1 and then to Henry Tollman III and Raymond B. Fine on December 30, 1983. 4 The site, then used as a parking garage and storage facility, was listed as an Ohio Superfund Site (#OHD072874282) on August 11, 1997. 1 In October 2009, the East 7th Street site was demolished and the ground remediated for a Proctor & Gamble Corporation daycare facility, which adjoined their headquarters.



  1. “079-0003-0062-00 .” Property Search. Hamilton County Auditor, 1 Mar. 2007. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. Article.
  2. Baptista, Robert J. “Ault & Wiborg Co.” Colorants Industry History. N.p., 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. Article.
  3. “History of Clopay Building Products.” Clopay. N.p., 2009. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. Article.
  4. Campbell, Jonathan. “Ohio Superfund Sites.” Natural Therapies for Chronic Illness & Health Maintenance. N.p., 2006. Web. 25 Nov. 2009. Article.


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Thanks Sherman for your photography and Ault & Wiborg research. I live in Cincinnati in a home near Ault’s mansion, and in our house Wiborg’s brother once lived. I created a small history on him; as well as the owner, a widow of her husband who was VP of Gibson Art Company (later Gibson Greeting Cards). You’ve filled in some missing information on the 7th Street location…and I thank you. Strangely enough….our large 1882 house is on a haunted house tour….and one of the stories is about a young boy named Peter who died in the house. Though it’s somewhat far fetched…..Sandra wong mentioning her grandfather Peter Vueger being killed in one of the plants is noteworthy, yes? Thanks again.

A worked briefly as the General Manager of Ault & Wiborg, Nigeria factory between 2000-2002, it was a very wonderful experience

Hello my name is Darren Graham, I happen to own a Ault & Wiborg printers cabinet in immaculate shape, could someone tell me the value of it if I were to sell it.
Thank you.

I started for the Ault & Wiborg Co of Canada in the Year 1962. I was VP and Director of Finance until July 1970, at which time I was transferred to Interchemical Corp in New York. It later became Interchem and subsequently became Inmont Corporation.. Inmont seized to exist in 1985 when it was aquired by BASF Corporation of Germany. I retired in the Year 1995 and still foundly remember the good old days of "THE AULT & WIBORG COMPANY".

My grandfather and was killed December 21, 1961 from an explosion at the Mississauga plant. Do you know anyone who would remember that explosion? He was 25, his name was Peter Veuger. I have very few pictures & the article about his death that made the papers here & in his home in Amsterdam

I was present at Peter’s fatal accident. He was working on the mill floor of the plant at 36 Peter Street ( near King St. and Spadina) Toronto. The inks were rolled into huge metal vats during the process and the vats were placed on a mechanical turntable and washed with a solvent. During his accident, the drum was jostled and the solvent splashed over a large area. As a result, there was a spark which ignited the vapour in the air and Peter, who was soaked with solvent was severely burnt.
Although he was rushed to a nearby water deluge, the injuries were substantial.
He was covered with a blanket and walked with help down to the front of the building to await the ambulance.
I remember his calm and lucid remarks as he waited, knowing full well, the extent of his injuries.

Wow, this comment gave me chills and peace. It’s a very accurate retelling of the only story I’ve ever known about his passing.

Thank you!!

I’d hate to keep asking, but do you have any other memories of my grandfather?

Hi Sandra, sorry for the delay. I was 18 years old at the time of the incident and did not work on the mill floor but was friends with some of the younger workers. As I recall, Peter was energetic and enthusiastic with a young family and had an infectious good humour that made him popular. His calm and lucid demeanour as he tried to distract us from the horror of his misfortune as he stood waiting for the ambulance was a testament to his character and strength of will.

I don't see a mention of typewriter ribbons here, but I've got a cannister of Aulta ribbon, made by "Ault and Wiborg Carbon and Ribbon Co. INC., Subsidiary of The International Printing Ink Corporation, New York, Cincinnati, Chicago". I imagine it must have been made after 1928?

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