Challenge-M-oscillator-1 Challenge-M-oscillator-2

I am having a new worm gear and crescent fabricated for a Challenge M series press.* I intend to have a couple of extra sets made. The cost per set will be $1,150 with free shipping within the US and Canada. This is less than having a one-off made.

The Challenge census lists forty-one 15MA/MP and four 21MP. The gear diameter is the same for both sizes only the shaft length differs.

My watchword regarding presses is “anticipate failure.” You will be glad to have a spare worm gear and crescent at some point down the road. The price will certainly be higher in the future. Please contact me as soon a possible. I require a 50% deposit with the balance due before shipping.

*Similar to the Asbern A series a crescent is set into a collar that is attached to the end of the tube with set screws. Unlike the Asbern, (or Vandercook) the worm gear is cut into the shaft. This Challenge 21MP is locking up at one end of the worm gear. There are chips in the gear points and the crescent is also worn.


I have completed the restoration on this Hacker #4. Here is the history as I know it:

1. The press was purchased 1/31/1929.( A date on the bed said Apr. 12. I assume 1928) The company that bought it was Grey Ketterer & Hansen, Inc. It was later sold to Columbus Engraving Corp.
2. The press fell over at some point in its life and was fixed. Stanley Metza worked on it in 1957, at  Columbus Engraving Corp.
3. It eventually found its way to the Ohio home of Ronald Fauver and Nancy Haitz in the 1980’s. This is where I found it and gave it a new home in Pensacola, FL.
A big thanks to a few folks who helped me along the way: Paul Moxon for providing the 1936 catalog. This was most helpful in preparing for the move. Fritz Klinke who looked up the historical information on this particular press in his archives, and Scott Moore( who was there on the day of the move in Ohio.
before1 after1

profiletapersHatch Show Print, with the help of the venerable Dave Seat, had rebuilt the worn out under rails on their hand-cranked Vandercook Universal I. Worn out under rails yield uneven impression and the inability to maintain registration. Wear is caused by excessive pressure due to these conditions: 1) an unleveled press; 2) grime buildup on the cylinder bearers, bed bearers, carriage bearings and under rails; 3) overpacking of the impression cylinder; and/or 4) printing forms over type high.

hatch-uni-i-underrailsTC-stampOn all Vandercooks, except the SP series, the under rails are part of the bed casting and support the travel of the steel-cased carriage bearings. Carriage bearings can be adjusted to compensate for wear, but there are limits.

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Can I a retrofit a counter on my Universal I? If so, where are they available and did all V’s originally have one? Thanks, Neil


Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 2.35.19 PMWe made or first Vandercook gripper bar assembly from scratch for a Universal I. The press had lost its bar somewhere, and to get it back into operation, we had to get this one made. This is for the first version of the Universal I press and is basically the same as used on the #4 and 219 presses. The style that replaced his one in 1961 is the same bar as used on the SP-15. We’ve had several people ask if we could upgrade the basic SP-15 gripper bar to one with 5 paper guides, and if this one works, we will be able to start making these. Here are a couple of pictures:


In June, I tuned-up a Challenge 21MP for Andrew Huot at Big River Bindery in Davenport, Iowa. He also has an Asbern ADR-1 that had a gummed up oscillator. I hadn’t serviced one before, so this was a great opportunity to see what it’s innards look like. The main difference is the crescent is set into a collar that is attached to the end of the tube at with socket head caps screws.

Asbern-oscilator-1 Asbern-oscilator-2 Asbern-oscilator-3 Asbern-oscilator-4





We at Tweedle Press have moved on to greener pastures and although we are reluctant to part with our beloved equipment – we feel certain that they would be happier to be used more often. See below for a list of the major pieces we are selling out of our house in Woolwich, Maine (about 45 minutes north of Portland) and their conditions. First priority will go to entire shop buys (for which we are willing to provide a discount!) and local pickup, of course. Buyer pays moving fees. We are hoping to clear out by the middle of August! Please email with questions.

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I am in the process of purchasing a Hacker 4, and would like advice on what durometer measurement the form rollers should be for printing mainly type or photopolymer plates. Perhaps the durometer would be the same for a Vandercook press. Any advice would be welcome.


Screen Shot 2015-07-15 at 8.47.43 AMFrom a suggestion by A.J. Masthay and a list provided by Daniel Morris, I’ve begun to compile a data table of replacement parts and their sources for Vandercook power carriage presses. All owners and operators of power carriage presses—including other brands are invited to add information. This table can be found under the maintenance menu at top and via this link.


I am restoring a Hacker #4 and I am missing a part. It is a bar that connects the cylinder to the bed trip lever.  I have a picture of the part on another Hacker, and mine without it. If someone out there has the measurements of this part and can post it here, I would be thankful! If not I will be making it by trial and error.

part-missing part-missing2


I am in the process of buying a Hacker 4 proof press. I’m not new to letterpress printing, but I am new to cylinder presses, and having the manual for this press would really help me learn to use it. Does anyone have a manual, or know where I might find one? Thanks!


A new gremlin has reared its head with my Universal 3, I’m having trouble with the cycle start button. Sometimes when the button is pushed nothing happens, if I hold it down it seems to eventually start the cycle and the time I need to hold it down varies from a second or two to what seems like forever. I dont believe its a short in the button itself because if I switch it to manual mode there is no movement using the toggle switch. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

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