Page 7 - May 2017
P. 7

1912 a large glass room was constructed   full, after the most successful Printing
       to showcase the ‘Palatia’ photogravure   Machinery Exhibition in the company’s
       press. The mechanism was similar to   history. Sadly, none of the orders received
       an old-fashioned stone-litho press, but   were ever fi lled due to the outbreak of
       produced around 400 sheets an hour    war. Despite the fact that the founder had
       from an engraved copper plate. One    become a naturalised British subject, and
       of the fi rst buyers was Blades, East &   all of the family were London born and
       Blades, who used the press for cheque   bred, the company was partly fi nanced by
       printing.                             a relative who was a German citizen (the
         Despite the runaway success of the   source of the funding for the Typograph
       machinery division, Soldans still excelled   imports) and therefore came under the
       in their range of Continental types, acting   Enemy Aliens Act. The Act gave the
       as agents for many of the top German   British Government sweeping powers,
       foundries, negotiating exclusive import   and Germans living in the UK could be
       deals with Bauer, Klingspor, Ludwig &   sent to internment camps for their own
       Mayer and Krebs – and also American   safety. After the ‘Lusitania Riots’ in May
       Type Founders. The company off ered the   1915 over 32,000 innocent German
       best range of imported faces in Britain.   men were held in British camps. As a
       Many names were changed, so ‘Tiemann   naturalised citizen Otto Soldans escaped
       Medieval’ became ‘Wren’ and ‘Koch’ was   internment, and for a while he was able to
       renamed ‘Oxford’ for British customers.   import Typograph matrices under licence
       Soldans established a solid reputation   via Holland. Trading became extremely
       for introducing the work of outstanding   diffi  cult and in 1917 permission was
       Continental artists and designers to   sought by Soldan to continue his business
       British printers. Their range of faces   as a sole trader. Otto Soldan attended a
       rivalled that of Stephenson Blake, and   hearing at the House of Commons where
       provided a greater choice of decorative   permission was formally refused and his
       display designs.                      business was compulsorily liquidated.
         By 1914 Otto Soldan’s order book was   Soldans & Company was no more.
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