Page 5 - May 2017
P. 5

with Otto continuing to work at the bank,
                                             but he rapidly discovered that his new
                                             company required considerably more
                                             attention than he’d initially imagined.
                                             He resigned from the bank and became
                                             a full-time salesman of decorative types
                                             and fancy borders.
                                               In the late nineteenth century London
                                             had many hundreds of small printing
                                             businesses, as well as the larger houses,
                                             and Otto Soldan travelled the length
                                             and breadth of the British Isles selling
                                             type and printing sundries. The business
                                             swiftly expanded, and before long he
                                             was also supplying ‘Boston’ stapling
        Soldans Pre-WW1 Catalogues           machines, ‘Liberty’ platens from the
       time working in a small private bank in   USA and the successful ‘Conqueror’
       Frankfurt but, like many other ambitious   platen from his native Germany.
       German men, moved to London in the    Catalogues were produced on a regular
       1880s to seek his fortune. He found   basis (St Bride Library holds a great
       himself a job with a small merchant bank   many editions) and a network of sales
       in the capital.                       representatives was slowly set up. One
         In the late 19th century there was a   of the most successful ventures was
       large German YMCA in Finsbury Square,   the importation of ‘Lightning’ proof
       which Otto Soldan joined.
       It was there that he met his
       future wife, a member of a
       German choir that rehearsed
       on the premises. They were
       soon married and sought
       somewhere to live, but extra
       money was needed to give
       them a better start in life.
       A fellow YMCA member,
       a Mr Schilling, wanted to
       dispose of his small business
       importing decorative printing
       types and fancy borders.
       Soldan scraped together the
       money to buy the fi rm and
       in 1896 Soldan & Company
       was founded. This acquisition
       was originally intended as
       nothing more than a sideline,
                                               Soldans Cartoon
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