The of origins of Knox Printing are not definitive since no records were kept in the beginning, but it is known to have existed in 1923.
The earliest reference to the company being in the records of the KwaZulu-Natal printing chamber date to October 1923, however it is likely that the company was started 10 or 15 years earlier.
The company was set up by Walter Knox, a prominent citizen of Durban in the early 1900s who used to produce a weekly summary of matters of interest to the legal profession. He used to take his précis to the printers every week and at some stage he decided to start his own print shop. It was in a substantial three-storey building in Baker Street for years and over time became a big company. It printed telephone directories, and documents such as the Durban by-laws, and published a lot of books. In those days the firm had a much broader portfolio, more in line with its original name, the Knox Printing and Publishing Company.
Unfortunately Walter Knox was a "generous old man", who did a lot of publishing out of the goodness of his heart - work that was not profitable, and the firm eventually ran into financial difficulties. It was heading for liquidation when Knox entered into negotiations with a business associate, Ivan Knock. They reached agreement, and Ivan Knock and Associates bought the business in 1970.
Knox remained on board and was joined there for a time by Leslie Knott. The board then had an unlikely combination of names: Knox, Knock and Knott. Ivan took over as managing director and was joined in the company in 1972 by his son, Paul, then a junior staffer who was destined to take over the business after his death 20 years later. The firm cut back in the 1970s in order to focus and become profitable. The company had also moved premises over the years, first to McDonald Road, Umbilo, and then, in 1993, to its present, modern works in Albert Road, Westmead.
After talking over the reins of the company Paul, soon had an impact, helping to change the company's direction and turn it into a thriving business. He saw a need to specialise in certain fields, especially nowadays with the improvement in printing methods and the advance of digital technology, So he made major changes by pushing the company towards speciality printing and away from the publishing. This meant that the company did a lot of work for other printers, those that did not have the same capabilities especially in the areas of foiling and embossing.
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