June 1933, Churchill Downs, Louisville, Kentucky:
Riding the #4 horse, “Brass Monkey” in the race against time, Robert Wendling, an accomplished jockey, became involved in a horse racing accident that would affect not only his life, but lives of his immediate family and families unfamiliar to him for many years to come.
Because of the limited medical resources that were available in 1933, Robert, then 24 years of age suffered enduring nerve damage to his spine leaving his right side permanently paralyzed. As a result of the accident his family knew he would require resources beyond anything they had in order for Robert to lead a normal life with his handicap. Two determined parents, four brothers, and two sisters began the search for a business idea that could potentially support Robert.
And they were off…
Neil and Ralph Wendling, the oldest brothers worked for Stanley Manufacturing in Dayton, Ohio. Stanley Manufacturing designed, printed, and distributed greeting cards. Years after the accident, Ralph brought home an old manually-operated printing press which was the size of today’s desktop printers. Perhaps with this area’s graphic arts heritage, and his brothers' experience to draw upon, my father, the youngest sibling, became interested enough to experiment with the old press and offset printing.
In 1941, Wendling Printing was born in the dining room of the family home, producing matchbook covers, personalized cigarette wrappers, labels, business cards, and stationery. The parents' vision of Robert working in a family business was also realized.
Seventy-four years since the accident, Wendling Printing Company is still a family business with the same determination, hard work and dedication that my uncles and father fostered. We have become a leading regional provider of both sheetfed and web offset printing, graphic design and mail shop services. The company continues its long association with Forbes and Fortune 500 companies in the production of investor communication tools. We produce elaborate corporate identity pieces, striking annual reports, consumer goods packaging, catalogs, unique direct mail campaigns, and more for many divergent businesses.
A world apart from the days of printing matchbook covers, cigarette wrappers, labels and business cards.