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Champion Paper and Fibre Company

by John L. Bell, 2006

Postcard circa 1935-1945 of the Champion Paper and Fibre Company, Canton, N.C.The Champion Paper and Fibre Company was formed in 1935 by the merger of Champion Coated Paper of Hamilton, Ohio, and the Champion Fibre Company of Canton, N.C. The paper company had been organized in 1893 by Peter Thomson, a retired printer. The fiber company had been established in 1906 by Reuben B. Robertson, Thomson's son-in-law, to provide wood pulp for the Ohio paper mill. Robertson's company pioneered several developments: it was the first mill to make white pulp from chestnut wood and one of the first mills to establish a paper chemistry research laboratory (1920s); it installed and operated the world's largest book-paper machine in 1933; and, by 1934, it had become the first mill to make high-quality white pulp from southern pine.

In 1931 Champion Fibre Company sold approximately 90,000 acres of forest land to the government to create the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The company received $3 million for the land, which enabled it to buy new equipment and sustain profitable operations during the Great Depression. Other factors contributing to profitability were family control of the company, the production of high-quality writing and printing paper at low cost, and the extraction and sale of by-products from pulp and paper manufacture. After World War II, the company expanded its products to include kraft, cardboard, and drink-carton paper and also opened a pulp mill in Brazil.

Falling profits in the 1950s led the Thomson family to relinquish management to Karl Bendetson, who took drastic action to restore profitability. In 1967 Champion merged with U.S. Plywood to make more efficient use of both companies' timber resources. The new company was named U.S. Plywood-Champion Papers, but in 1972 the name was changed to Champion International Corporation. In 1984 Champion acquired St. Regis Corporation, a large producer of newsprint and magazine paper. This gave the company 6.4 million acres of forestland, making it one of the largest private landholders in the nation. The company sold some 2 million acres to raise capital. In the 1990s, Champion maintained extensive wood and paper operations in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. In 1999 Champion sold the Canton mill and other operations to its employees in a $200 million union-led buyout. The resulting company, Blue Ridge Paper Products, is an important producer of envelope papers, writing and printing papers, and packaging products.


Champion Paper and Fibre Company, The Story of the Canton Division, The Champion Paper and Fibre Company, Canton, North Carolina (1948).

Angela Woodward, "Champion International Corporation," International Directory of Company Histories, vol. 4 (1995).

Additional Resources:

Merchant, Julia. "Blue Ridge Paper Products changes name, moves headquarters." The Smokey Mountain News. September 5, 2007.

Blount, Jim. "Champion Hamilton mill chronology, 1893-2005." The Lane Libraries. January 2006.

Blount, Jim. "Champion Papers history." The Lane Libraries.

Blount, Jim. Champion: 100 Years of Papermaking in Hamilton, Ohio. Hamilton, Ohio: Champion International Corp. 1994.

Image Credits:

"Champion Paper and Fiber Company, Canton, N.C." Durwood Barbour Collection of North Carolina Postcards (P077), North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC-Chapel Hill.,2176.

Origin - location: 



It says the champion paper and fiber company Hamilton Ohio in two different spots


When my dad died in 2000 he had worked 31 years total the last three years were for blue Ridge in canton nc... the only thing that cane out of his estate was the last three years with blue ridge... where is his retirement and every timing that never got pulled out of his estate he died from the military


I found 2 Champion rings that have my grandpa's initials inside. One says 25 yrs Champion and Fibre Company on it with a blue stone. The other one has a red stone but not sure of year. I believe he worked there from the 20's to 60's. He died in 1965. I am also a retiree of Champion in 1996, How can I find out what year these rings were made and the value although I would never sale them. I also have 2 from my dad's employment there from the 40's to 80's


Dear Connie,

Thank you for visiting NCpedia and taking time to share your artifact and question. 


Unfortunately, we don’t have any additional information in NCpedia that would help you.  You may want to talk to an antiques dealer or a jewelry appraiser. 


Good luck with this and best wishes,

Kelly Agan


I have a small (4" x 4") metal plate with one side painted white (the other side is minimally treated metal) and the following printed in dark green in all caps (¼”) along the edges (diagonals here separate the sides): "THE CHAMPION / PAPER AND FIBRE CO. / CANTON / N.C.”

Two opposite corners have punched holes where nails, screws, small stakes or something similar secured the plate onto something. Linking those holes is a distinct, straight "rust" streak.

The middle is dominated by an illustration, in the same green, of a mounted, helmeted and caped knight carrying a lance and/or pageantry-banner lettered: CHAMPION PAPERS.

Any idea of the provenance of this plate?

Ron Jayson


It is a timber tag. They are nailed to trees in the woods denoting property lines.


My father has passed away and I found an insurance policy of his with this company insuring him


Dear Dorothy,

We're very sorry to hear of your loss.

If you need assistance finding company contact information, the librarians at your local library can help.  Reference librarians here at the Government & Heritage Library can also provide assistance locating information about North Carolina companies. Our contact information can be found at

Best wishes,

Kelly Agan, NCpedia Staff, Government & Heritage Library


Found what I believe to be an old promo. It's a spring loaded, collapsible brass jewelers magnifier that fits in a 1x1 inch leather case in remarkably excellent condition. Any history as to cira and why this was picked as a promotional item. Thanks for your time in this matter. rj bishop.


Hello, R.J. I work at the NC Museum of History. If you want to contact me about the jewelers' magnifier you have, I'll try to help you out. Does your magnifier have a connection with the Champion Paper & Fiber Company? I'd like to know what writing or marks it might have on it. Please email me at Thanks! RoAnn Bishop

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