Page 6 - May 2017
P. 6

|  The Story of Soldans |                                  |  Continued  |

       presses from Germany. Three styles    constantly upgraded and redesigned its
       were off ered, marketed as Type A, B   products, and a new fi xed-bed, power-
       and C. A wide range of bed sizes was   operated machine was launched in 1948,
       available in each style and some could   remaining in production until the demise
       be specially adapted during production   of the company in 1968.
       to produce fl ongs for stereotyping. They     In 1910 Soldans seized the opportunity
       were extremely versatile machines and   to expand, thanks to the increasing use
       an important source of revenue. Sizes   of machines such as the Monotype and
       ranged from Demy to Quad Crown and    Linotype. Both were costly, and largely
       a unique feature (for those days) was the   beyond the pockets of smaller trade
       adjustable bed, mounted on a series of   printers. Otto Soldan struck an exclusive
                                                   deal to import the Typograph
                                                   machine, manufactured
                                                   in Berlin. It was simple in
                                                   operation, cast excellent slugs,
                                                   and was substantially cheaper
                                                   than the Monotype or Linotype.
                                                   The disadvantage was its slower
                                                   speed, but this was not an issue
                                                   with small provincial printers,
                                                   whose newspapers were more
                                                   often weekly than daily. Soldan
                                                   needed extra capital to fund the
                                                   importation of the Typograph,
                                                   but British banks would not lend
                                                   him the money. The capital was
                                                   eventually provided by a German
                                                   family member, who joined him
                                                   in partnership in London. This
                                                   essential German fi nance would
                                                   soon contribute to the downfall
                                                   of the business.
                                                     A separate offi  ce and
                                                   showroom was set up for the
       wedges and operated by a small hand-  Typograph and it was launched in the
       wheel with a setting dial. The popularity   UK in 1910 with full engineering support
       of the press was so great that imports   and back-up. Further lines were added,
       were largely abandoned and production   including a revolutionary sheet-feeder
       started in London, with batches of 50   (by Kleim & Ungerer of Leipzig) and
       presses produced at a time. Between   another model known as the ‘Slogger’.
       1900 and 1914 several hundred of these   Business boomed with Soldans acting as
       were sold to printers in the UK. By the   agent for Vomag, a German manufacturer
       outbreak of war it had simply become   of photogravure equipment. Larger
       known as the Soldans press, on the basis   premises were acquired at 8 Baldwins
       of its unique mechanism. The company   Gardens (off  Grays Inn Road), and in
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