Vandercook Anecdotes

Vandercook-Hamiltion Connection by Fritz Klinke
A Twice-owned Press by Harold E. Sterne
Shipping a No. 1 Vandercook to Puerto Rico by Dave Buchen
The Pursuit of the 320G by T.A. Brown

Vandercook-Hamilton Connection
Fritz Klinke

While looking for a print today, I came across a blueprint from Hamilton Manufacturing Co., in Two Rivers, Wisc. for part MM-105, the cabinet for the Vandercook #4 machine. This is dated 10-14-38 and it appears from notes on the drawing that Hamilton was making these cabinets for Vandercook in 1938 and 39, maybe longer. It specifies that the cabinet be painted in "Vandercook Gray Baked Enamel No. 1004." It was not uncommon for out-sourcing parts to other manufacturers who had the right facilities. Thompson, for example, purchased all their cast iron imposing stones from Challenge Machinery, and Challenge still has the Thompson patterns, waiting for the order that will never come. I thought this might be of interest.

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A Twice-owned Press

Harold E. Sterne

Did I ever tell you how I picked up the SP-15 I have now? About three years ago I got a email from a fellow I knew in Cincinnati. He told me he was on the board of a Thrift Shop and someone had just donated a Vandercook press. I asked Tom Bell to go over and take a look at it and get the model and serial number. When Tom gave me the serial number I knew it was a press that I had sold to a gal. I then called her up to ask why she donated it to the Thrift Shop. She told me she never got around to using it and was getting married. When her husband-to-be asked her if she planned to use it, she said no. He said get rid of it before you move to my house. She didn't know where to sell it so she gave it to the Thrift Shop. I bought it from them for $500. and it cost $1300. to move it to Sarasota.

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Shipping a No. 1 Vandercook to Puerto Rico

Dave Buchen

Was happy to find your website, though the weight listed for my Vandercook 1 proof press seems either way underrepresented or I'm a lot weaker than I thought. I have moved my press more times than I would like to remember (the last move we tied it to a futon and slid it down the three flights of stairs), seemingly always from one third floor apt to another. When I moved it to Puerto Rico, I boxed it up and it was carried away by burly looking men who were none to happy. Anyway, when it finally arrived I learned something about the shipping business. apparently, "blue flag" means that something is heavy. Written on chalk on the outside of the box was BLUE FUCKING FLAG.

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The Pursuit of the 320G

T.A. Brown
The Musar Corporation
May 13, 2004

I first saw the notice about the press being offered for $1200 on your website and e-mailed you to find out more about it. You referred me to Fritz at NA Graphics, who informed me that the person selling the press was Dave Churchman in Indianapolis. Upon contacting Dave, I discovered that the press was not in his shop, but that he was selling it for Joe Perkins and promised to get some photos and a serial number for me. In the meanwhile Boggs, the scrap metal dealer, showed up at the printing facility where the press was located (Miles Press) and ended up taking it away along with a couple of other pieces of printing equipment that had been promised to Dave Churchman.

A few days later, I noticed the disheartening note posted to LetPress by Fritz that the press had been sold to Boggs for scrap. I immediately called Dave Churchman and found out through his wife the phone number for Boggs, hoping to reclaim the press before anything horrid happened to it. Boggs informed me that the press was on its way to Don Black in Toronto. I called Don about purchasing the press through him but the press had not yet been shipped from Boggs. When Don found out about the situation, he bowed out and encouraged me to purchase the press directly from Boggs.

Jack at Boggs was agreeable to sell for $1200 (plus shipping to New Hampshire where I'm located). He asked me to call back in a few days and talk to Ray in order to get some photos and a serial number before making a commitment. Meanwhile, Ray was negotiating an equipment trade with John Barrett of Letterpress Things in Chicopee, MA, but gave no hint of this fact when I talked to him about getting pictures and a serial number, which he promised to email by the weekend. After the weekend had passed with no email from Boggs, I followed up with a phone call and was again promised photos and a serial number. I soon received an email from Kim at Boggs stating simply, "Sorry it was traded on Friday for another piece of equipment.

I called Boggs again in order to find out the name of the one to whom the press had been traded, hoping again that the new owner was a dealer and would be willing to sell. I spoke to Jack once more and he said that the press had not yet left their shop, and that he was still interested in selling it to me as discussed before. Jack suggested I call Ray the next morning about photos and a serial number. The next morning when I called, I was able to catch both Jack and Ray there and then learned with certainty that the press had been promised to another dealer by the name of John in Chicopee, MA. A Google search enabled me to locate John Barrett, so I called and left a message.

That weekend, John replied back and we talked about the press. He had heard about the fiasco and offered to sell the press to me at his cost. The press arrived at his shop in the early part of the next week, he called me, and I traveled down to Chicopee to see it the very next day. We closed the deal for $1480, a little more than the original $1200, but since the press traveled halfway across the country in the process of all these mishaps, I will be saving some money on freight and, in the end, will not have lost a thing— and I have become acquainted with a number of helpful letterpress dealers along the way. "All is well that ends well.


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