Feeling a bit nostalgic about Nashua Corp.

Editor’s note: The following originally appeared as an editorial in The Telegraph.

There are few, if any, companies in this city with a history as long and rich as Nashua Corp. The company’s beginnings date back to 1849, a full decade before the Civil War, when manufacturing was the lifeblood of the local economy.

Over the years, Nashua Corp. has grown up with the city, transforming and reinventing itself along the way. As the city transitioned from a hub for manufacturing to more of a technology center, Nashua Corp. did the same, adapting its line of products to the modern era.

Until the late 1990s, Nashua Corp. had a significant presence downtown with a giant mill building on Franklin Street. The company has employed thousands in this community through the years — many for 20, 30, even 40 years. And, of course, the firm is the city’s namesake.

So when the sale of Nashua Corp. to a Connecticut company was finalized last week, surely there was some sadness on the part of locals who feel an affinity to the company.

But it’s also a perfect opportunity to be a little nostalgic, looking back on Nashua Corp.’s beginnings, its long history with the city, and the constant string of changes over the years to help a very old company keep up with the times.

In the earliest days, Nashua Corp. was in the business of printing cardboard and playing cards. In all likelihood, that’s where the company’s “card shop” nickname, which still exists today, got its start. In 1861, the company got its first paper-glazing machine, then added a power-coating machine, according to a report in Nashua’s 75th anniversary booklet, published in 1928.

The company wasn’t actually called Nashua Corp. in those days but acquired that after several reincarnations.

One of those incarnations — Nashua Card, Gummed & Coated Paper Co. — came about in 1904. Owners of Boston-based Carter, Rice & Co. bought out the financially struggling Nashua Card and Glazed Paper Co. after fire destroyed its plant in Massachusetts. The purchase positioned the company for a period of growth and expansion.

By the early 1900s, Nashua Corp. was operating two mills on Franklin Street. It was a typical turn-of-the-century bustling manufacturer, employing three shifts of men and women. The company turned out all kinds of paper products, from candy and food wrappers to wax-coated and sticky paper. The jobs were secure, well-paying and sought after.

In 1907, the company reached a landmark deal with a local Franco-American named Henri Sevigne, inventor of the revolutionary bread-wrapping machine. Soon, demand for waxed bread wrappers expanded beyond commercial bakeries and into practical, everyday use.

In 1910, a plant telephone was added and new office machinery and boilers were installed. The company hired its first chemist, laying the foundation for modern research and development, a vital component of the firm’s future.

Through the war years and into the 1950s, improving technology and manufacturing processes prompted the firm to refocus its products to meet newer, more complex demands. In the late 1960s, Nashua Corp. broke ground for a new plant in Merrimack, which opened at the end of 1970.

There, as well as at the existing plant on Franklin Street, the company kept up with the times by growing into photofinishing, making thermosensitive paper for use in specialized photography, and manufacturing the first incarnations of computer hard disks. Nashua Corp. also started making toners, print cartridges and papers for fax machines, copiers and computer printers.

Throughout its history, Nashua Corp. also has made significant contributions to the local community. In 1917, during World War I, the company joined with several other manufacturers in planting “war gardens” to make up for food shortages. In 1968, Nashua Corp. treasurer Eliot A. Carter donated more than $1 million for the city to build its current library on Court Street.

Today, Nashua Corp. makes labels and other specialty paper products. It’s best-known products include duct tape, deli labels and the paper used to print movie theater tickets. The company that bought it, Conveo Inc., is best known for labels and recognized as the country’s third-largest graphics communication company.

At this point, just a short time after Nashua Corp. shareholders approved the deal, it’s too early to tell what, if any, local impact the sale will have. But no matter what happens, the company’s 160-year legacy will live on.