Thomas Nelson, Edinburgh publisher

Thomas Nelson was born in Scotland in 1780. His parents and grandparents were strong of faith and instilled this on young Thomas. He would often accompany his father on long journeys to communion services. These expeditions left a positive impression on Thomas, one that he would soon share with others.

By sixteen, he began a career as a teacher. Soon though, he knew that teaching was not for him. Various odd-jobs later, Thomas found himself in London, employed as a publisher's apprentice. This also was a short-lived job and after he saved enough money, he returned to Scotland and opened his own second-hand bookstore.

Thomas Nelson had the desire to not only provide good used books, he also wanted to supply Christian and classic literature to the average person. He soon began publishing works such as Robin Crusoe and Pilgrim's Progress before taking on the Bible in which he published in thirty-two parts to make reading easier. He often sold his books in town squares and county fairs.

After many years of success, Thomas Nelson revolutionized the publishing industry by sending out one of his representatives to bookstores in Scotland and England in hopes of expanding distribution. This proved very successful.

Business was booming and by 1835, Thomas Nelson's son William had joined the company with brother Thomas Jr. following four years later. Management was transferred to the two sons soon after.

In 1850, the rotary printing press was invented by Thomas Jr. The press not only saved time by printing faster, it also printed on both sides of the paper. Current presses run on the same principles of the early rotary press.

Thomas Nelson Sr. died in 1861. Sons William and Thomas Jr. carried on with their father's business and made it one of the most thriving publishing houses around.

Over the years, management would change hands and bad times would befall Thomas Nelson Publishing. There were fires, death, and even bombings, but the company kept printing and still does today.

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