Horace “Sonny” Wallace, part of three generations in the family Wallace Engraving business here in Austin, died recently.
I had the privilege of interviewing him just a year ago at his kitchen table. Here’s a sample from my profile of the Wallace family that ran Dec. 18, 2015.
“During the 1940s, Horace “Sonny” Wallace tried his hand at every task in his father’s shop.
“I washed the glass plates before being paid,” he says about the Wallace Engraving Co., founded by his father in 1932. “Then I worked a camera. It took two minutes to take a picture. We transferred the image from film to metal. We exposed the metal, etched with an acid bath to make a metal plate. Then we cut away the parts that didn’t need to be there.”
As a youth, Wallace sometimes rode horses or mules to see his friends. He first lived on Taylor Street in East Austin, then on Carolyn Avenue in the Harris Park area, then on Windsor Road and, lastly, on Blanco Street.
For Wallace Engraving, he made deliveries on his bicycle. The company did a lot of prepress engraving for the American and Statesman newspapers, owned by the same company even before they were merged into one morning paper in the 1970s.
“We always wanted to be close to the Statesman, so we could deliver right away,” he says. “They couldn’t do what we were doing. I knew a lot of people down there.”