Page 16 - January 2017
P. 16

t Bride Library holds around     artefacts, but some of the more quirky
            60,000 books, 3,600 periodical   and unusual pieces fi led away in the
       Stitles and several hundred           2,500+ archival boxes which line the
       thousand artefacts related to printing,   shelves.
       publishing, paper-making and the book
       arts. Many of the artefacts in particular   Tisley’s Harmonograph
       are not listed in the catalogue, but   Print
       simply stored in boxes and packages
       on some 4km of shelving that fi lls the        e start with a small piece of
       many storerooms used by the library           printed ephemera (actual
       and dotted around the red brick building  Wsize 3” x 3”) produced using
       on Bride Lane. Located close to Ludgate   a piece of technology that captured the
       Circus and Fleet Street, the building was   Victorian imagination. Alongside you
       constructed between 1891 and 1894. It   will fi nd an example of a harmonic print,
       was designed by Robert Cunningham     produced on Tisley’s Harmonograph.

                                  Harmonograph Formula
       Murray, and this rambling old Victorian   Tisley & Spiller were opticians, with
       pile is a maze of corridors and staircases,   commercial premises in London’s
       with some 50 or so rooms. Many are    Brompton Road, but their workshops
       fi lled with library stock, and such is the   also produced a wide range of scientifi c
       breadth of the collections that some   and optical instruments. Barometers,
       of the more obscure holdings have not   dog whistles, microscopes, apparatus
       seen the light of day in many decades.   relating to ‘telephonic electricity’ and
       These are not always ‘treasures’ in the   even a patented phoneidoscope (for
       sense that they have a high monetary   visualising sound waves with the aid
       value, but they are often items which are   of pollen) were manufactured at their
       unique or rare because they were meant   works.
       to be disposable and should not have     Tisley’s Harmonograph produced
       survived. The type specimen collection   eleborate ‘Spirograph’-style designs
       (over 10,000 catalogued items, and    using a pair of damped pendulums. A
       many more unrecorded) is a good       pen travelling in an elliptical pattern,
       example of the latter.                governed by the movement of a
         Out of the Archives will feature an   simple pendulum, follows a gradually
       item from the St Bride Collections    decaying orbit on a platform which is
       each month. These may not always      also moving according to a diff erent
       be important historical documents or   direction of swing generated by another
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