Salmon Printers and Publishers

Britain's oldest post card and calendar publisher
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1909-2009 - 100 Years of Salmon Calendars

In 2008 Salmon celebrated a century of calendar publishing with its 2009 collection, marking 100 years since the first series of calendars, produced by Joseph Salmon in 1908.



The Early Years

In 1880 Joseph Salmon, who had been a bookseller in London, acquired a stationer's shop and general printing business in Sevenoaks, Kent. In due course, in 1898, his eldest son, also Joseph Salmon, took over the running of the business and soon became interested in printing and publishing pictorial post cards. By 1900 he was producing black and white cards of Sevenoaks and collections of coloured post cards of local scenes soon followed.

Joseph was soon looking for ways to use the post card pictures on other publications and came up with the idea of incorporating these onto local view turnover calendars. The first calendars were produced and sold in 1908 for the year 1909, with two titles at 1/-, 'Picturesque England' and 'Historic Castles of England', and one, 'The Tudor Calendar', depicting old buildings and selling for 6d. These calendars were printed on post card board and tied at the top with a ribbon. 

Joseph Salmon
Joseph Salmon, publisher of the first
Salmon post cards and calendars

Salmon print works circa 1900
Salmon print works circa 1900



Advert for 1911 calendarsAdvert for 1911 calendars

The first calendars were an immediate success and in the years to follow an increasing number of titles, both local view and general subjects were published.

For 1910 the 1/- series included the first local calendars with 'Picturesque Kent', 'Rural Sussex', 'Tunbridge Wells', 'Picturesque Surrey' and 'Hampshire', and in 1911 the first calendar using the work of watercolour artist A. R. Quinton was published, 'Picturesque Villages of England'.

So popular was this calendar that, hardly had the first edition been printed, that a reprint had to be put in hand.

Calendars, post cards and view books, using Quinton's paintings of tourist areas and towns throughout the country soon followed.



1916 Salmon Calendar





"Picturesque Villages of England" calendar
1916 with paintings by A.R.Quinton

Early Salmon calendars
Early Salmon calendars

The Between the Wars

By the end of the First World War, Joseph Salmon's publishing business had grown and in 1919 a new factory was built for the printing and manufacture of calendars and other publications. The watercolour turnover calendars were retained, but the company immediately expanded into the production of panel calendars. These were mounted picture prints, with tear-off date blocks, featuring paintings of general subjects such as flowers, gardens, animals, landscapes and Old Masters. This enabled the business quickly to diversify into a much wider range of calendars which could be sold to customers in all parts of the country. In 1919 a range of 149 fancy calendars in this style was introduced, shortly followed by 33 'Oilochrome' panel designs. These used a process by which the prints were first varnished and then embossed to resemble oil painting brushwork. The resulting finish was very popular with buyers.

During the 1920s and 1930s the calendar range expanded rapidly and within a few years there were thirteen different sized series of Oilochrome panels and nine series of fancy calendars, selling from 3d to 3/6 each, as well as local view calendars, novelty calendars, daily tear-off block calendars and purse calendars.


Catalogue from the British Industries Fair 1923
Catalogue from the
British Industries Fair 1923

The new print works circa 1923
The new print works circa 1923



1933 Panel calendar
1933 Panel calendar

Post War to the Millennium

For a few years after the Second World War panel calendars retained their popularity, but soon the new "wire-o-binding" method was revolutionising calendar production and turnover calendars began to re-emerge.

By the early 1960s the watercolour panel calendars had died out to be replaced by an ever-increasing range of turnover calendars featuring colour photography, both of local view areas and general interest subjects.

A range of just ten titles in 1961 became seventeen the following year and thirty-four calendars in 1967, and by the 1990s, there were over one hundred titles in the range.

Early "wire-o-bound" calendar 1958
Early "wire-o-bound" calendar 1958

Souvenir Millennium calendar 2000
Souvenir Millennium calendar 2000



1980 Local calendars
1980 Local calendars

Into the 21st Century

Since the turn of the 21st century the Salmon calendar range has developed significantly, to the point where there are now over 250 different calendar designs.

Salmon is recognised as the market leader in the publication of local view calendars of the British Isles, featuring regions, counties, towns and cities, national parks and coastlines throughout the country.

All Salmon calendars are still produced at its print works in Sevenoaks, Kent and bear the hallmarks of quality which have made them so successful over the years - quality reproductions, carefully chosen pictures accompanied by descriptions or quotations, a wide variety of styles and outstanding value with affordable prices throughout the range.



Salmon Calendars - Into the 21st Century



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