Proof Presses in the Wild

The Vandercook census has reached a milestone. There are now 2,000 Vandercook flatbed cylinder proof press still existing worldwide. That’s just 6.6% of the 30,000 presses the company manufactured between 1909 and 1976. To my chagrin, 12% of entries have incomplete data. A few more press that have not been included at their owners request. There are also 73 showcard style office […]

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Ferdinand Wesel

Ferdinand Wesel (1846-1912) was the founder of the F. Wesel Manufacturing Company, which among other equipment, made some of the first flatbed cylinder proof presses. Born in Frankfurt A.M., he learned the printing-machinery trade, as The Inland Printer once put it, “in the thorough manner characteristic of his countrymen.” In 1866, he emigrated to New York and […]

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Origin of the modern proof press reconsidered, Part II

In a 2010 post, I examined Vandercook’s claim to be “the originators of the modern proof press.” In it I discussed presses shown in a 1906 catalog issued by the British manufacturer Harrild & Sons (courtesy of Steven O. Saxe). In the comments, Eric Holub shared images from a 1904 catalog for Soldan’s, another British firm. Here’s another contender thanks again to Steve Saxe, with whom […]

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O.C. Geffken

Otto C. Geffken (1901–71) was an engineer at Vandercook & Sons and is named in at least one patent. The card, set in Kaufmann Bold and Stymie, is ca. 1938. Geffken appears in catalogs and model brochures of the era such as this one at right. (R.L. Pelland, another engineer, is believed to be  second from the left).

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