David S. Rose

Some Vandercooks were designed to print from type while still in galleys, and others were designed for type out of galleys. The former are known as “galley-high” (as opposed to “type-high”), and shipped with a special insert plate which was the exact thickness of a galley, and let them serve both purposes. You can’t, however, lower a type-high bed to print from galleys. The third type of Vandercooks were the fancy, high-end models with “adjustable” beds, in which the entire bed could be raised or lowered by a hand crank at the foot of the press, letting it be used for different heights of type, in or out of galleys.

For proofs in galleys, the type is usually tied up with string (details of this age-old practice are shown here and in most printing manuals), and sometimes kept roughly in place by the use of magnets or spring-metal galley locks. Since the idea of proofing type in a galley was simply to check for correct setting, registration wasn’t particularly important, and thus lock-up wasn’t a big issue.

For “production” work on a Vandercook, you usually set the type directly on a type-high bed (or the insert on a galley-high bed), and then lock it up with furniture against the three fixed sides of the press. At the foot, you lock against either the standard, fixed-position lock-up bar (which drops into little grooves towards the end of the bed), or else against the optional, more expensive, handy-dandy positive lock-up bar, which slides down the bed as far as necessary and then, with a slide of the lever, locks first to the sides and then presses in toward the form.

All that said, many printers will use a chase in Vandercook, because it allows you to lock-up the form on the imposing stone and move it to the press only when needed. You can also quickly pop in and take out forms (if for some reason you keep multiple standing forms around), which is a lot easier than if the type is locked directly into the bed. When a chase is used, depending on the particular circumstance, it is usually held in place by the lock-up bar and/or furniture and quoins.

Copyright © 2003 by David S. Rose

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