Page 13 - April 2014
P. 13

                                                 Baauotsplffaso3ecinrlmkbemwsdilaoaisnrfspipsamhprcaiuaicpncmepgesysmqbtouuoarattsnejiuunƟrspisƟatipsle7TltsyleHbodaEsfsoC2lifH8ƩINqlElbueATsaP.HdEEsSWT TOYRPLEDͳFOUNDRY
influenced the price of type in the early 20th
century, keeping it arƟficially high to enhance   from his Special Cheap List. His price-cuƫng
their profits. In 1873 the Typefounders’          someƟmes smacks of desperaƟon, and the
AssociaƟon was formed from the ashes of          sale of his business to Alfred J. Pillar aŌer
an earlier, like-minded enterprise. Led by       WWI resulted in significant price rises. Some
Caslon, it included V & J Figgins, Miller &      of these were inevitable, with the cost of
Richard, Stephenson Blake and Reed & Fox         metal increasing as the war effort snapped
(later Sir Charles Reed & Sons). These five       up much of the available material, aŌer all
‘ring’ members produced most of the type         lead was an important ingredient of bullets.
used in Britain and were on as friendly terms    John Black’s telegraphic address in 1913 was
as business rivals can be. CriƟcism of their     “PillegiŌ”, which suggests that there may have
methods in the trade press resulted in ‘ring’    been a business connecƟon with Alfred Pillar
members withdrawing their adverƟsing, a          prior to his takeover of Black’s foundry.
situaƟon which conƟnued for many years.
The trade press reacted with comments such       The St Bride Library holds two type specimens
as this, in John Southward’s PracƟcal PrinƟng:   for John Black’s firm (c.1913) and Alfred
                                                 J. Pillar, his successor (1929). They appear
“We are unable to display a specimen of          superficially very similar, and the pages were
this type (semi-nonpareil) owing to the          probably printed from standing formes, as
characterisƟc incivility of the founders.”       there are few variaƟons in the specimens
                                                 other than price changes. On the cover of
It’s unlikely that Southward penned that         Black’s catalogue (1913) the 30pt ‘Booklet’
footnote, but the publishers of the book         border was priced at 5/- for 24 inches, but
probably took considerable pleasure from         had doubled in price for the same quanƟty
seeing it in print. Other, non-‘ring’ foundries  16 years later. Pillar’s catalogue is the more
such as P. M. Shanks, Frederic WesselhoeŌ,       interesƟng of the two as the extant ediƟon
Soldans and J. P. McCoy bought much of the       includes the first of a series of “Crack
available adverƟsing space and probably          Stoppers”—hints and Ɵps to improve
benefited from the absence of compeƟƟon           producƟvity and save money. The example
in the pages of BriƟsh Printer and other         illustrated showcases a novel mid-space with
trade periodicals. WesselhoeŌ, Soldans and       pointed Ɵp, to make it easier to idenƟfy. Page
McCoy dealt mainly in imported types from        24 also reveals that Pillar was willing to give
Germany and the United States, promoƟng          away type cases in exchange for larger orders,
foreign ‘novelƟes’ including the output of the   in a vain aƩempt to compete with ‘ring’
Bauer Foundry (Frankfurt) and American Type      foundries.
Founders in their adverƟsing.
                                                 Alfred Pillar conƟnued John Black’s policy
In a leaflet he published just before the First   of keeping prices low, and claimed in some
World War, John Black made the observaƟon        adverƟsing that his metal poster types
that some of his faces “are listed at prices 60  (almost) never wore out (see specimen
per cent less than those of “ring” houses for    cover alongside), but didn’t anƟcipate the
similar goods.” He also claimed to be cheaper    onslaught of the Monotype machine when he
than the so-called “cheap” houses, with his
spacing materials sold at 25% less than his
cheapest compeƟtor. Other price-cuƫng
founders, of which there were a small number,

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