PieceI have just acquired a Vandercook #2 proofing press. It seems to have everything but the base cabinet and it needs a lot of love! I am in the process of restoring it and have a question regarding the side plates that fit around the impression cylinder. On the side plates at the bottom there is a thin brass plate with what appears to be cloth attached to it. Does anyone know what these are and maybe a part number. Also, if anyone has a manual for this press that would amazing!

Paul: There is only 2 numbers on the press bed. Here is a picture of a 2, but the other side has a 1 on it.



IMG_9145Anyone know the specs or someone familiar with recoating the rubber roller that is part of the ink fountain on a Uni III? My roller is flared at both ends and the rubber is very hard from age. Thanks




Hey Vanderfriends, the second edition of my book Vandercook
Presses: Maintenance, History and Resources 
is available now.


Need advise on trouble shooting our Universal III Power serial # 25118. This is how it is behaving:

When set in CYCLE and RUN mode; the cylinder moves forward until the carriage cam releases the 4LS limit switch, then the carriage immediately reverses back to home position.

MANUAL mode; using the FORWARD lever the cylinder accelerates forward and brakes at the end of the press, then putting in REVERSE the cylinder returns and brakes to a stop. The limit switch cam has been maxed out and the braking rheostat nearly maxed to get the best performance, however, the acceleration and braking is weak compared to other presses I have seen.

HERE IS SOME BACKGROUND description of the work already done to the press:

– Inside the motor casing the PVC wiring from the motor junction box to the coils was falling apart and has been replaced. The windings of the motor look fine, with no signs of overheating.

– After this work was done, the motor was professionally tested and the drive armature, series field and shunt field check out as OK.

– The flexible wiring to the motor has been replaced (one of the eight wires was broken). All other wiring checks out OK to the motor using an ohms meter.

– Clutch has been adjusted to specification, and verified by marking the clutch plates. There is no slipping during acceleration or braking

– The relays are original but the contacts are very badly pitted. They have been cleaned up and each contact checked with ohms meter when manually pressed together. This probably does not duplicate the action of the relay contacts and we have not tested them live yet.

– The main rotary switch for setting in manual_cycle_run has been checked out and is working correctly according to schematics.

– Limits switched work and are in good condition

THIS IS WHAT HAS NOT been checked:

– Output voltage from the rectifiers (what can I expect with rheostat at at the minimum?)

– Not checked the output of each relay contact when in operation.

SO MOVING FORWARD, any suggestions before replacing the forward/reverse and control relays?

I am not familiar with the Schneider Electric relays as recommended by Basil Head so does anyone have advise how to wire them?

Thanks in advance



I just rescued this from a garage. Works fine, but has no gripper. Am not familiar with how paper is carried on cylinder. Also, cannot find serial number. Any suggestions?


uni-iii-controls un-iii-fwd-rev-switch

I work as the technician at Centre3 in Hamilton, ON Canada.  We are really lucky to have a Universal III Vandercook in our studio. Great press, however, recently the forward / reverse stopped working. This has basically rendered the press useless as it’s entirely driven by this and the cycle.  Unfortunately the cycle isn’t working either.  My suspicion is that the relay or micro switch for the forward / reverse lever has just blown and I need to source out a new replacement part.  I’ve attempted to get in touch with some local folks such as Don Black, but I have yet to get a response. I thought it would be worthwhile to put a word over to you guys to see if you knew of a place that had such a part. I can happily send a photo along too.


I need to remove the handle from my Universal I to fit the press through a doorway. I’ve searched and saw posts about removing the set screw and tapping out the taper pin. The set screw came out with minimal effort however the taper pin will not budge. One end of the pin appears mushroomed or peened over, the other side is chamfered which I assume is the small side of the pin. Can someone tell me if this is normal or has the pin been abused? Thanks



Jack Stauffacher at age 95Jack Werner Stauffacher, a San Francisco typographer and printer, is still at his work at age 95. Pino Trogu, who is an Assistant Professor of Information Design at San Francisco State University, keeps me updated on Jack’s activities. Pino worked with Jack with a project yesterday on Jack’s SP-15 and the attached photo shows Jack working with his press. This SP-15 was shipped to Jack from Vandercook on 11/6/66 and Jack has it in his studio, The Greenwood Press,  at 300 Broadway Avenue, home to the press all these years. Once upon a time, 300 Broadway Ave was a printing building, each floor containing trade pressrooms and on the third floor, as I dimly recall, was Griffin Brothers, a trade typography operation that had hot metal composition, a room full of hand set type, and was the Northern California ATF type dealer.  From this great tradition of letterpress, Jack is the sole survivor.

Back in the dark ages, I had Jack as a typography instructor at Carnegie Institute of Technology and was his student assistant for a semester teaching typography to fine arts students. Jack recently sold his Gietz platen press to Peter Koch, but he retains the Vandercook and still comes into the city once a week to be in his studio.



IMG_8119Im in the process of refurbishing a Uni3 that has a lot of options that are not existent on the Uni1 thats been my workhorse for over a decade. The one that has me the most perplexed right now is the ink fountain system. Does anyone have any literature on how to properly use the ink fountain or even better would be a video of one in use. Im not sure if Im missing parts or what but I don’t see where I can put ink in there without it falling straight through. Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks!



Hi all,

My Universal III has been chugging along beautifully for a couple of years, when all of a sudden it just quit in the middle of a job. By “quit” I mean the rollers are still moving, but the upper carriage just won’t go. I took a short video which I’ll link to here that has more detail.

If anyone has any thoughts I’d greatly appreciate it – happy to take more photos or videos as needed. I’m located in midcoast Maine, about 45 minutes north of Portland if anyone happens to know of a press mechanic in the area.




Hi, I am working on cleaning and functionally refurbishing a British built Vandercook No. 4C. The press is complete and seems to be in pretty good shape – it mainly needs some cleaning work. While cleaning the cylinder racks I noticed a feature that I didn’t see on cylinder proof presses before: The cylinder racks on both sides of the press are split in two parts (Well, this is not new to me…). The back part is fixed. But the front part (towards the bed end) are moveable with a spring. (See Video)

Now I didn’t really find out why they are moveable? Isn’t that a problem for cylinder smudge while printing? I noticed that they are moving easily when tripping the cylinder. I found out that they are almost not moving when in “print”… (I haven been printing on this press yet, I am just in the process of cleaning it…)

Can anybody explain the exact  function of these moveable racks?

Thank you very much.

Dafi Kühne

See the attached Video: Vandercook-4C



Hi! We’ve got an (obviously) new-to-us 320G and it had been sitting in a cat friendly/very stinky basement. It’s come a long way already cleaning wise, but we’ve still got bugs to work out……

Our carriage is a BEAR to move down the bed. We have cleaned and oiled and greased a lot of parts and now assume the eccentrics are outta wack. The set nuts were loose when we found it. I’ve attempted to set the tolerance between the bearings and the underside of the rail to .003-.004. And every time I try that, the carriage seems to sit too low for it to come back to home position. When I return the eccentrics more or less back to how we found them, the carriage comes home but is still just a bear to crank up and down the bed.
Would anyone have advice on the eccentric resetting?

In addition, we can’t get the grippers to come up when we push on the pedal. As far as I can tell we put that linkage back together as found. There’s some slight movement in the grippers, but nothing that would allow us to properly feed.

There’s a few more bugs here and there, but getting the carriage to move easily would be great!

Thanks for any advice!

Matty Kleinberg, Firecracker Press

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