I have completed the restoration on this Hacker #4. Here is the history as I know it:

1. The press was purchased 1/31/1929.( A date on the bed said Apr. 12. I assume 1928) The company that bought it was Grey Ketterer & Hansen, Inc. It was later sold to Columbus Engraving Corp.
2. The press fell over at some point in its life and was fixed. Stanley Metza worked on it in 1957, at  Columbus Engraving Corp.
3. It eventually found its way to the Ohio home of Ronald Fauver and Nancy Haitz in the 1980’s. This is where I found it and gave it a new home in Pensacola, FL.
A big thanks to a few folks who helped me along the way: Paul Moxon for providing the 1936 catalog. This was most helpful in preparing for the move. Fritz Klinke who looked up the historical information on this particular press in his archives, and Scott Moore(http://moorewoodtype.com/) who was there on the day of the move in Ohio.
before1 after1

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9 thoughts on “Hacker #4 Restoration”

  1. thanks for the info Larry, I appreciate it. im feeling like maybe the taking apart of things might not be worth my while. i am awaiting a final quote on the move, so fingers crossed, but i was hoping to just slide the bed out without disrupting the trip and roller mechanisms. I get the theory of marking the gear teeth, so fine there, bu i don’t want to re calibrate the whole dang press.. its only going about 1 mile down a flat road, so … but i see your point about the roller carriage becoming vulnerable without the bed gear keeping it stable.
    It also seems like the 300 or so lbs of the bed wont exactly make it a much lighter load. On the model index here on the site the lightest model is at 1800 lbs. A 300-400 lb press bed still leaves me with 1400 or more lbs to move, which would require me to get a jack and lift trailer anyhow, so no real effort or cash spared there i’m afraid. Like i said, its in real nice shape, so pulling the thing apart is just labor on my end, i don’t need to paint or restore each peice like you had.
    My guess is that its almost identical to yours, but there looks to be some slight differences in the roller system. yours looks more advanced and complete. Mine is more basic, hopefully not lacking anything major. we shall see.
    Thanks again, i’ll keep you posted

  2. Larry K. Johnson

    Congratulations on your new press! Do post your pictures here or a link to them, I’m anxious to see it. For moving the press you can get weight info here as well as roller recovery info: https://vandercookpress.info/downloads/catalogs/1936-hacker-catalog.pdf
    I don’t know what your press looks like since Hackers #4’s morphed over the years they were produced. So with the assumption it is exactly like mine….
    I can envision your plan for a partially disassembled move. The only think that I can think of that I would see as a problem is that in a partially disassembled state the cylinder would be held up only by the two side arms (I don’t know the official name of those). (See the blue circle). Not that the arms won’t hold it up because they do on the trip position of a run but it would put the press in a vulnerable state should something go wrong. The arms could break easy in a fall, hit or bump.
    I did not actually weigh the bed but I could barely turn it over by myself. I used an engine hoist. I would guess it to be greater than 300 pounds. The inking system was also heavy and awkward. I would suggest securing it shut somehow.
    To dissemble it you would need remove both bumpers under the bed. (Yellow circle). You may need to take the print/trip system (red circle) off as well so the cylinder can continue beyond its normal reach. This would allow the bed to come all the way out. My print/trip is missing so I am unsure if this step is necessary. Also I would remove any handles. You will need a 3 jaw puller for those.
    The only other thing I can tell you is that the press is geared to function a certain way and is timed. One area is the cylinder and bed. You need to mark teeth so the position of the cylinder and bed are exact when you reassemble. I marked 2 adjacent teeth on the bed with a punch and the one tooth on the cylinder that fell in-between the two marked bed teeth. The timing issue here is so the mushroom grippers open at the correct time with the position of the bed.
    The other critical timing issue is the oscillating rollers. (purple circle) They work like a screw. Both screw in and out in opposite directions. They need to be in the same position on reassembly. If not one or both could run out of thread on the screw end half way through a run and you’d lock up the press or break gears.
    I can’t think of anything else for now. Hope this all helps, let me know if you need anything.

    -Larry

  3. Hello Larry,
    Congrats on such a thorough and successful restoration. I glanced at the flickr gallery and the level of dedication is pretty amazing.
    I’d like to pick your brain a bit because i’ve located a similar Hacker in my town, and am planning to move it into my studio. I’m largely curious about your thoughts on partial disassembly in order to make the move easier. Ive already got a heidelberg and vandercook,and am no stranger to a press move. i can hire the people and trailers and such for more than i’d like to spend, but I also looked closely at the press and think i could easily remove the reciprocating press bed, the feed board assembly, and the main rollers. Then possibly move those parts separately with some manpower, elbow grease and a decent pickup truck or small trailer.
    Your thoughts on any of this would be very valuable, seeing as you took the whole dang thing apart in a big way. Worth noting is that its in quite good condition, so i’m not planning to take the whole thing apart otherwise. Just in order to make my move easy and cheap. I just want to be certain i can slap it back together on my end without too many headaches. or if taking things apart won’t gain me any major weight loss in the move, i wont waste the time.
    i will be sure to grab a serial number and photos for the census when i can.
    Thanks for any input. I appreciate it.
    You can find me directly at
    nathan@parallelprintshop.com if that’s easier.
    Thanks,
    -Nathan

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