[UK] Patent Type Foundry (Shanks)

image link-topic-sf0.jpg

1. Overview

? - [by 1860s] - [through 1950s] - ?

Moseley, Howes and Roche, in Founder's London A-Z note the establishment in 1855 of the foundry of J[ohn] H[uffam] King & Co. in Red Lion Square, London. They say that it was sold in 1857 and that the (unnamed) new owners re-named it the Patent Type-Founding Company.

Question: Is there a link between John Huffam King and Thomas King?

There is a tantalizing set of references in an article by John Robert Johnson in 1873 (see bibliography, below). In this article, Johnson is primarily concerned with attacking the Typefounders' Association and in defending his typecasting inventions. In the process of doing this, however, he makes two observations about persons named "King":

(p. 333) '... I had in my employment ... a very superior workman, Josiah, son of the late Mr. King, a successful punchcutter, who had introduced to the trade many novel forms of letters, and who was a type-founder in a small way of business. Josiah King was an excellent "justifier," and had generally a thorough knowledge of type-founding.

(p. 335, but the text is damaged in the Google Books scan) "... [I] immediately formed a partnership with ... John Huffam King, a very successful punch-c[utter]... and founder, who had succeeded to the busin[ess] [of]... his father, whom I have already referred to."

I do not know if there is any relationship between Josiah King and John Huffam King, on the one hand, and Thomas King on the other.

Moseley et. al. say that the Patent Type-Founding Company was purchased in 1873 by P. M. Shanks (its manager) and H. A. Revell. However, they indicate that it didn't trade as P. M. Shanks and Co. until 1881.

Millington (79) says that "The Patent Type Company, directed by Shanks, issued a version of Old Style [1860s]"

The following photograph of the exterior of P. M. Shanks & Sons, Red Lion Square, appeared in 1907:

[click image to view larger]

image link-to-inland-printer-v039-n5-1907-08-hathi-mdp-39015086781286-p0707-img0857-p-m-shanks-typefoundry-exterior-sf0.jpg

(From The Inland Printer, Vol. 39, No. 5 (1907-08): 707. Here is a PDF of the entire three-page article in which this image appeared: inland-printer-v039-n5-1907-08-hathi-mdp-39015086781286-pp0706-0708-img0856-0858-london-typefoundries.pdf Digitized by Google from the University of Michigan copy and available via The Hathi Trust. Hathi ID: mdp.39015086781286 )

Wolf (83, PDF 92) notes in 1880 that the business was owned by "Messrs Shank and Revell" and that they employ an automatic typecasting machine invented "by Mr. J. R. Johnson , one of the originators of the concern."

Millington (167) notes that in 1928 P. M. Shanks and Sons Limited discussed the sale of their company to Stephenson, Blake. No sale occurred, after four years of discussion.

Millington (167) notes that at the end of that discussion P.M.Shanks and Sons Ltd. "amalgamated" with R. H. Stevens Limited. The new firm was "Stevens, Shanks and Company"

Moseley, Howes & Roche (p. 30) identify the date of the merger of R. H. Stevens and P. M. Shanks as 1933. They also note that R. H. Stevens (the person) was the grandson of Vincent Figgins I, thus identifying R. H. Stevens Ltd. with the Figgins foundry.

Moseley, Howes & Roche also note that the Stevens Shanks & Sons. Ltd. materials (including Figgins' punches and matrices) went to the St. Bride's Printing Library on the dissolution of the foundry (but give no date for that).

I suspect that Stephens, Shanks & Sons Ltd., in Southwark (London), is the same foundry identified by Benjamin Brundell as "Steven Shanks Ltd." in Southward (London) ( http://britishletterpress.co.uk/type/type-founders). What he says of them is interesting. He identifies them as a Monotype-based shop (but not a Monotype-Thompson shop) "ancient foundry matrices". This is interesting for two reasons: first, that their Monotype casters must have been modified to handle foundry matrices, and second, that they were using Monotype casters at all (if indeed they were the heirs to the Figgins and the Shanks foundries).

Johnson, John Robert. "On Certain Improvements in the Manufacture of Printing Types," The Society of Arts of the Institutions in Union. Journal of the Society of Arts of the Institutions in Union and Official Record of Annual International Exhibitions . Vol. 21 (1872-11-22 to 1873-11-14). London: Published for the Society by George Bell and Sons, 1873. pp. 330-336 (discussion on pp. 336-339).

Millington, Roy. Stephenson Blake: The Last of the Old English Typefounders. New Castle, DE and London: Oak Knoll Books and The British Library, 2002.

Moseley, James, Justin Howes, and Nigel Roche. Founder's London A-Z. London: The [European] Friends of the St. Bride's Printing Library, 1998.) , pp. 8, 18, 29, 30

Wolf, Lucien. Exhibition and Market of Machinery, Implements and Material Used by Printers, Stationers, Papermakers and Kindred Trades[:] Official Catalogue of Exhibits . London: Robert Dale, 1880.

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