Glens Falls in 1946 — Finch discontinues news print

In the early 20th century, the Finch, Pruyn & Co. paper mill in Glens Falls produced newsprint for about 150 newspapers.

Depression era economics and World War II era developments led to diversification, and on Jan. 1, 1946, the company discontinued production of newsprint and undertook a major upgrade of the mill to focus on printing and writing papers.

Even though the mill no longer made newsprint, Finch, Pruyn continued to supply 21 daily newspapers with newsprint, through an arrangement with a Canadian paper company.

A wave of newspaper consolidations and closings after World War I continued in the 1920s and ’30s in conditions similar to the current newspaper industry.

“With the Depression of the early thirties, the newsprint paper, with other commodities, was greatly reduced, and further the industry had been greatly overbuilt in Canada,” The Post-Star reported.

To offset the decline in newsprint sales, Finch, Pruyn began making specialty ground wood paper used as raw stock for manufacturing wall paper.

During World War II, there was a scarcity of traditional paper for book publishing, and publishers, experimenting with the ground wood stock, found it to be satisfactory, opening another new market for Finch, Pruyn.

By 1945, two-thirds of the mill’s production was in wall paper stock and printing papers, and only one-third news print.

Over time, Finch diversified into high grade papers for printing and writing, and other special specialty papers.

The mill, now known as Finch Paper, is still a major employer in Glens Falls.

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Maury Thompson

Freelance history writer and documentary film producer from Ticonderoga, NY