Vandercook Timeline

In the early twentieth century, printers were still pulling crude proofs from hand presses and simple galley roller presses that depended on gravity for the impression. In 1909, R.O. Vandercook was the first to develop a geared, rigid-bed cylinder proof press capable of providing the printing industry with high-quality proofs from metal types and photoengravings. His company’s reputation was built on technical innovation and quality construction, and for the next fifty years Vandercook & Sons set the standard for proof press manufacturing in the U.S. and Europe. In the 1960s, when offset lithography eclipsed letterpress as the leading commercial printing method, printers began decommissioning their letterpress equipment (often giving it away). As a result, Vandercook presses began to be adopted by artists and hobbyists for short-run edition printing due to their ease of operation. Now widely found in art schools and book arts centers, Vandercooks are arguably the press of choice for fine press printers and book artists. Other brands of proof presses are mentioned in this timeline when deemed significant.

1909 191919291939194919591969
1910192019301940195019601970
1911192119311941195119611971
1912192219321942195219621972
1913192319331943195319631973
1914192419341944195419641974
1915192519351945195519651975
1916192619361946195619661976
191719271937194719571967
191819281938194819581968Later

 


1909 brochure1909

Rocker photoTrip Action Proof Press (AKA “the Rocker”)

R.O. Vandercook began making presses in Chicago. The earliest known advertisement is a flyer for a company called The Vandercook Press, on W. Lake Street in Chicago, boasting of its hundreds of users since the first press was sold in May 1909. Before this, Mr. Vandercook owned and operated the Evanston Press, a weekly newspaper.

 

From The Vandercook Story, January 1964

The Smithsonian’s Printing Presses in the Graphics Arts Collection, p. 49, has a brief description of their rocker:

In addition to this press, there are four other sizes of “trip action high side arm” presses (11″ × 17″ for $140, 12″ × 18″ for $150, 12″ × 25½” for $180, and 17″ × 25½” for $200 — all except the 17″ are $10 less without trip), two sizes of “low side arm” presses (12″ × 18″ for $160 and 17″ × 25½ for $250), and two sizes of “roller press” (12″ × 25″ for $100, plus $15 for grippers and trip; and 25″ × 25″ for $150, plus $25 for grippers and trip and $125 for automatic inking).

wanner-potter1910

 


1910

A.F. Wanner Co. manufactures Potter and Poco proof presses, which feature reciprocating beds and stationary carriages. Wanner was also one of the earliest selling agents for Vandercook.

 


1911

 


19121912-donnelley-vandy

This massive press with a 62 × 48″ bed was custom-built for Chicago-based publisher R.R. Donnelley & Sons. The Inland Printerr, Vol. 49, June 1912, p. 438

Vandercook presses appear in the famous ATF Specimen book issued this year. Other brands of proof presses are also advertised: Brower, Potter and Wesel. See Other Brands menu.

 


1913

 


1914

SN: 1

The serial number information, originally compiled by Harold Sterne, notes that from September 30, 1909, when the company was started, until June 1914 Vandercook manufactured about 280 presses without serial numbers. On June 23, 1914, they shipped a model 17 with serial SN: 1.

 

No. 15 Family: 1914-1956
15 20 16 21 32

 


20or21No. 21
From 1925 BB&S catalog:
The Vandercook Rigid Bed Roller Series Proof Press is “The Speed Press of the Vandercook Line.” This family includes presses with three bed sizes, with and without an inking carriage that was separate from the impression cylinder. The 20 has a 10″ bed; the 15 and 21 have 12″ beds; and the 16 has a 14″ bed. All are 24″ long. The 15 and 16 are hand-inked. The 20 and 21 have the inking carriage. These presses were “pushers”— no crank. No grippers. Rubber blanket. This is either a 20 or a 21

From 1934 Vandercook catalog:
“The press has two ink plates, one at each end of the press…. Put the galley on the press. One swift motion inks the form—the rollers coming to rest on the other ink plate under the cylinder. Lay the sheet to be printed and give the handle on the cylinder a little pull.”

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Only the 20 and 32 are left. The rubber blanket has been replaced by Monocork. The 15 itself clearly went through changes during its five decades of production.

 


No. 15 Rigid Bed Roller Series Proof Press 10/22/14 SN: 31 – 4/3/56 SN: 18117

The early model is part of the No. 15 Family and apparently went out of production before 1935. Sometime before 1951 a new version was introduced.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Maximum form: 12″ × 24″
Floor space: 22″ × 48″
Shipping weight: 600 lb (cabinet 60 lb).

From 1934 Vandercook catalog:
Hand inking. Monocork blanket. Galley height.
Shipping weight: 775 lb (otherwise, as above).

15


Vandercook 15 Galley Proof Press

From late 1950 and 1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Bed: 15″ × 26″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 14″ × 24″
Floor space: 1’11” × 6’2″
Weight: 1000 lb

“This new machine” is clearly quite different from the previous 15s – from its crank to the motor driven ink drum. Synthetic rubber drawsheet. Like a 05, but with powered inking and crank.


Offset Proof Press

Custom-built for Goes Lithography Co.in Chicago. An article in September’s The Inland Printer called it the largest offset and transfer press ever built. Weighing over 6,00o lbs. it accepted plates or stones up to 44 × 56 inches.1914-offset


The A.F. Wanner Co., the manufacturer of Potter and Poco proof presses, was renamed the Horace Hacker Co., which continued to build these brands.

 


Inland Printer/American Lithographer1915

SN: 56

Vandercook announced a new publication called Proof in the July 1915 issue of The Inland Printer. No copies are known to exist nor how many issues were published.

No. 20 Rigid Bed Roller Series Proof Press SN: 4/1/15 SN: 71 – 11/11/38 SN: 7884

Part of the No. 15 family. See also 32.

20 1935

Inking carriage. No grippers or crank. Optional cabinet and shelf.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Maximum form: 10″ × 24″
Floor space: 22″ × 48″
Shipping weight: 650 lb (+cabinet 60 lb).

From 1934 Vandercook and 1935 ATF catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 12″ × 26″
Maximum form: 10″ × 24″
Floor space: 1’10” × 4′
Shipping weight: 775 lb (cabinet 60 lb, shelf 50 lb)
Price (1934): $275
Monocork blanket.

 


No. 1 Proof Press 9/27/15 SN: 101 – 9/8/66 SN: 25743

This press is different than the 01.

No. 1 Rigid Bed Truss Proof Press (Double Truss)

No. 1 Truss

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Bed: 13″ × 19¼”
Maximum form: 13″ × 18″
Floor space: 30″ [sic — actually 18″] × 30″
Shipping weight: 240 lb (cabinet 120 lb)
“Built for the Greatest Good to the Greatest Number”
Rubber blanket. No grippers. Hand inked.

Arie C. Koelewyn’s SN: 2205 was delivered on 3/24/25,
and the NA Graphics records describe it as:
Bed: 14″ × 19½”
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 18″ × 30″
Shipping weight: 260 lb (cabinet 120 lb)
Price (1925): $120 f.o.b. Chicago, cabinet $40, register device $3.

No. 1 Proof Press (Single Truss)

No. 1 1935From 1934 Vandercook and 1935 ATF catalogs:
Bed: 14″ × 1925½” (1934)
Maximum sheet: 14″ × 20″ (1935)
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″ (1934), 13″ × 18″ (1935)
Floor space: 1’6″ × 2’6″
Shipping weight: 260 lb (cabinet 120 lb)
Price (1934): $120

No grippers. Hand inked. Tindeck blanket.
Optional cabinet, register device.

[The measurements in the 1935 ATF catalog: are slightly different from the 1934 measurements and those of the 1920s-era No. 1 above.]

No. 1 1950

No. 1 (Later model)

From 1946 ATF, 1950 and 1957 Vandercook, and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Bed: 16″ × 21″
Maximum sheet: 15¾” × 19″
Maximum form: 15″ × 17¼”
Floor space: 2’4″ × 2’8″
Weight: 410 lb
Price (1950): $525 (immediate shipment)

Grippers and crank, hand inked. Available without cabinet. See also the 14, which was the larger version.

 


1916

SN: 124

 


 width=

1917

SN: 332

 


1918

SN: 569

Company is incorporated as Vandercook & Sons.

 


1919

SN: 652

Hacker Mfg. builds first Hacker brand photo-engravers test press.

 


1920

SN: 1397

 


1921

SN: 1472

 


1922

SN: 1533

 


1923

SN: 1649

Vandercook presses do not appear in the famous ATF Specimen book issued this year, but it does include advertisements for proof presses by Brower, Challenge, Poco, Potter and Wesel. See menu for Other Brands.


No. 21 Rigid Bed Roller Series Proof Press 3/12/23 SN: 1666 – 6/2/27 SN: 3154

Part of the No. 15 Family

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Maximum form: 12″ × 24″
Floor space: 33″ × 50″
Shipping weight: 775 lb (cabinet 60 lb).
Inking carriage.

No. 16 Rigid Bed Roller Series Proof Press 5/24/23 SN: 1724 – 4/22/27 SN: 3093

Part of the No. 15 Family

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Maximum form: 14″ × 24″
Floor space: 33″ × 50″
Shipping weight: 700 lb (cabinet 60 lb)
Hand inked.

 


1924

SN: 1838

No. 17 Family: 1925-1939 17 18 25 25A 26 26A

The 17 and 18 support a 17″ form width — the 25, 25A, 26 and 26A handle 25″.

All five presses have a maximum form length of 25″.

The 17, 25 and 25A have automatic inking — the 18, 26 and 26A don’t.

The “A” suffix means the press includes “press transfer equipment.” This seems to consist of a) iron blocks to put under the feet of the press to raise it to the height of a makeup truck, facilitating the transfer of a form between the truck and the press; and b) the curious foot-operated truck-tilter shown in the image of the 25A.

On the hand inked presses, there are no grippers—the paper is laid on the form. The automatic inking presses use composition rollers. Both types include rubber blankets.

 


1191925

SN: 2135

No. 119 Proving Machine 8/24/25 SN: 2360 – 4/2/27 SN: 3063

The first notice of this press appears in Photo-engravers Bulletin, October 1925. No mention of it has been found in other publications. In less than two years it was replaced by the 219 Proving Machine.

The Vandercook Story (1964) mentions the first Vandercook “engravers test press” being produced in 1925, “a hand operated model with power driven ink distribution … an important milestone in the history of the Vandercook company.”

 

No. 18 Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press

2/6/25 SN: 2168 – 11/5/29 SN: 4811

Part of the No. 17 family.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Bed: 17″ × 31½”
Maximum form: 17″ × 25″
Floor space: 40″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 900 lb (cabinet 75 lb).
Hand inking. No grippers.


1926

SN: 2492

32 No. 32 Roller Series Proof Press 11/2/26 SN: 2842 – 4/13/42 SN: 9322

Part of the No. 15 family. Different than the 032.
From 1934 Vandercook catalog:

From June 1928 Inland Printer ad:
Maximum form: 13 3/8″ × 26″
Floor space: 34″ × 53″
Shipping weight: 900 lb
Price (1934): $340

Inking carriage. No grippers. Optional shelf and cabinet.

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Bed: 25″ × 32½;”
Maximum sheet: 15″ × 28″
Floor space: 2’10” × 4’5″
Shipping weight: 900 lb (cabinet 60 lb, shelf 50 lb).


1927

#2926 RIP: 119, 16, 21.

No. 25 Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press

12/3/27 SN: 101A – 1/26/39 SN: 7961

Part of the No. 17 family.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Bed: 25″ × 32½”
Maximum form: 25″ × 25″
Floor space: 48″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 1450 lb (cabinet 100 lb).
Automatic inking.

25ANo. 25A Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

Part of the No. 17 family
Bed: 25″ × 32½”
Maximum form: 25″ × 25″
Floor space: 48″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 1550 lb (cabinet 100 lb).

Automatic inking for page transfer (includes iron raising blocks and truck lift for moving forms to and from makeup trucks).

No. 26 Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press

Dates and serial numbers unknown

Part of the No. 17 family.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Bed: 25″ × 32½”
Maximum form: 25″ × 25″
Floor space: 48″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 1200 lb (cabinet 100 lb).

Hand inking. No grippers.

No. 26A Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press

Dates and serial numbers unknown

Part of the No. 17 family.

From 1925 BB&S catalog:
Bed: 25″ × 32½”
Maximum form: 25″ × 25″
Floor space: 48″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 1300 lb (cabinet 100 lb).

Hand inking for page transfer (includes iron raising blocks and truck lift for moving forms to and from makeup trucks). No grippers.

17No. 17 Rigid Bed Composing Room Cylinder Proof Press

12/19/27 SN: 100A – 3/10/36 SN: 6592

Part of the No. 17 family.

Maximum form: 17″ × 25″
Floor space: 40″ × 60″
Shipping weight: 1100 lb (cabinet 75 lb).
Automatic inking.

 


No. 219 Proving Machine 12/17/27 SN: 3429 – 11/20/47 SN: 10506
219OSSee also 219T Old Style, 219T New Style, 219AB, 219ABT, 219 Hand, 219 Power.

 

Bed: 19″ × 42½”
Maximum sheet:19″ × 26″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24″
Floor space: 2’8″ × 10’9″
Shipping weight: 2400 lbs.
 
Today this model is known as the 219 Old Style. The 219 family is distinguished by its swing-out shelves. According to a 1950 ad for the new style, more than 2000 of the old style were installed. Power switch is in middle of base below the bed. Two pedals: one for cylinder trip and one to raise grippers. Galley height bed.

 


1928

SN: 3446

900 N. Kilpatrick

Vandercook & Sons build a new plant at 904 N. Kilpatrick Avenue (Chicago 51).


No. 14 Proof Press 8/8/28 SN: 3828 – 3/21/60 SN: 19078

No. 14 1935

Bed: 14″ × 26″ (1934)
Maximum sheet: 14″ × 28″ (1935)
Maximum form: 14″ × 24″ (1934), 13″ × 24″ (1935)
Floor space including handle: 30″ × 49″ (1934)
Floor space: 2′ × 4’2″ (1935)
Shipping weight: 525 lb (cabinet 40 lb)
Price (1934): $195 (cabinet $25)

No grippers. Hand inked. Comes with stand but cabinet is optional. Tindeck blanket. Optional register device.

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Bed: 17 5/8″ × 25½”
Maximum sheet: 17 3/8″ × 25″
Maximum form: 16 5/8″ × 23¼”
Floor space: 2’7″ × 3’9″
Weight: 650 lb
Price (1950): $725 (immediate shipment)

Larger version of the 50s-era 1, which (by this time) had grippers. “Will deliver proofs of good quality providing the hand inking is done with the greatest care.”

 


1929

SN: 4103 and SN: 0101. RIP: 18.

325A 1950325A Hand Proof Press 6/3/29 SN: 4491 – 8/20/62 SN: 20787

Described as the same as the 325G Hand, for newspaper plants, with adjustable bed plate (for moving galleys off onto trucks, not for impression). Based on information from Eric Holub, it seems that the real distinction between the 300 series G and A presses is not that the latter are for newspapers, but that they have automatic grippers rather than gripper pedals (which are more desirable for register work). See also 325G Hand, 325A Power.

 

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 30″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’5″ × 7’9″ (9’8″ long w/auto delivery)
Shipping weight: 2300 lb (auto delivery 150 lb, ink fountain 100 lb).
From 1950 and:

Bed: 25″ × 46¼”

1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’4″ × 7’9″ (2′ longer w/auto delivery)
Weight: 2000 lb (1957: 2200 lb)
Price (1950): $2230

320G Hand Proof Press 10/22/29 SN: 4493 – 4/14/58 SN: 18057

The 325G Hand is the larger version. See also 325A Hand.

320G 1935From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 20″ × 30″
Maximum form: 19″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3′ × 7’9″ (9’8″ long w/auto delivery)
Shipping weight: 2000 lb (auto delivery 125 lb, ink fountain 100 lb

Gripper pedal, rollers behind cylinder, ink table. Optional auto delivery and fountain. Thinner underblanket for SN: 10301 (1946) up (possibly the press below). Galley height. Monocork blanket.

320G 1950Bed: 20″ × 46¼”

Maximum sheet: 19¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 19″ × 24½”
Floor space: 2’11” × 7’9″ (2′ longer w/auto delivery)
Weight: 1750 lb (1957: 1850 lb)
Price (1950): $1960

The 1957 Vandercook catalog says auto-delivery and fountain are not available.

 


Office Presses:1929-1957

GravityOn an office press, the cylinder rolls on the bearers rather than on geared tracks. These presses use a different serial number series than geared cylinder presses. SN: 0101 was the first office press manufactured in 1929 and SN: 07952 was the first in 1957. After that year this serial number series ended.

No. 0 Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

No. 0 1950Bed: 13″ × 32″

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 12¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 12½” × 25″
Floor space: 1’6″ × 3’6″
Weight: 150 lb, cabinet 55 lb
Price (1950): $175

Tabletop proof press, hand inked, no crank or grippers.

01 Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

This press is different than the No. 1.

01

Bed: 15″ × 32″
From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 15″ × 32″
Maximum form: 14½” × 26″
Floor space: 20″ × 44″ (without cabinet 20″ × 32″)
Shipping weight: 150 lb (cabinet 100 lb).

No crank. Optional cabinet, manual inking equipment (brayer, ink plate), register device with or without hand operated grippers. An even simpler (and larger) 099.

Lance Williams gives these dimensions for his 01. SN: 03764 (1936):
Bed: 15″ × 26″
Floor space: 19¾” × 43″ × 42″.

Vandercook 03 Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

This press is different than the No. 3.

From September 1933 Inland Printer ad:
IP ad 1933

03 1935From 1935 ATF catalog:

Bed: 25¾” × 42″
Maximum sheet: 25¾” × 42″
Maximum form: 25¼” × 34″
Floor space: 31″ × 56″ (without cabinet 31″ × 42″)
Shipping weight: 450 lb (cabinet 230 lb)

Billed as more than just a proof press: it “can also be used for printing posters, window cards, announcements, imprinting calendars, and for many other short run printing purposes.”

No crank. Optional cabinet, manual inking equipment (brayer, ink plate), register device with or without foot operated grippers. Optional newspaper equipment: swinging Floor plate truck lift, blocks, bed plate.

Delivery system for a No. 03

Vandercook 099 Ball Bearing Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown
See also 01.

099 1935

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 13″ × 22″
Maximum form: 12½” × 16″ (with sheet feed 11″ × 16″)
Floor space: 20″ × 31″ (without cabinet 20″ × 22″)
Shipping weight: 110 lb (cabinet 65 lb)

“The investment required is small”

099 1937

No crank. Optional cabinet, manual inking outfit (brayer, ink, box, ink plate), sheet feed for laying sheets on cylinder instead of form, cabinet, and register device with or without hand operated grippers. Galley height.

From ca. 1937 Vandercook catalog:

“Built on a principle revolutionary in proof press design … impression cylinder is … constructed for self-adjustment to reasonable irregularities in type or plates. … equipped with rubber feet.”

 


1930

SN: 4895 and SN: 0206


1931

SN: 5456 and SN: 01248

Vandercook 325A Power Proof Press 6/3/31 SN: 5639 – 7/15/59 SN: 20095

See also 325A Hand and 325G Power

325APBed: 25″ × 46″

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 30″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’10” × 9’8″
Shipping weight: 3500 lb

Automatic delivery. Monocork blanket. Advertised as identical to the 325G Power press “except for slight changes which adapt the 325A especially for proofs of newspaper forms locked in stereotype chases without printing the chase.” Adjustable bed end.

From 1950 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 25″ × 46¼”
Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’9″ × 9’10” Weight: 3000 lb Price (1950): $4490.

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
“Practically every major daily newspaper in the United States is equipped with one or more Vandercook 325A Power Proof Presses.”

 width=

Vandercook 040 Imposing Surface Proof Press 6/11/31 SN: 5653 – 10/18/37 SN: 7579
See also 055

040Bed: 42¼” × 73″

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 42″ × 68″
Maximum form: 40 3/8″ × 63″
Floor space: 3’7″ × 6’1″
Shipping weight: 1700 lb (steel imposing table 650 lb; grippers, guides and sheet brush 150 lb; automatic inking 450 lb)

“For book, magazine or catalog: printers, the No. 040 affords many profit making advantages. ”

Adjustable height cylinder (not the bed) in .002″ increments. Forms in galleys are proved by adjusting the cylinder. Uses a vulcanized rubber impression cylinder. Optional: automatic inking; grippers, guides and sheet brush and steel imposing table.

Vandercook 23 Electric Proof Press 7/15/31 SN: 5584 – 1/12/43 SN: 9795
See also HS27.

23 Electric Proof PressBed: 15″ × 28″

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 15″ × 30″
Maximum form: 14″ × 28″
Floor space: 2’9″ × 4’5″
Shipping weight: 1500 lb

Capable of 40 or more proofs a minute— clearly for when you want multiple copies of one proof. Rubber impression cylinder allows tolerance of .015″ in form height. Motor driven ink drum. The 22 is the smaller version.

Vandercook 23 Safe Electric Galley Proof Press

23SEBed: 15″ × 26″

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 30″
Maximum form: 14″ × 26″
Floor space: 3′ × 4’9″
Weight: 1800 lb (1957: 1900 lb)
Price (1950): $3165

Egg

40 proofs per minute. Rubber impression cylinder, four form rollers. No grippers – sheet is laid on form by hand.

This press is so safe, an egg will stop it, thus preventing many breakfast-related injuries.

Vandercook No. 3 Proof Press 11/20/31 SN: 5777 – 11/10/58 SN: 19182
This press is different than the 03.

Hand-cranked, inking system, no gripper foot pedal, no ink table, rollers in front of cylinder, traveling sheet delivery tray, feed roller. Advertised for “critical reproduction proofs.” Galley height bed.

A “new style” began in 1936. Note the differences in cabinet and especially the print/trip lift arm which is exposed in the top image —P.M.

3 OS

Bed: 15″ × 35″
From 1941 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Weight: 1000 lb

 width=

No.3

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 15″ × 35″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Weight: 1000 lb
Price (1950): $1360


Challenge Machinery Corp. buys Potter and Poco brands from Hacker Mfg.


1932

SN: 5755 and SN: 01629

Vandercook Foreign Sales Agents circa 1932
General European Agent: M.M. Baker, London [Soldan by 1938]
France: Deberny & Peignot, Paris
Canada: Canada, Toronto Type Foundry Co. Ltd., Toronto [Sears Ltd. by 1937]
Australia & New Zealand: Alex. Cowan & Sons, Melbourne

See the Dealers page


Vandercook 216 Dates and serial numbers unknown

216

From an ad in the 1932 Inland Printer:
Printing Surfaces 16″ × 22″
Power ink distribution
Hand or Power operated

 

 


Vandercook 222 2/20/32 SN: 5830 – 6/15/36 SN: 6734

222From an ad in the 1932 Inland Printer:
22½” × 34 ”
Power ink distribution
Hand or power operated

 

 

 


Vandercook 226 Dates and serial numbers unknown

226P

From a Type & Press article by Fred Williams:
Bed: 28″ × 45″
Maximum sheet: 26″ × 42″
Maximum form: 25″ × 38″
Floor space: 4’6″ × 12′
Net weight: 4850 lb.

 

 

 


Vandercook 315 3/18/32 SN: 137A – 2/12/36 SN: 6512

315

From 1931 Sales Sheet:
Automatic grippers
Bed: 15″ × 43″
Printing Surface: 15″ × 24½”
Floor space required: 30″ × 80″
Net weight: 1350 lb

 

 


Vandercook 032 6/23/32 SN: 5875 – 12/29/55 SN: 18046
This press is different than the 32.

 width= width=From 1940 Catalog:

Automatic grippers
Rubber impression cylinder
Bed: 32″ × 72″
Optional automatic inking system
Hand Inking
Sheet size: 31¾” × 56″
Printing Surface: 31″ × 53-7/8″
Floor space required: 30″ × 80″
Net weight: 2550 lb

Automatic Inking System
Sheet size: 31¾” × 44″
Printing Surface: 31 ” × 42¼”
Floor space required: 30″ × 80″
Net weight: 2700 lbs.

 


1933

SN: 5814 and SN: 01837

 


1934

SN: 6024 and SN: 02390

Vandercook No. 31 Roller Series Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

From 1934 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum form: 15½” × 26″.
Floor space: 34″ × 53″.
Shipping weight: 900 lb. Price (1934): $275.

Hand inked. No grippers. Optional cabinet. Part of the No. 15 family.

 


Vandercook No. 2 Proof Press 2/16/34 SN: 6034 – 3/6/59 SN: 18524 (This info needs to be corrected.
This model dates to at least 1927. according to reported serial numbers on models with nameplates and also by examination of trade journal advertising noting business addresses..
See 1-14-2 Family

No. 2 1935

From 1934 Vandercook and 1935 ATF catalogs:
Bed: 20″ × 26″ (1934)
Maximum sheet: 20″ × 28″ (1935)
Maximum form: 20″ × 24″ (1934), 19″ × 24″ (1935)
Floor space including handle: 41″ × 53″ (1934)
Floor space: 2’6″ × 4’2″ (1935)
Shipping weight: 675 lb

No grippers. Hand inked. Cabinet included. Tindeck blanket. Optional register device.

No. 2 1950
Bed: 24″ × 50½”

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 23¾” × 26½”
Maximum form: 23″ × 24½”
Floor space: 2’8″ × 4’3″
Weight: 955 lb (1957: 1000 lb)
Price (1950): $885

“Intended for proving full page newspaper pages in galleys or stereotype chases. ” Galley height. Optional adjustable bed end plate (for transferring forms to and from trucks).


Vandercook 22 Electric Proof Press 3/29/34 SN: 6051 – 2/19/60 SN: 20132
See also 23, HS27

22 1935

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Bed: 10″ × 26″
Maximum sheet: 10″ × 28″
Maximum form: 8″ × 26″
Floor space: 2′ × 3’9″
Shipping weight: 830 lb

High speed (40 or more proofs per minute). Rollers wrap around under bed. Uses different form roller for SN: 10410 (1947) up (possibly the press shown below). Smaller version of the original 23, but lasted much longer.

22 1950

From 1953 WNU and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 10″ × 25½”
Maximum form: 8″ × 25½”
Floor space: 1’11” × 3’8″
Weight: 515 lb (1957: 480 lb)
Three form rollers. Safety bars in front of cylinder and form rollers. Impression control.

 


Vandercook 325G Power Proof Press 4/16/34 SN: 6056 – 2/16/60 SN: 20097

325G 1935Bed: 25″ × 46″

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 30″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’10” × 9’8″
Shipping weight: 3500 lb

Automatic delivery, Monocork blanket, galley height. The 325A Power is the “newspaper” version of this press, without the gripper pedal. See 29-24G and 29-24A for a similar pair. See also 325G Hand.

325G 1950Bed: 25″ × 46¼”

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″
Minimum sheet: 4″ × 6″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’9″ × 9’10”
Weight: 3000 lb
Price (1950): $4350

“Intended mainly for commercial plants where larger volume of proofs is required with greater speed” (1000 proofs/hour).


handy-lockup-bar1935

SN: 6180 and SN: 02958

Vandercook introduced the Handy Lockup Bar.

No. 4 Proving Machine 11/14/35 SN: 6360 – 4/21/60 SN: 20624

No. 4 1935

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 15″ × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2′ × 5′
Shipping weight: 1250 lb (net 1050 lb)

“Register is absolute…offer[ing] the practical solution to many wet color proving problems. ”

Powered inking, changeable inking units, gooseneck feed board light. Optional frisket frame and register plate base.

4 split 1935

From Vandercook Form No. 9822 (post-1938):
Bed size: 15″ × 35″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Shipping weight: 1250 lb (net 1050 lb)
Price (1950): $1580

“Precision previously found only in presses much higher in price.”

The press pictured here differs from the 1935 model with the addition of a traveling delivery tray at one end and an unidentified compartment at the other. The new model also has the gripper pedal.

Bill Litfin reports on his 4:
It has a cool split fountain roller setup [shown here] that allows two colors to be on press at once. Presumably one could either print one job ‘work and turn’ or two jobs at once!

One page of the brochure touts this option for laboratory work; for example, testing two inks with the same impression and speed.

No. 4 Proof Press

4 1950

Bed: 15″ × 35″
From 1950 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Weight: 1100 lb
Price (1955): $1965

For reproduction and test proofs. Power ink distribution, type high bed, traveling sheet delivery tray. Optional split vibrator and riders.

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
“Over 5000 in use today … Now also suitable for producing fine transparent proofs by equipping it with the transparency feeding equipment. ” Evidently the 4T was included into this model.

 

ATF Equipment catalog published. Shows Vandercook, Challenge-Potter, Hacker

 


1936

SN: 6491 and SN: 03359. RIP: 315, 17, 427, 222.

427 Four-color Proving Machine 1/2/36 SN: 6320 – 3/30/36 SN: 6555

Price (1935): $10,000 (at the time of Form 9822, post-1938): $12,000.

427

427 profile

 


317 Power Proof Press 1/30/36 SN: 6520 – 1/26/42 SN: 8670
See also 317 Hand

317P

From ad in American Printer, April 1937:
“Profit for short runs … one or more colors … 1500 iph … quality equals that of the finest cylinder press … wash-up is quick and easy … delivery is semi-automatic.”

Vandercook 325G Hand Proof Press 4/9/36 SN: 6640 – 10/29/62 SN: 22090
See also 325G Power.

Larger version of the 320G. Possibly a “proof” (rather than a “test”) version of the 25-24.


325A Hand.

325GH

From 1935 ATF catalog:
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 30″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’5″ × 7’9″ (9’8″ long w/auto delivery)
Shipping weight: 2300 lb (auto delivery 150 lb, ink fountain 125 lb).

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs, and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Bed: 25″ × 46¼”
Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½
Floor space: 3’4″ × 7’9″ (2′ longer w/auto delivery)
Weight: 2000 lb (1957: 2200 lb)
Price (1950): $2140


317 Hand Proof Press 5/13/36 SN: 6696 – 12/6/48 SN: 12919
See also 317 Power

317 BP ad

317

From ca.1937 Vandercook catalog and 1938 ad:
Maximum sheet: 17″ × 27″
Maximum form: 16″ × 24½”
Floor space: 2’8″ × 6’4″ (including feed table overhang; 1’10” longer with ink cabinet)
Shipping weight: 1700 lb (ink cabinet and fountain: 150 lb)

15-25 proofs/min. Automatic inking, w/optional fountain and ink cabinet. Semi-automatic delivery. Double automatic cylinder trip, for short or long sheets. Automatic grippers (no foot pedal). Galley height.

Maximum sheet: 16¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 16″ × 24½”
Shipping weight: 1700 lb
Price (1940): $675
($743 delivered to the W. Coast)

The British Printer July 1938, p 54.

317An odd duck. The feed table/delivery tray (which travels with the cylinder) is in the shape of an upside-down V. The sheet is gripped just before reaching the right end — then moving the cylinder back to the left makes the impression. There is a stock table above the cylinder. “Feed and Delivery Table arranged for minimum hand travel in making proofs;” however, the design wasn’t used in subsequent models.

Walker Rumble contributes the following information about this elusive press:
I’ve had my 317 for something like ten years. All that I’ve ever known about the press is the info contained on Sheet No. 4-B of the Vandercook Illustrated Price List dated May 1 1940. Unhappily, I now find that my photocopy of that information has faded badly and resembles the Dead Sea Scrolls. According to Vandercook, the 317 was designed for “production of fine printing on short runs.” It was recommended for “general proving where customers require ten or more proofs,” for “imprinting calendars or other jobs where form changes are frequent,” and for “printing sales portfolios, announcements, display bills, posters, show cards and programs.” Vandercook claimed that the 317 “will print from 15 to 25 excellent proofs a minute. It brings an added selling argument to many plants-making it possible to print short runs profitably.” According to the fellow I bought mine from, River Street Printing in Woonsocket, he bought the press from Plimpton Press in Norwood, Mass., and he told me that Plimpton had used the press to proof covers for Houghton Mifflin books. (Private email, 8/28/03)


317 BP ad1937

SN: 7047 and SN: 03934. RIP: 223 Hand, 040.

Vandercook & Sons. Inc. buys the Hacker Manufacturing Company, which also made proof presses, block levelers and precision gauges. See also Hacker.

No. 223 Family: 1937-1949 223 223P 232 232P

“No. 223 and No. 232 Vandercook Hand and Power Operated Proving Machines are precision constructed to the positive accuracy required by the photo-engraver for plate correction, or by the printer in the careful pre-makeready of plates or forms.” (ca.1937 Vandercook catalog:).

The family includes the four combinations of hand or powered cylinder, and a 22½” or 31½”

Maximum form width. All have a powered ink drum. Options include fountain, automatic frisket and delivery, and a “color-corrected feed-board light.”

These seem to be the only presses introduced in 1937, the year Vandercook bought Hacker.

The 232P was replaced by 32-28E in 1949.


No. 223 Hand Proving Machine 2/6/37 SN: 7097 – 8/17/37 SN: 7475
See No. 223 Family

From ca.1937 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 23½” × 30″
Maximum form: 22½” × 28″
Floor space: 3′ × 10’6″ Weight: 3000 lb.

No. 223 Power Proving Machine 2/11/37 SN: 6940 – 11/11/43 SN: 9803
See No. 223 Family

 width=

From ca. 1937 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 23½” × 30″
Maximum form: 22½” × 28″
Floor space: 3′ × 10’6″
Net weight: 3500 lb

 

 

 

 


Vandercook No. 232 Hand Proving Machine Dates and serial numbers unknown
See No. 223 Family

From ca. 1937 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 32½” × 30″
Maximum form: 31½” × 28″
Floor space: 3’9″ × 10’6″ Weight: 4300 lb.


Vandercook No. 232 Power Proving Machine 11/24/37 SN: 7626 – 11/22/49 SN: 13876
See No. 223 Family

232PFrom ca. 1937 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 32½” × 30″
Maximum form: 31½” × 28″
Floor space: 3’9″ × 10’6″ Weight: 5000 lb.

“Same as the 223 except that it will print a 9″ wider plate.”
From 1937 ad

 

 

 

 

 

 


241938

SN: 7649 and SN: 04526. RIP: 20.

Vandercook 24 12/2/38 SN: 7807 – 1/12/42 SN: 9596

 


4T Proving Machine 2/3/38 SN: 7643 – 5/8/57 SN: 18739

Same as the 4, but used to pull transparency proofs of type on transparent acetate or glassine. The proofs could then be contacted to film for offset negatives.

From Vandercook Form 9822, post-1938:
Bed: 15″ × 35″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 18″
Maximum form locked in chase: 11″ × 16″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Shipping weight: 1350 lb

“To meet the need for perfect accuracy in making transparent impressions.” Includes “attachments for handling the cellophane, and a special ground cylinder (.070″) to take the offset blanket.” Standard equipment includes a package of cotton.

4T

From 1950 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 15″ × 35″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Weight: 1100 lb
Price (1950): $1840

 


vandy class

Vandercook School of Proving

From post-1938 Vandercook catalog:

“Mr. O.C. Geffken. Instructor at Vandercook School of Proving, demonstrating Vandercook Method for producing Transparent Impressions [on a No. 4T]….The employees of any Vandercook or Hacker equipped plant are eligible for instruction, without cost or obligation.”

 


1939

SN: 8100 and SN: 04930. RIP: 25.

No. 219T Proving Machine 2/15/39 SN: 8170 – 12/3/54 SN: 17192
See also 219 Old Style, 219 New Style, 219T New Style, 219AB, 219ABT, 4T.


1940

SN: 8613 and SN: 05318


2121941

SN: 9110 and SN: 05725

No. 212 10/23/41 SN: 9699 – 9/30/43 SN: 9728

 


0551942

SN: 9700 and SN: 06183. RIP: 24, 317 Power, 32.

No. 055 Dates and serial numbers unknown
See also 032
Made for the government during WWII. 51″ × 75.”

No. 515 6/4/42 SN: 9657 – 6/30/48 SN: 10031

515

Offset Proof Press Showing Damping Rollers

 


1943

SN: 9765 (apparently no office presses were manufactured this year). RIP: 23, 212, 223 Power.

Company Manufactures machine tools, 90 mm anti-aircraft gun carriage parts, Norden bombsight parts, and radar assemblies from some time during 1943 to early in 1946.

 


WWII award

1944

SN: 9854 and SN: 06322

WWII Production Service Award

Vandercook was awarded the Army-Navy Production Award “E” on July 27 1944 “for meritorious services on the production front.” There was a big ceremony at the plant in Chicago afterwards (I don’t have the date), and this picture is the only one I have seen so far that shows father and his sons. Vandercook’s “wartime manufacture includes complete machine tools, Norden Bombsight parts and assemblies, Radar equipment and work ranging from heavy gun parts to the most delicate electrical precision instruments.” This is from a small booklet printed for the occasion. —Fritz Klinke

 


dearborn

1945

SN: 9893 and SN: 06345

Vandercook Showroom
Interior view of 630 Dearborn St. [Transportation Building], Chicago. This address is now a copy shop (2006).


1946

SN: 9912 and SN: 06351

 


1947

SN: 10333 and SN: 06400. RIP: 219 Old Style.

September 7 Graphic Arts Monthly article: “Maker of Proof Presses Taking Bids for Plant,” states that Johnson & Johnson are the architects and projected the building to be completed in Fall 1948. The plant was actually completed in 1954.

604No. 604 High-Speed 4-Color Proof Press 7/9/47 SN: 10125 – 11/18/57 SN: 13941

 

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 27½” × 23½”
Maximum sheet: 26″ × 24″
Maximum form: 25″ × 21″ (1957: 25″ × 20½”)
Floor space: 4′ × 25′
Weight: about 10000 lb (15,000 lb packed for export in three sections)
Price (1950) D.C. $23,800 A.C. $24,420. (1955): $23,650.

Originally designed for Curtis Publishing before WWII. Uses a 3hp motor for moving eight form rollers over four forms. This produces a “wet” proof in three seconds — there is no drying time between colors. The optional chain-driven clothesline carries four friskets. Optional automatic sheet delivery (not pictured). 159 built, then replaced by 30-26.

 


1948

SN: 12146 and SN: 06883. RIP: 515, 317 Hand.

23 SE

 

No. 23SE 1/29/48 SN: 10785 – 12/14/62 SN: 20279

No. 219T New Style 4/3/48 SN: 12363 8/2/54 SN: 17033

See also 219 Old Style, 219T Old Style, 219 New Style, 219AB, 219ABT, 215

219 NS

 

No. 32-28 Power Test Press 4/30/48 SN: 12665 – 4/30/53 SN: 16119

32-28Bed: 32½” × 50″

From 1950 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 32″ × 30″
Maximum form: 31½” × 28″
Floor space: 4′ × 9′
Weight: 4750 lb
Price (1950): $5845

Almost identical to the 32-28E, but with narrow margin grippers and left and right side guides, and without the makeready table. These may be a similar pair to the 25-24 and 325G Hand, where the former is the “test press” and the latter the “proof press.” The 42-28 is the larger version.

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 32¼” × 50″
Maximum sheet: 32″ × 30″
Maximum form, one color: 31½” × 28″ (two color: 15″ × 28″)
Floor space: 4′ × 10’6″
Weight: 5000 lb

“Used in more than 400 leading photoengraving plants.”

No. 42-28E Power Proof Press 9/27/48 SN: 13139 – 8/30/66 SN: 26020

42-28Bed: 42″ × 50″

Maximum sheet: 41¾” × 30″
Maximum form: 41″ × 28″ (two-color 19½” × 28″)
Floor space: 4’10” × 9′
Weight: 5650 lb
Price (1950): $7650

Powered cylinder and inking. Gripper and cylinder pedals. Optional split vibrators for two-color work. Optional automatic frisket and delivery. Described as larger (and earlier) version of the 32-28E; however, the ink trip handle is shorter and the chain drive is not exposed.


1949

SN: 13306 and SN: 07149. RIP: 232P.

No. 05 Hand Galley Proof Press 3/21/49 SN: 10669 – 9/9/58 SN: 16721

05

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogs:
Bed: 15″ × 26″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 14″ × 24″
Floor space: 1’11” × 5’4″
Weight: 800 lb
Price (1950): $960

“There are no adjustments of any kind for an operator to make.”

Automatic inking. Pushed, not cranked. Vulcanized rubber impression cylinder. Everything except the actual cylinder assembly looks the same as a 50s-era 15. 3″ cylinder used on SN: 15931 (1952) up.

No. 219 Hand Test Press 4/15/49 SN: 10507 – 7/9/58 SN: 18486 (includes 219 Power)

See also 219 Old Style, 219T Old Style, 219T New Style, 219AB, 219ABT, 219 Power

219Bed: 19″ × 42½”

Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24″
Floor space: 3′ × 10′ (1957: 3’4″ × 10’2″)
Weight: 2400 lb
Price (1950): $3185

“Highly recommended for proofs intended for reproduction purposes.” Motor-driven ink drum, short and long carriage travel. Optional automatic frisket/sheet delivery. Wood feed board and paper trays.

No. 219AB Proof Press with Adjustable Bed 8/10/49 SN: 13666 – 7/25/58 SN: 18580

See also 219 Old Style, 219T Old Style, 219T New Style, 219 Hand, 219ABT, 219 Power.

219AB

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 19″ × 42½”
Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24″
Floor space: 3′ × 10′ (1957: 3’4″ × 10’2″)
Weight: 2500 lb (1957: 2700 lb)
Price (1950): $3640

Identical to the 219 New Style, with the addition of an adjustable bed (which has a pair of tool pockets recessed into it). Bed adjustable within .240″ range. Motor-driven ink drum, short and long carriage travel. Optional automatic frisket/sheet delivery. Wood feed board and paper trays.

Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 26″ Bed: 19″ × 41″

No. 22-34 Power Offset Proof Press 4/25/49 SN: 13393 – 9/20/51 SN: 14976

2234

From 1950 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 28″ × 36″
Maximum form: 22½” × 35″
Floor space: 5′ × 11′
Weight: 7600 lb
Price (1950): $11,875

Power cylinder, ink, water. Speed of the press can be regulated from 7 seconds for a complete cycle to 20 seconds. Sheet bed adjustable up to .120″ in .001″. Includes “ingenious ‘AIR-WIPE Water Control’ whereby air under pressure is released at the proper time through a slot in the under side of a channel on the cylinder carriage extending across bed.”

No. 25-24 Hand Test Press 8/23/49 SN: 12073 – 9/6/56 SN: 18032

2524

From 1950 and 1957 Vandercook catalogs:
Bed: 25″ × 46¼”
Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’4″ × 7’9″
Weight: 2000 lb (1957: 2200 lb)
Price (1950): $2310

“Low cost test press for forms in chases up to 25″.”

Gripper pedal. Automatic inking. Almost identical to the 325G Hand, but called a test press rather than a proof press. Unlike the 325G, automatic delivery and ink fountain aren’t advertised. Neither is a galley height bed plate, perhaps indicating a type-high bed. Includes narrow margin grippers, and left and right side guides for work and turn jobs.

No. 42-28 Power Test Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

42-28Bed: 42″ × 50″

From 1950 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 41¾” × 30″
Maximum form: 41″ × 28″
Floor space: 4’10” × 9′
Weight: 5650 lb
Price (1950): $7740

A larger 32-28 and very similar to the 42-28E.

No. 42-28 One and Two-Color Power Test Press

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 42″ × 50″
Maximum sheet: 41¾” × 30″
Maximum form, one color: 41″ × 28″ (two colors: 19½” × 28″)
Floor space: 5’9″ × 10’6″
Weight: 5800 lb

“The largest test press in the Vandercook line for proving one and two-color plates and forms.” The automatic frisket is optional.

No. 32-28E Power Proof Press 12/15/49 SN: 13976 – 12/18/59 SN: 19364

32-28

From 1950 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 32¼” × 50″
Maximum sheet: 32″ × 30″
Maximum form: 31½” × 28″ (two-color 15½” × 28″)
Floor space: 4′ × 10’6″
Weight: 4750 lb
Price (1950): $5760

Powered cylinder and inking. Replaces and is very similar to the 232P (doubling its

Maximum speed). Two pedals: one for grippers and the other to control the cylinder. Optional split vibrators for two-color work. Optional automatic frisket and delivery. Described as an engraver’s press, so perhaps that’s what the E is for. The 42-28E is the larger (and earlier) version. The 32-28 seems to be the “test” version.


11950-craneway950

SN: 13947 and SN: 07285

“Main Crane Way”from 1950 Vandercook catalog,

Vandercook Research, Inc. building completed at 4701 W. Iowa (across the street from the main N. Kilpatrick plant) by late 1950.

No. 219ABT Proof Press 1/5/50 SN: 14017 – 10/21/54 SN: 17065

See also 219 Old Style, 219T Old Style, 219T New Style, 219AB, 219 New Style, 4T.

219ABTBed: 19″ × 42½”

From 1950 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24″
Floor space: 3′ × 10′
Weight: 2500 lb
Price (1950): $3875

Same as the 219AB, but equipped for proving on acetate or glassine. “These transparencies are used in the production of lithographic plates and rotogravure cylinders, and are printed direct from type forms or plates on one side of the transparent material, and by offset from a rubber blanket on the other.” Includes a pound of cotton and a can of talcum powder.

No. 215 Proof Press 10/13/50 SN: 14473 – 3/23/56 SN: 18104

212

From late 1950 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 15″ × 35″
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’6″ × 8′ 4″
Weight: 1350 lb

“This is the smallest proof press manufactured by Vandercook to meet the exacting proving requirements of photoengravers. … also recommended for proofs intended for reproduction purposes.” Power ink distribution, gripper pedal. The projection at the right end is a makeready table. The cabinet holds four extra inking units.

68No. 68 Makeup Gauge Dates and serial numbers unknown

 

Maximum form: 60 × 80 picas
Minimum form: 23 × 27 picas
Floor space: 31″ × 42″
Weight: 850 lb

Includes proof press and string compartment.

“It is possible to make up forms that are exactly square — exactly alike in size — that can be justified to lift by controlled lockup pressure.”

 


ROV

1951

SN: 14802 and SN: 07429. RIP: 22-34
Production partially interrupted by Korean War from 1951-1954 to produce electronic remote control gun sight for the Navy.

R.O. Vandercook, 84 dies June 8.

Obituaries:
Chicago Tribune, June 9, 1951, page B7
Wilmette Life, 14 Jun 1951, page 68

The photo of this plaque was courtesy of Robert R. Vandercook, Jr., great-grandson of Robert O. and grandson of Fred R. Vandercook, CFO of Vandercook and Sons when it was sold to Illinois Tool Works.

1952 article


1952

SN: 15477 and SN: 07566

Newspaper article excerpt about the building of new Vandercook plant:

“3 Industrial Firms Moving into Suburbs,”
Chicago Tribune Friday Oct. 17, 1952, Spt. -Bus Page 5F


1953

SN: 15950 and SN: 07679. RIP: 32-28

 


1954

SN: 16549 and SN: 07779. RIP: 219ABT, 219T Old Style, 219T New Style

The new Vandercook manufacturing plant at 3601 W. Touhy Avenue (Lincolnwood) is completed in January 1954 with 80,000 sq. ft. at a cost of $2 million. According to Story of A Visit, some products are manufactured in England, and annual sales are about $4,000,000. This building has since been replaced by a Lowe’s home improvement.

3601W.Touhey

3601W.Touhy-plantinterior


No. 15-19 Dry Offset Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

 width=From 1954 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 15″ × 24¾”
Maximum sheet:14½” 19″3″
Maximum form: 14½” 19″
Floor space: 2’10” × 2’2″
Net weight: 1700 lb
Adjustable bed

 


1955

SN: 17404 and SN: 07871. RIP: 032

No. 15-20 Dry Offset Press 2/8/55 SN: 17285 – 5/29/62 SN: 20890

15-20

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Distance between bed and cylinder bearers: 15½”
Maximum form and work size: 14½” × 20″ × 1″
Floor space: 8’2″ × 3’2″
Net weight: 2300 lb

“Developed expressly for the production of printed circuits, nameplates and dials by the dry offset process. It will print from positive letterpress plates or forms on metal, glass, plastic cardboard, paper, and practically any other flat material up to 1-inch in thickness.” A production press (not a proof press). Both plate and work beds adjustable from 1.100″ to .600″. Powered cylinder and ink drum. 400 cycles/hour (= 9 secs/cycle). Optional vacuum base and grippers.

No. 15-21 Test Press 5/13/55 SN: 17734 – 11/25/58 SN: 18930

15-21

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 15½” × 24¾”
Maximum sheet: 15¼” × 23″
Maximum form: 14½” × 21″
Floor space: 7′ × 2’2″
Weight: 1875 lb

Can-fed ink feed. “Sprayset” — sheet is sprayed with ink setting solution when the delivery tray is returned to the left. Bed adjustable within .240″ range. Automatic short travel cylinder trip, “making it unnecessary to travel the cylinder the full length of the bed when proving forms up to 14″ long. The full 21″ printing length can be obtained by merely traveling the cylinder to the end of the bed” (this sounds like you don’t have to adjust a cam). The tray at the right end is for washing rollers. There is a niche in the bed for a plunger solvent can.

No. 29-24G Power Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

29-24G
From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 29″ × 59″
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 28½” (minimum 8½” × 11″)
Maximum form: 24 3/8″ × 27½”
Floor space: 10’4″ × 3’9″
Weight: 5050 lb
“Up to 1500 impressions per hour with hairline register.”

Can-fed ink feed. Optional anti-offset unit (the IV drip at the left). Optional vacuum sheet control, which sucks the sheet down on the feed board until gripped by the cylinder (this is surely required for “hairline register”). Optional static eliminator. Type-high bed. Auto-delivery. See 29-24A.Why is the bed so much longer than the

Maximum sheet?

No. 29-24A Power Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

29-24A

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 29″ × 59″
Maximum sheet: 25″ × 28½” (minimum 8½” × 11″)
Maximum form: 24 3/8″ × 27½”
Floor space: 10’4″ × 3’9″
Weight: 6100 lb

The same as the 29-24G but equipped for newspaper capabilities, like printing stereotypes without printing the chase. See 325G Power and 325A Power for a similar pair. Galley-high bed. Sheets are delivered to a makeup truck.

 


1956

SN: 18040 and SN: 07922. RIP: 215, 15, 25-24.

 


1957

SN: 18419 and SN: 07952. RIP: 4T, 604.

No. 30-26 High Speed Double 4-Color Test Press 1/30/57 SN: 18500 – 7/25/72 SN: 29522

30-26

From 1957 and 1968 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum plate, one set: 29″ × 25½”; two sets: 13½” × 25½”
Maximum sheet, one set of plates: 30½” × 29″; two sets: 15″ × 29″
Floor space: 4’5″ × 26’4″
Weight: about 16,800 lb

“Designed for precise 4-color wet proofing.” “Larger … more automatic … than the 604.” Four double beds, adjustable in .0005″ increments. Ink monitor (in 1968). Proof dryer built-in (apparently the 30-30 under the feed board). Automatic frisket, sheet delivery, and ink feed. “Cardboard control system for holding cardboard against the cylinder to prevent smearing. “Sic: “Safety bar to prevent damaging either plates or the press.” See also Universal V, with which this press is said to share many features.

No. Power 219 Test Press 4/15/49 SN: 10507 – 7/9/58 SN: 18486 (includes

See also 219 Old Style, 219T Old Style, 219T New Style, 219AB, 219ABT, 219 Hand

219P

From 1957 Vandercook catalog:
Bed: 19″ × 42½”
Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24″
Floor space: 2’8″ × 10’9″
Weight: 3100 lb

Bed adjustable within .240″ range. Powered impression cylinder — pressing the clutch pedal sends it back and forth. Motor-driven ink drum. Adjustable cylinder stops for short or long forms. Optional automatic frisket/sheet delivery. Optional can-fed automatic ink feed.

 


1958

SN: 18957. RIP: 3, 219 New Style, 219AB, 320G, 05, 15-21.

Universal Series: 1958-76 I II, III, IV, V.

From 1968 Vandercook catalog:
“The wide range of optional equipment offered enables the presses to be equipped or ‘customized’ for your specific requirements — from manual to complete power operation.” Power driven inking and automatic wash-up are standard. Optional automatic delivery, ink monitor (on the I and III), variable-speed power cylinder, power grippers “for short run work”, adjustable bed — accurate to within .0002″, automatic register and vacuum plate bases, ink fountain, automatic frisket.

Harold Sterne comments:
The Universal series were quite popular with the paper mills for testing paper. There was a company in New England that made special attachments for those presses. At one time when they couldn’t find anymore Universals they asked us if we could have them built from our blueprints. We contacted a machine company in Cincinnati that had experience building presses and they wanted $50,000 each to build them in lots of 10. Could find no takers.

Universal I Hand Test Press 6/11/58 SN: 19329 – 2/5/76 SN: 30010

u1

From Universal I Sales brochure (1971):
Bed: 15½” × 39
Maximum sheet: 15¼” × 24″
Maximum form: 13″ × 22
Floor space: 2’11” × 7’2″ (add 3″ for adjustable bed)
Net weight: 1200 lbs (add 500 lbs adjustable bed)

 

 

Universal I Power Test Press 6/11/58 SN: 19329 – 2/5/76 SN: 30010

u1

From Universal I Sales brochure (1971):
Bed: 15½” × 39
Maximum sheet: 15¼” × 24″
Maximum form: 13″ × 22
Floor space: 2’11” × 7’2″ (add 3″ for adjustable bed)
Net weight: 1300 lbs (add 500 lbs adjustable bed & 150 lbs for power drives)

 

 

Universal II Hand and Power 5/20/58 SN: 18362 – 4/14/60 SN: 20284

Only 55 were manufactured. Features a swing-out feed board as on the 219 New Style and the 215.Takes the same 19″ positive lockup bar as the Universal III and 219. Note the two foot pedals on the power carriage press on the right.

 

 width= width=

No. 425 Short Run Press 9/16/58 SN: 19500 – 4/15/74 SN: 29819

425From 1968 Vandercook catalog:

Maximum sheet: 24¾” × 27″

Power operated (1200/hour), static eliminator, “newspaper equipment” for printing stereotypes without printing the chase.

“Ideally suited for newspapers, printers and typesetters — and widely used for the printing of law and court briefs, full page newspaper proofs, advertising reprints, and telephone intercept directories.”

From Fred Williams’s article in Type & Press:
Bed: 25″ × 45″
Maximum form: 24″ × 24½”
Floor space: 3’2″ × 9’3″ Weight: 4200 lb.

Vandercook begins program of rebuilding presses and assigning new serial numbers.

 


1959

SN: 19489. RIP: 2, 325A Power, 32-28E.

Universal III Power Test Press /18/59 SN: 20133 – 6/26/74 SN: 29851

Part of the Universal series.

Uni3P

From 1971 Vandercook catalog:
Bed size: 19″ × 42½”
Maximum sheet: 18¾” × 28″
Maximum form: 18″ × 24
Floor space: 3’3″ × 8’4½” (add 3″ for adjustable bed)
Net weight: 1800 lbs (add 550 lbs for adjustable bed & 150 lbs for power drives)

u3

If the last Universal III was manufactured in 1974, then it looks like they still had some unsold inventory in 1981. —M.W.

No. 13-28 12/31/59 SN: 20222 – 10/1/64 24322

13-28

 

 


Italian Sales Representatives Display Van

This van, based in Milan, was equipped with a Universal I Hand test press. See also, Vandercook Mobile Technical Center.

italian-van-detail

italian-van-interior

blank-rule

 


1960

SN: 20123. RIP: 4, 14, 325G Power, 22, Universal II, 319.

No. 319 4/5/60 SN: 20210 – 7/5/60 SN: 20646

319“… 18 × 24 sheet, electric impression s/n SN: 20646 … Self inking (adjustable). It runs on a ‘power saving’ 220V. This is a power press, not dissimilar to a Uni 1 with electric impression except it is operated from the rear, not the side. Up to 1000 impressions per hour…. $1950 obo.” This was the last 319 made.

Galley height. Under blanket: 18″ × 26½”. Takes the same form roller as Universal III.

No. Universal IV 7/29/60 SN: 20186 – 1/15/69 SN: 28185

Uni 4From 1968 Vandercook catalog:

Maximum sheet: 32-7/8″ × 29½”.

SP20 Hand Test Press 12/19/60 SN: 20900 – 3/12/76 SN: 30014

sp20From 1968 and 1981 Vandercook catalogs:

Maximum sheet: 19½” × 28″

Power ink distribution and automatic wash-up


VMTC-brochure-interior

Vandercook Mobile Technical Center

This truck was equipped with an SP15. See also, Italian Sales Representatives Display Van.

mobile-tech-center-1

mobile-tech-center-2 mobile-tech-center-3 mobile-tech-center-4

 


sp15

1961

SN: 20016

SP15 Hand Test Press 5/12/61 SN: 21500 – 10/28/74 SN: 29951
Bed: 15″ × 31½”
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’8″ × 5’9″
Net weight: 705 lb.

SP stands for Simple Precision and was “a low priced precision test press” series (1968 Vandercook catalog:). Sometimes they used a hyphen between SP and the number, and sometimes they didn’t.

 width=

Dan S. Wang had this interesting remark:
This press was used to produce a perfect proof of a handset form, which was then made into a photo-litho plate for eventual offset mass reproduction. “In other words, this machine occupies the very specific and narrow period in which printing used both manual skills and photo offset automation.” (from Archipelago 4.4 – Contributors)

The SP15 was also available without a motor and ink reservoir drum. While it is equipped with an oscillating roller The ink is distributed by manually turning a hand wheel mounted on the end of the front form roller core on the operator’s side.

 


sp131962

SN: 20629. RIP: 15-20, 325A Hand, 325G Hand, 23SE

SP13 4/24/62 SN: 20907 – 12/2/65 SN: 25422

Hand operated.

No grippers.

Under blanket: 12½” × 28″.

Universal V 5/14/62 SN: 20000 – 2/25/72 SN: 29469

Part of the Universal series.

u5

From 1968 Vandercook catalog:

“A tandem 2-color press with many of the same features as the 30-26” (a four-color press).

SP33 Power 5/25/62 SN: 22850 – 3/10/66 SN: 25639

See also SP33 Hand

Under blanket: 26.062″ × 32″SP33P

 

 

 

 

 

Vandercook SP33 Hand 12/12/62 SN: 22852 – 6/2/65 SN: 24986

See also SP33 Power


LO151963

SN: 22635

LO15 Letterpress-Offset Test Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

 

From February 1963 Vandercook flyer:
Bed: 15″ between bearers
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum plate or form: 14″ × 18″ (7″ × 18″ when packed for both letterpress and offset)
Floor space: 2’9″ × 7’11”
Net weight: 1400 lb (power drive 100 lb, adjustable beds 200 lb each)
Price (1963): $3960 (power drive $1275; either adjustable bed $1150, both $2150)

“For use in the laboratories of ink and paper manufacturers.”

Split cylinder and inking system. Makes either one revolution/cycle for letterpress, or two revolutions/cycle for offset. Power inking. Automatic wash-up. Pedals for the cylinder grippers and the grippers on the sheet bed for offset. Optional power drive and adjustable bed(s).

 

SP25 Hand Test Press 1/18/63 SN: 22825 – 4/23/84 SN: 30126

See also SP25 Power.

From 1968 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 24½ ” × 28″.

Power ink distribution and automatic wash-up.

SN: 30126 was the last Vandercook Proof Press ever manufactured. See also SP25 Power.

SP25 Power Test Press 6/27/63 SN: 22838 – 3/29/76 SN: 30005

See also SP25 Hand.

SP25
From 1968 and 1981 Vandercook catalogs:
Maximum sheet: 24½ ” × 28″
Power ink distribution and automatic wash-up.

 

 

 

 


hs271964

SN: 23425. RIP: 13-28

Vandercook HS27 High Speed Electric Galley Proof Press

6/16/64 SN: 24099 – 2/27/76 SN: 29903

See also 23, 22.

From 1968 and 1981 Vandercook catalogs:

Maximum form: 12″ × 27″

40 proofs per minute. “Can be set to automatically stop twice for each proof (laying and removing paper) or run continuously.” Optional safety stops, automatic wash-up, foot-operated grippers.

 

 

 

Vandercook 20-26 Flat Bed Offset Press 12/21/64 SN: 24096 – 7/27/70 SN: 28798

20-26

From 1968 Vandercook catalog:
Adjustable plate and sheet beds.

“Can, in stepless increments, print an image up to 1/8″ longer or 1/8″ shorter than actual image size on the plate. … Permits fast quality printing of metal nameplates, dials, rules, printed circuits, and wood grain panels.”

 


1965

SN: 24630. RIP: SP33 Hand, SP13

 


1966

SN: 25603. RIP: 1, SP33 Power, 42-28
66 plant

 


1967

SN: 26475

 


itw logo

 


1968

SN: 27255

E.O. Vandercook sells the company to Illinois Tool Works (ITW) for 3.6 million dollars. (Chicago Tribune, April 18, 1968, pg. C7.)

RO4-29Vandercook RO4-29 Rotary 4-Color Offset Test Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

 

From 1968 Vandercook catalog:
Maximum sheet: 23″ × 29″ (minimum 17″ × 22″)
Plate size: 25¼” × 31″
Maximum image transfer: 22½” × 29″
Blanket size: 30 5/16″ × 31½”
Floor space: 9’2″ × 8’8″ (7’8″ high)
Weight: 15,850 lb

“Duplicates ink trapping time of production presses, uses the same papers, inks and fountain solutions.”

This photo reproduced with a schematic in Photo-Offset Fundamentals by John E. Cognoli (McKnight & McKnight, 2nd edition 1967 3rd edition 1973, 4th edition 1980).

RO-49-ad

Harold Sterne remembers:
In 1985 I owned a RO4-29 at a magazine reprint plant I owned in Connecticut. It was a great conceptual press but a bear to run. I think the local liquor store was very happy with the results by our pressman. This press has one small impression cylinder, then a large blanket cylinder with four blanket segments, then a large plate cylinder with four plate segments. Each plate segment had its own dampening and inking systems, timed to drop them on the appropriate segment and lift them so they wouldn’t touch the others. That kept the register perfect when you set it up correctly. The nice feature is that it would automatically print progressive proofs in any order that you wanted. The top speed was 1500 sheets per hour which was OK for the work we did because that was about our average run. The sheet size was 23″ × 29″ and we would try to gang run six pages. I think Vandercook sold about 70 of these presses and they had one service man stationed in New York to service all the presses.


1969

SN: 28195. RIP: Universal IV


1970

SN: 28727. RIP: 20-26

 


1971

SN: 29093

 


1972

SN: 29145. RIP: Universal V, 30-26

ITW sells assets of Vandercook & Sons to Hugh Fletcher, who renames it Vandersons Corporation and moves it to Mt. Prospect, Illinois. Vandersons continues to rebuild presses and assign new serial numbers.

 


1973

SN: 29652

 


1974 SN: 29807. RIP: 425, Universal III, SP15

 


1975

SN: 29931

D.D. Vandercook, 73, dies January 5

 


typographer-ad1976-83

SN: 30004. RIP: Universal I, HS27, SP20, SP25 Power

4-Color Gravure Proof Press Dates and serial numbers unknown

gravure

From April 1977 Graphic Arts Monthly
Four-color gravure proofs up to 24″ × 26″ in less than five minutes, or multiple four-color proofs in excess of 100 per hour. Price: less than $30,000.

Vandersons stops making presses in 1976.


1984

SN: 30126. RIP: SP25 Hand


1985

EVOE.O. Vandercook, 88, dies July 13.

Obituaries:
Graphic Arts Monthly, Jul 14, 1985, page B12
Wilmette Life, 18 Jul 1985, page 127

 


1986

In July Vandersons moves to a new facility in Bensenville, Illinois.


1987

F.R. Vandercook, dies September 3.


1989

Vandersons sold to Stuart Evans.


1994

Vandersons sold to Tom Bell and Hal Sterne of NA Graphics, Cincinnati, Ohio in January 1994.


1996

NA Graphics sold to Fritz Klinke of Silverton, Colorado in October 1996.


2003

Mark Wilden develops the original Vandercook Proof Press website with images and data provided by Harold Sterne, Fritz Klinke and Paul Moxon, and several other Vandercook enthusiasts. See About page.


2005

NA Graphics launches its e-commerce website.

Mark Wilden hands-off his website to Paul Moxon who develops it into the present site by providing a domain name and graphic identity, and adding numerous charts and tables and data in PDF.

 


2006

Blog added to this website moderated by Paul Moxon with Fritz Klinke.

 


2009

Centenary of Vandercook proof presses.

Barbara Henry and Roni Gross publish The Vandercook Book, a boxed set of pamphlets and a suite of 30 master printer folio prints.

Paul Moxon collates The Vandercook Centenary Print Bundle, an international assemblage of prints.

 


2010

Harold E. Stern, 81, co-founder of NA Graphics, dies October 2.

 


2011

Paul Moxon publishes Vandercook Presses: Maintenance History and Resources.

 


2012

Just Vandy publishes The Vandercook 100: Celebrating 100 Artisans and 100 Years of Letterpress Printing on the Vandercook Proof Press.

 


2015

Paul Moxon publishes an expanded second edition of Vandercook Presses: Maintenance History and Resources.