The Indianapolis Engraving Company, featured here in a Chamber of Commerce advertisement from 1933, was founded in 1894 by H.W. Ballard and Ernest C. Ropkey as the Indianapolis Engraving and Electrotyping Company. Ropkey was originally the treasurer of Indianapolis Engraving, but as evidenced in this ad, had risen to the role of president by the early 1930’s. Indianapolis Engraving provided typesetting services for many local publications, ranging from yearbooks to the 1933 compilation of the songs of Stephen Collins Foster, compiled by Josiah Kirby Lilly for display at the Foster House.
Ballard and Ropkey were both early Irvington residents, though Ropkey eventually moved to a property on the northwest side, now called the Cotton-Ropkey house. Unfortunately, in 2012, the Cotton-Ropkey house was slated for demolition unless a buyer could be found and the house relocated. Purchase by the Ropkey family in 1937, the property most recently housed a impressive collection of military memorabilia, including tanks and airplanes, collected over the years by Ernest’s grandson, Fred. After a series of zoning issues, the Ropkeys relocated their collection to Crawfordsville, where they now operate the Ropkey Armor Museum.
What became of the Indianapolis Engraving Company? It was renamed as Ropkey Engraving in the mid-1960’s, and exists today in a smaller capacity as Ropkey Graphics as part of the Harding Poorman group.