Reynolds and Reynolds: A revolution in record keeping

Dayton company founded in 1866.


Highlights

Reynolds and Reynolds was founded in Dayton in 1866 to mass produce business forms.

Spurred by Dayton's car culture, Reynolds and Reynolds moved to specializing in dealership forms

Reynolds and Reynolds, a company that made its mark producing standardized business forms, was founded in Dayton just over 150 years ago.

In 1866 Lucius D. Reynolds, a former Bellefontaine newspaper publisher, made his way to Dayton with $500 tucked in his pocket.

» PHOTOS: Reynolds and Reynolds, the early years

He and his brother-in-law, James R. Gardner, moved into a vacant firehouse located behind the Turner Opera House (now the Victoria Theatre) and opened a print shop.

The following year, Gardner left the business and Ira Reynolds, Lucius’ father, joined him and the company became known as Reynolds and Reynolds.

RECENT HISTORY EXTRA FEATURES

» Bygone gifts: What Dayton wanted for Christmas a century ago

» Dayton Arcade: Photographs reveal landmark in time

» A century of Dayton landmarks

The company, which began with six shop workers and a traveling salesman, was among the early printers that specialized in standardized business forms and revolutionized how records were kept.

In 1869 Ira Reynolds invented and patented a removable and reusable hard cover for duplicating sales books that utilized an insertable carbon leaf, according to the company history. That invention made it faster and easier to create multiple copies of the same information.

“My improvements relate more especially to books suitable for salesmen and book-keepers and are designed not only to facilitate and economize their labors, but also to serve as a check upon both, and a protection of their employer and his customers,” wrote Reynolds in his Dec. 21, 1869 patent application.

Reynolds received four patents by 1874 for his forms related inventions.

Over the years the company expanded and moved to accommodate growth. In 1898 it moved to Washington and Germantown streets, where it remained for more than 100 years.

» NEWS IN YOUR INBOX: Sign up for our email newsletters on topics that interest you

A boon in the region’s rich car culture helped spark further company growth.

Reynolds was already producing business forms for automotive dealerships, tailoring them to the way dealers handled accounting and inventory, when a 1927 contract for the Chevrolet division of General Motors marked a weighty achievement for the company.

It was now supplying business forms on a national level and went on to start an automotive forms division. That success led to becoming a major supplier of forms - and later computer systems - to the U.S. automobile retail market.

During World War II the War Manpower Commission, a U.S. government agency that managed the efficient use of labor, resolved the company had an important role to play.

Reynolds and Reynolds printed ration books and became the lead printer of technical handbooks for Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Forms began to morph into computer software for automotive retailers in the 1960s, and the company was among the first to provide computer services to its customers.

Today, the company that began with fewer than 10 employees in downtown Dayton has more than 4,300 employees worldwide. More than 1,300 are employed in Dayton.

» EXCLUSIVE CONTENT: Download our apps for news how you want it

“We would hope a company with this type of heritage would be another point of pride for the greater Dayton community,” said Tom Schwartz, director of corporate communications for the company.

“In many ways, Reynolds is a product of the rich heritage of innovation that formed the Dayton region. The company continues to reflect that history of innovation and the knowledge and skills of the people who live and work here.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Car fleeing police with doors open strikes pedestrians, flees from scene
Car fleeing police with doors open strikes pedestrians, flees from scene

At least two people were injured when a car fled down an alley with its doors open as the driver attempted to elude police, according to witnesses. Police responded to an alley in the area of Norman and Eastview avenues around 1:45 a.m. A woman who was hit said there were several people standing in an alley when the suspect saw police come down the...
Dayton traffic from the WHIO traffic center
Dayton traffic from the WHIO traffic center

Check this page for a full list of crashes, disabled vehicles, construction projects and other hazards impacting your commute. Traffic issues can be reported by calling our newsroom at 937-259-2237 or tweeting @WHIOTraffic . Traffic conditions are updated every six minutes on AM 1290 and News 95.7 FM. No incidents to report No incidents to...
Victim shot in Dayton drives to Miami Valley Hospital

A shooting victim reportedly drove themselves to Miami Valley Hospital. Around 3:20 a.m., a shooting victim reportedly arrived at Miami Valley Hospital. The victim said they were shot in the area of Fairview Avenue and Main Street in Dayton. This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.
Clark County Municipal Court cases
Clark County Municipal Court cases

CASES CALLED MONDAY INCLUDED: Kelly L. Adams, 30, of 262 Franklin St., abusing harmful intoxicants, innocent, continued, public defender appointed, bond $2,500; possession of drug abuse instrument, innocent, continued, public defender appointed, bond $1,000. Frank A. Ball, 31, of Tremont City, two counts OVI, innocent, continued, released on own recognizance...
Champaign County Pet of the Week
Champaign County Pet of the Week

Chica is a 2-year-old female German Shepherd/Collie mix. She is a large dog at 85 pounds. Chica was surrendered to us by her owner. She is a happy dog who loves to play and would do best in a fenced-in yard. Chica has been spayed, is up to date on vaccinations (including rabies), has tested negative for heartworm and is on flea and heartworm preventative...
More Stories