Biographical sketches

Newly Discovered Vandercook Portraits

Recently, I acquired some Vandercook materials that had belonged to David Dodge Vandercook (1901–1975), who was Vice President of Engineering and Board Secretary for Vandercook & Sons. He was the second son of company founder Robert O. Vandercook (1866–1951). The company frequently used the portrait of R.O. Vandercook (above left) in promotional literature, but apparently, …

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Stauffacher at age 95

Jack 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 …

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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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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).

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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FAG proof press webpage /

Dear Vandercook friends, After consultation with Paul Moxon I am happy to announce that the new FAG proof press platform is online! I’ve been working closely with the archive at FAG Lausanne, Switzerland for more than one year (still in progress…) The webpage is meant to share information about all FAG letterpress cylinder proof …

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Three Generations of Lee at Challenge Machinery

From its founding and through several decades, the Lee family ran the Challenge Machinery Company. Challenge, which began as the successor to Shniedewend & Lee, became one of the largest printing equipment manfacturers with a wide range of products. Among their many innovations were the first paper drilling machine, the first hydraulic paper cutter and …

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A.F. Wanner

Andrew Franklin Wanner (1855–1935) was a typefounder and the proprietor of A.F. Wanner & Co. a printing supplier and press manufacturer in Chicago. Today the company is remembered as the original maker of Potter and Poco proof presses. It was also one of the earliest selling agents for Vandercook. In 1867, Wanner moved to Chicago …

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Horace W. Hacker

Horace Wardner Hacker (1879–1968) was the founder of the Hacker Manufacturing Co. in Chicago, which made plate gauges, and test presses that featured reciprocating beds with stationary carriages. Hacker held 14 U.S. Patents for various gauges and press mechanisms (and four later patents unrelated to printing). Like R.O. Vandercook, he was a proponent of press …

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