Page 9 - May 2017
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‘R. B.’ Fishenden, who wished to visit   perfectly placed for expansion, with
       the main German type-foundries. In    strong European links. Intertype had a
       exchange, Fishenden provided expert   large European sales force, with factory
       advice on faces which might sell well in   facilities in Slough, so although they
       the UK. Erbar, Kabel and Futura were   would benefi t from Soldans’ contacts,
       introduced to Britain thanks to Fishenden   they had no requirement for the sales
       and Soldans. Although there were other   force. On the 1st of July 1968, Soldans
       UK importers of Continental types, such   was absorbed by Harris-Intertype, the
       as Frederick Wesselheoft and McCoy’s,   workforce made redundant and the
       Soldans persuaded their German        old company name quickly phased out.
       suppliers to cast type on UK standard   Soldans Limited was fi nally removed
       bodies (rather than Didot) and largely   from the registers at Companies House in
       dominated the British market.         August 1976 and offi  cially ceased to exist,
         The new Soldans company continued to   although it had not traded for eight years.
       grow and a distribution deal for the ‘Beka’     Nothing now remains of Soldans. Three
       process, a deep-etch system for printing   large pamphlet boxes of promotional
       plates, boosted profi ts in the early years   material are held at St Bride Library
       of the fi rm’s revival. Customers included   – by coincidence the same quantity
       Alf Cooke of Leeds, one of the country’s   as Stephenson Blake, although the
       top colour printers, which had carried a   latter has a much greater presence in
       Royal Warrant since the reign of Victoria.   terms of bound specimen books. These
       Otto Soldans died in 1943, leaving behind   typeface leafl ets and a small collection
       a company which thrived in the post-war   of machinery catalogues are the only
       years, but fancy type sales declined in the   physical evidence of the company’s
       1950s and were badly aff ected by Letraset   former existence. Soldans, once an
       – the ‘new kid on the block’ in the 1960s.   important name in the history of British
       Most of the profi ts came from machinery   letterpress, is now no more than a distant
       sales after World War II, and in the 1960s   memory.
       Soldans became distributors
       for the fast-running, Miller
       two-revolution American
       presses and through
       their association with the
       Pittsburgh fi rm stronger links
       with Vandercook were forged
       in Chicago. Soldans had been
       distributing Vandercook
       products from 1955.
         In 1967 Soldans
       were approached by
       representatives of the Harris-
       Intertype Corporation,
       which was looking to expand
       its European operations.
       The British company was
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