Excello Proof Press

This display ad appeared in most issues of Graphic Arts Monthly, vol. 1, 1929, but does not appear thereafter. Neither was it advertised or mentioned in The Inland Printer or Photo-Engravers Bulletin before, during, or after 1929. (Perhaps, there wasn’t enough interest in this product, and likely Black Tuesday—the infamous crash of the stock market on […]

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Two Early Custom Vandercooks

Here are two very large proof presses specially designed by R.O. Vandercook, and built by Chicago machinists Reichel & Drews, circa 1912–14. While neither press is known to exist today, they demonstrate that Vandercook was able to satisfy specific client requests early in his career as a manufacturer. The illustration at left, accompanying an article in the June […]

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The Lost Vandercook House Organ

Recently, I completed a fellowship at the Newberry Library in support of research for the second edition of my book Vandercook Presses: Maintenance, History and Resources (2011). While there, I spent most of my time perusing various trade journals including The Inland Printer, Photo-engravers Bulletin, Graphic Arts Monthly and British Printer, among others, spanning 1909–1976. As I sort out my findings, I […]

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Road Trip

I’m planning to drive to the Ladies of Letterpress conference in Mt Pleasant IA in June 27-29. My route will put me on I-55 from Jackson MS through Memphis and near St Louis. If anyone is interested in my making a Vandercook service call along the way, send me a message via the contact page.

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L.W. Claybourn

Leslie William “Lex” Claybourn (1883–1956) was a printing process pioneer who was issued over 200 U.S. patents. Like Horace Hacker and R.O. Vandercook, Claybourn worked to improve photoengraving and process plates and to reduce makeready. In 1921, he established Claybourn Process Corp. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, which made, among other machines, a multicolor press that printed […]

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