Help ID old Vandercook

I need help identifying my “Vandercook”: There is no model number anywhere on the press (nor any serial number), the plate states only “Vandercook Roller Series Proof Press”. There are 4 patent dates, all in 1914. It looks like the 17 or a member of the 15 family as seen on the “Vandercook website”: The web site states the 15 family did not have a crank, which this one does. It has the serial number 5739.

Surely the collective wisdom of this group can add to the small start I have. Oh yes, I have to get rid of it so if anyone wants to make an offer, feel free. Otherwise it’s going on ebay, hopefully correctly described. It’s very heavy and a pickup only in Chicago. Health considerations limit my ability to move it.

Thank you,

Charles Kroon

Ginkgo Leaf Press
1759 Rosehill Drive
Chicago, IL 60660
773/989-7599 fax

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Paul Moxon, Moderator
17 years ago

I’m not certain that the bed is missing. If so, it appears to have not been a very thick plate. It is hard for me to tell from the photo. The distance between the cylinder and the existing bed surface doesn’t look to be significantly over .968″ .968″ This could be tested by placing a large type sort on the bed next to the bed bearer. This will be elementary to many folks reading this, but for the benefit of others, note that if the face of the sort is level with the bearers, then the distance is .918″ and the bed is intact. If the sort is slightly lower, then this is a galley press, .968″ that accomodates a .050″ galley. If more than .968″, then indeed the bed itself is missing.

Eric Holub
17 years ago

I see there are a couple responses to this question as put to LetPress. Mo is absolutely wrong, but Sterne is possibly right about this press lacking its bed.
I’ve only seen one press in this series, which still had the two inkplates. The roller assembly had been removed. But there was still a great deal more metal present between the bearers than is shown in this press. What is the distance between cylinder surface and supposed bed? .918, .968, or more?
It also appears that the cylinder is out of time; I think the bottom-center of the printing surface should line up with the center of the bed, and the cylinder gap should bottom out at the ends of the bed. The gap is large enough fit the roller assembly within it.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
17 years ago

Note the carriage frame casting styles: straight on the “17”: and curved on the “20”: The 20 also sports holes in the support frame beneath the bed bearer.

Alain Debbané
Alain Debbané
17 years ago

Looks like a 20 or 21 missing a inking plate on both ends.

Paul Moxon, Moderator
17 years ago

Thanks for sharing your photos. To a degree it does resemble the 17, although the bed is shorter than is shown in available illustrations, also the bed bearer supports are different.

I will alert Fritz Klinke at “NA Graphics”:, who now owns the original records. With the serial number, he should be able to tell you the exact model, the original owner, and its year of manufacture.

Sadly, precious little exists about the early models, and it seems that carriage and press bed casting stlyles and were swapped around. I have seen numerous early presses (in person and by photo) that do not exactly ressemble known promotional illustrations. All part of the fun and frustration of this.

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