Commercial Decal, Incorporated Corporate Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0477
Creators:
Commercial Decal, Inc.
Seliger, Charles, 1926-2009
Rockwell, Norman, 1894-1978
Dates:
1926-1993, undated
Languages:
English
Physical Description:
4.62 Cubic feet
39 boxes
Repository:

Scope and Contents note
Scope and Contents note
The Commercial Decal, Incorporated records consist of decals, photographs and advertising materials that trace the business transactions of Commercial Decal, Incorporated from its early creation through its closing in 1992. Most of the actual decals and patterns are from the early 1970s through 1992. The records of product orders, however, date back to 1926. Background information on Commercial Decal, Incorporated and its parent company, Pictorial Productions, Incorporated is also included among the materials. There are also several photographs of the plant and its employees from the 1940s.
The collection is arranged into eight series in thirty nine boxes. Series one contains historical and background materials. Series two consists of the corporate records of Commercial Decal, Incorporated and Pictorial Productions, Incorporated. These materials include articles, newsletters, annual reports, and photographs. Series three consists of the work order cards for individual orders. Order cards follow pieces of work through the several stages of decal production. Series four includes work orders and patterns for specific orders. These orders are written out on pressroom and proofing jackets that are similar to work order cards. Unlike series three, a copy of the pattern used is included with the order jackets. Series five and six contain original and copied decals that were used between the 1970s and 1990s. Series five contains copies of a variety of patterns and series six mainly focuses on special and commemorative decals. Series seven includes advertising materials created by Kleb Associates, Incorporated for Commercial Decal, Incorporated. Series eight contains materials relating to the artistic career of surrealist artist Charles Seliger, Commercial Decal's vice-president of design. There are several catalogues from Seliger's art shows in the United States and Europe dating from the 1970s to the early 1990s.

Arrangement
Arrangement
Divided into 8 series: (1) Background and Historical Information, 1935-1993; (2) Corporate Records, 1964-1991; (3) Work Order Cards, 1926-1972; (4) Work Orders and Patterns, 1940-1985; (5) Patterns, 1974-1989; (6) Commemorative and Special Decals, circa 1970-1990; (7) Advertising Mmaterials, dates unknown; (8) Charles Seliger Artwork, circa 1970-1990.

Biographical/Historical note
Biographical/Historical note
Commercial Decal, Incorporated Corporate Records, was a pictorial printing company opened in Mount Vernon, New York, in 1912. The company was one of the few American firms that produced decorative decals for major ceramic companies. The company supplied decals to most of the ceramics industry, including such major firms as Haviland, Homer Laughlin, Lenox, Hallcraft, Bradford, Corning, Anchor Hocking, and Salem China. They also produced decals for glass and plastic products. Most of the company's decals featured straightforward, edge-of-the-plate designs in floral, abstract, or geometric patterns. Other products included decals of reproductions of famous art works (Norman Rockwell was particularly popular), commemorative and historical designs, advertising decals for products (including Coca-Cola, McDonald's, and Quaker Oats), and original patterns and designs for china sets and cookware. In 1935, Commercial Decal, Incorporated Corporate Records designed a new set of dishes for the White House at the request of Eleanor Roosevelt, who gave them to her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt, as a Christmas present. In 1973, company President Charles Silberstein, introduced a new method of transfer, the four color or camera separation process, which revolutionized the business by making colors more reproducible and accurate and production time faster. In the mid-1980s, the company began to lose customers to increased competition. Then, in the late-1908s, the New York State Department of Environmental Control imposed heavy fines on the company for serious violations of environmental laws. Between lost customers, increased competition, and the need to install environmentally-friendly new equipment, the company was unable to pay the fines. By August of 1992 the company had gone out of business.

Administration
Processing Information
Processed by Sarah Allan, volunteer; Anne Jones, volunteer; Jill Kent, volunteer; and Leslie Shope, intern; supervised by Vanessa Broussard Simmons, archivist. 2003.
Author
Craig A. Orr and Vanessa Broussard Simmons
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Commercial Decal, through Charles Seliger, 1993, Febuary.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Commercial Decal, Incorporated Corporate Records, 1940-1991, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Terms Governing Use and Reproduction
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.

Related Materials
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Salem China Company, 1930s-1981, undated
Related Materials
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
Salem China Company, 1930s-1981

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Business records -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Annual reports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
advertising -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Exhibition catalogs -- 1970-2000 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decals Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Decalcomania Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Ceramics -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Photographs -- 20th century Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithography -- 20th century Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Lithographs Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Glass -- 1940-1990 Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Serigraphy Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Screen prints Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives