Page 8 - June 2014
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of its debut. The last appearance came in the      happy to take on board
December 1947 ediƟon of the catalogue and it       sensible suggesƟons
was absent from the revised ediƟon published       for improvements.
in February the following year. Once again, it
provided an expensive soluƟon to a non-            Frederick Ayers’ biggest
existent problem. The “Friend” was 10 shillings    mistake was probably
at the beginning of 1947 (about £20 today)         the Adana “Nine-Six”
but its final catalogue appearance omiƩed           treadle machine which
any reference to price, although a statement       was rapidly withdrawn
at the foot of the page said that some items       from sale soon aŌer
illustrated were in short supply and Adana         its launch. Phyllis Rich-
could not undertake to specially manufacture       ardson, manageress of
items which were no longer available. Reading      the Adana showroom
between the lines, it seems the Compositor’s       in Church Street, told
Friend had probably been withdrawn earlier         me that the press was
that year, and the formes for the catalogue        produced as a cheap
pages were slightly modified to reflect this.        alternaƟve to the T/
                                                   P48 for use in schools,
The founder of Adana, Donald Aspinall, had a       but when a child’s
number of product failures, such as the sheet      hand was crushed in
metal H/S1 and the treadle adaptor, usually        the mechanism, which
because he did liƩle research into his market      had no safety features,
(according to his adverƟsing agent, Charles        it was quickly axed.
Kingston) but Frederick Ayers also had his fair    This elusive machine,
share of unsuccessful products and ‘innova-        hardly every seen
Ɵons’. The original launch model of the “Eight-    and rarely photo-
Five” had such a large ink disk that it had to be  graphed, can now
removed, with the rollers, to take the chase       be seen in the prinƟng
out of the machine bed. Ayers quickly realised     workshop at the St Bride
his design error and created a smaller disk        FoundaƟon, which recently took
soon aŌer the launch at the request of BPS         delivery of a working “Nine-Six” press. Come
members. He was always willing to listen, and      along and see what might have been...

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