From our humble beginnings in the 1970's as a precursor to the now ubiquitos "copy shop", Midtown Printing has grown to be Nashville's short-run printing leader. Always at the forefront of printing technology, we have also held on to technology of the past. Utilizing our state of the art digital equipment and antique letterpress puts us at an advantage to serve a wide range of customer needs. We also house a full service finishing and bindery department to produce everything from perfect bound books to t-shirt transfers.
Copies Unlimited circa 1990
A Breif History of Midtown Printing as told by our founder, Fred Von Colln:
"It’s 1969 in Athens, Georgia. Bill Strickland and I are graduate students at the University of Georgia. We’re both married with a child apiece, and we’re working on our masters degrees. We shared an old Volkswagon Bus which we used as a machine shop. As auto mechanics without a garage, we would do brake jobs, tune-ups and minor repairs in driveways, parking lots or even on the side of the road. To advertise our services, we put handbills on the bulletin boards around campus and in local stores around town. Since there were no Xerox copying services in Athens at the time, we were mail ordering our flyers from a place in Northampton, Massachusetts called Copies Unlimited. It was while I was placing an order that the light bulb first flickered . .why not start a copy service in Athens Georgia?
With a little help from the fellow in Massachusetts and a lease on a Xerox 2400 we were in business doing resumes, dissertations and all kinds of business copying. There was absolutely no competition, and office copiers were nonexistent back then. Well, we made really good money for a couple of starving students and didn’t have to get our hands dirty in the process, so we decided to expand. We opened a shop in Nashville, Tennessee and another in Cincinnati, Ohio and then one in Lexington, Kentucky. After opening five locations, we decided to split up and go our separate ways. I decided to keep the two locations in Nashville.
Through the seventies Copies Unlimited grew and so did the city. We added more and faster copiers, collators and bindery equipment. We introduced “quick printing” to the Nashville market with an A.B.Dick offset press and an Itek platemaker. We set up a typesetting department, initially using an IBM Selectric Composer then moving to a Merganthaler Linotype phototypesetter which stored the job in memory using punched paper tape. Compugraphic Editwriters came next and then the Compugraphic 8400 system. About this time Steve Jobs introduced the Apple computer.
Our big decision when buying the first Apple II was how much memory to buy. Should we get 16K or 64K? We decided to go big time with the whole 64K, a 5 megabyte hard drive and a 120 baud modem. When the Macintosh was introduced we saw an immediate opportunity. Although the software was limited to Macwrite and Macdraw the Laserwriter made this computer immediately useful and with the introduction of Linotypes L100 it became a threat to traditional typesetting methods. After strenuous objections from the typesetting department, who’s members found the new technology very threatening, we established a new company called MacFactory which later evolved into Cumberland Graphics, our prepress department and service bureau.
Growth continued into the 90’s with the addition of a Linotype L330, Rainbow proofing, Canon/Fiery, Leaf scanners and all sorts of PowerMacs and printers. The pressroom grew as well with two color and perfecting duplicators, Heidelberg MOZ and GTOF presses. In 1994 we decided that we had outgrown the Copies Unlimited image, so we dropped the name. Thus, your one stop copy shop became... Midtown Printing"
Today, Midtown Printing is at one location in the Midtown area of Nashville near Vanderbilt University. We have built a reputation for being Nashville's premier digital printing company, utilitizing state of the art equipment such as the Xeikon 5000 digital web press and HP 3550 Indigo press. Along side these digital machines, we employ the eloquince and beauty of a technology from the last century - letterpress printing. For those printed pieces that need an extra layer of sophistication to impress, blind embossing & debossing, foil stamping, letterpress printing or die cutting may be the answer.