The company was founded in 1912 by Ross A. Cauthorn as the R.A. Cauthorn Paper Company. Soon thereafter an “E” was added to both the family and company name. It became the R.A. Cauthorne Paper Company and later became simply Cauthorne Paper Company. Paper distribution was their business.
Cultivating strong relationships with paper suppliers was always a top priority for Mr. Cauthorne. One of the Company’s former mill suppliers was Chesapeake Corporation in West Point, VA. One week during the Great Depression, Chesapeake did not have enough cash to cover its payroll so Mr. Cauthorne sent his youngest son to the mill with a satchel of cash to pay their hourly employees. During that same period, the company bought its first paper sheeter.
The company grew to employ around 60 employees and its character was most identifiable with the paper converting niche it had created for itself. By the 1960’s the company sold to a wide national customer base including several prominent newspapers; The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Baltimore News-American were customers. It also was a supplier to Virginia’s largest stationary producer at the time, Everett-Waddey Company. Mr. Cauthorne was a close friend of Max Waddey.
The company was family owned and managed for 4 generations before the first non-family owner gained control. Ross V. Cauthorne succeeded his father then was succeeded by Ross A’s son in law, Fordham Deopker. A partnership consisting of Ross A’s sister’s grandson Ray Wallace, George Michael, and Thomas Andrews represented the next generation of leadership. John Lewis, joined the company as Treasurer in 1981, and gradually bought out the partnership. He moved the company from Manchester to Ashland in 2007. Mark Williams bought the company in 2018.
Cauthorne Paper has a Bobst 1260 machine. This very reliable machine, in the hands of a good plant operator and capable structural designer like Mark, is a formidable production tool.