The A. Hoen & Company was founded by Edward Weber and August Hoen under the name of Edward Weber & Company. In 1839 they printed the first color cards ever produced in the United States. They also printed the first lithographic maps in the country and in 1842 they lithographed the maps and illustrations for the Fremont Reports. In 1853 the company become the largest printer of smoking and chewing tobacco labels in the western hemisphere. A. Hoen firm’s corpus included posters, cigar boxes, sheet music covers, as well as maps.
August took the firm over with his brother Ernest Hoen and cousin Henry Hoen in 1848 upon Weber's death. August Hoen patented several methods of lithography which globally accelerated and refined the process for both business and art.
The firms main building (they had other buildings just a couple of blocks away), the Hoen Building, on Lexington Street was built across the street from City Hall in1880 and was destroyed by fire in 1902. The building was designed to complement City Hall and had a mansard roof and iron embellishments. After the fire gutted the building, the city bought it in hopes of renovating it for an annex to City Hall. The cost was too much and the city ended up demolishing this beautiful building in 1926. The Municipal Building now occupies this site.
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A Hoen & Co. rebuilt at 2101 E. Biddle Street. At their peak, they employed more than two hundred and fifty people. They extended their operation and built another plant in Richmond, VA. that was run by one of August's sons, Ernest August Hoen assisted by his younger brother Edward Weber Hoen.
|A. Hoen & Co. 1954.|
Photo courtesy of the BGE Collection at the BMI
The Richmond branch continued into the early 1930s under Edward Hoen, concentrating on the envelope business. Albert Hoen, the youngest of the six sons and three daughters of the founder, continued to run the Baltimore office as president of the firm until his death on May 1, 1956 at age 93. The original Baltimore office of the Hoen firm continued in the lithography and printing business until around 1981 when it dissolved after filing for bankruptcy. The building has sat vacant ever since. I am happy to report that the building is being repurposed.
|Above the entrance on Biddle Street a Latin inscription is written: "Saxa Loquuntur" or "The Stones Speak."|
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