At this early date, Dr. Harris and Augustus began printing some of the first gummed labels in the United States. The type for each label was set by hand. Three-color labels were put through the presses three times; gold first, then red and black. Many of the labels from this early period were distinctively and artistically designed, sometimes displaying five different styles and sizes of type in each label. Tiny lettering was squared off perfectly at both ends. Frequently, the labels were framed in gold. Labels were either gummed or ungummed, with the latter costing 10% less. They were printed on plain paper, and then glue was applied with a paint brush to the back of each sheet. When the sheets curled up, they had to be uncurled by hand and put under the pressure of a bookbinding machine to be flattened. The labels were cut out by hand with the use of a die and hammer. Square cuts were made with a cutter, and rounded edges with a special curved die.
Dr. Harris, having been a physician and dentist, saw the need and market for drug labels, so he published a number of catalogs ("Sample Books") with specimens and prices, and sent them to doctors, dentists, drugstores, and other potential customers. This brought in business from all over the country. The catalogs were his only salesmen, other than himself.
His business grew and in 1876 he sold his share to another son, Charles W. Harris. Charles and Augustus operated the business together for a short period of time, after which Charles acquired full interest and ownership. Soon the need for more space forced Charles to construct a new building circa 1893. Dr. John Harris died in 1879 at the age of 71. His son, Charles W., died in 1929 at the age of 84. Charles Dixon Harris, son of Charles W., carried on the family business until his death in 1956.
Paul Ritchie, a pressman at Harris & Company since 1920, was able to acquire the business in 1956. He served as president until 1970 when his son, David, took over after being with the firm for 15 years. David was faced with the task of developing his firm into a modern and complete printing facility. The company was highly specialized and limited in its printing capacity. Many improvements were needed but because of limited capital, the objectives would have to be accomplished gradually over a period of years.
By 1980 most of them had been completed, with a newly renovated building (inside and out) and greater plant and storage space. New presses and equipment increased the firm's production speed and capacity. Efforts to expand the scope of the company’s services beyond labels resulted in the opening of new markets. Services such as high die cutting, POP display cards and headers, booklets, catalogs, and various padded products were added.
By the mid 1980's, continued growth and the purchase of additional equipment forced the company to seek a larger facility that could accommodate its growing needs. The decision was made in early 1987 to purchase a 2.1 acre parcel in the newly created Salem Industrial Park. In the fall of 1987, the company moved into a new 10,000 square foot facility. The addition of the new facility allowed for greater production efficiency which enabled the company to service larger accounts. Harris & Company, Inc., continued to add new equipment throughout the 1990's and early 2000's further expanding its production capabilities.