The Story of Strathmore

2017 marks the 125th anniversary of Strathmore and we’ll be celebrating this milestone all year. Since its beginnings in 1892, the Strathmore name has been synonymous with beauty, quality and the finest papers for artists, designers and printers around the world.

Logotype for Mittneague Paper Company , C 1890’s | Will Bradley

In 1895, Horace Moses took a vacation from making paper to visit Scotland. It proved to be an auspicious trip. Moses owned a small mill in Massachusetts’s Berkshire Mountains renowned for producing exceptional paper. During his trip, Moses was captivated by the natural beauty of Scotland’s Strathmore Valley—and upon his return home he adopted the valley’s name and the Scottish national symbol. The thistle, and the tagline “Strathmore Quality,” came to represent Moses’s beautifully made paper.

Birds from a Strathmore Promotion | S. Neil Fujita

That iconic mark of quality has stood the test of time. In the early 20th century, Moses pioneered the influence of design on printed materials, collaborating with a graphic artist and a printer to create the first paper promotion. Moses emphasized color, weight, texture and fiber content as his Strathmore brand paved the way for craftsmanship in paper-making. Strathmore’s high cotton content created a strong, tactile, enduring paper that became a favorite medium for artists and writers*, its surface perfectly capturing brushstrokes, sketches and prose.

1968 Advertising Insert | Sims Taback

The brand’s connection to design and print communication continued into the later 20th century, as design icons including Paul Rand, Milton Glaser and Seymour Chwast were commissioned to created printed projects that inspired a generation of graphic designers.

Today, as always, Strathmore papers are carefully crafted, in a sophisticated color palette and luxurious finishes. Moses, with his dedication to detail and his respect for natural beauty, would surely be pleased.

*The Strathmore brand name began to appear on fine art papers in 1899 and quickly became known as one of the highest quality art papers used around the world. Strathmore has kept this reputation as a supplier of fine art paper for over a century. Today, Mohawk owns the Strathmore brand and manufactures all of the Strathmore papers. Pacon Corporation licenses the Strathmore name and produces all drawing, illustration, and painting products that artists and art students know and trust. Whether the medium is watercolor, charcoal, pastel, pencil or pen and ink you can rely on Strathmore to enhance your artistic efforts!


This article was written by Bryn Mooth and originally published in Issue 03 of the Mohawk Maker Quarterly. The Mohawk Maker Quarterly is a vehicle to support a community of like-minded makers. Content focuses on stories of small manufacturers, artisans, printers, designers, and artists who are making their way in the midst of the digital revolution. Learn more about the quarterly here and sign up to receive future printed issues.

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