New Building

My attention has been diverted from the Vanderblog and related as of late as we get into putting up our new building for NA Graphics and a move in a couple of months of all the Vandercook records, parts, and related stuff for the business. I’ll have Paul massage a photo of how the structure looked today after we put up the beams that will support the second floor. The entire structure is just over 9000 sq. feet on 2 floors, about a mile out of town right next to the Animas River. As our companion business of construction, we are doing all our own work except for electrical, plumbing and earth work. We are in a new industrial park that has its focal point being the 1906 brick substation built for the Animas Power and Water Co., one of the very early AC power companies in the world.

I’m afraid I got Paul hooked on The Inland Printer while he was here back in August. They are a fantastic source of information on printing, and letterpress in particular. The Vandercooks were often mentioned in this publicaton, and both being based in Chicago, the ties were strong. My collection runs from 1897 to the late 1970s and is comprised of both individual copies and close to 80 bound volumes. In my zeal to get these, I finally did an inventory and found a couple of duplicates of bound volumes.

R. O. Vandercook, and later his son E. O., both preached precision in materials for letterpress. In volume after volume of the Inland Printer, the need to lower makeready time pops up constantly, with references to the testing and measuring equipment available through Hacker and then Vandercook. Many factors caused letterpress’s downfall, but excessive makeready time, measured in hours into days on some presses, served as much as anything to create a stampede to offset. Vandercook tried to stem the tide, but their efforts were for naught and their prosperity of the 1960s was because typesetting was still dominated by hot metal and there was a need for repro proofs. Many of the national magazines had heavy investments in letterpress equipment and continued into the 70s until such time as they could justify the change to web offset, and in some cases, gravure. When I look at the “party pictures”: Paul has posted, and the rest he hasn’t, it is with a certain sadness that I see these happy people unaware that their part of the world will soon change and printing will never be the same.

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Katie Harper
16 years ago


Best of luck with your building and the move. When I was there in… (when was that, anyway?? 2000?) you had LOTS of stuff everywhere! Don’t envy having to organize and package all that… but I look forward to hearing how it goes! (reminds me of the fairy tale about how everyone wanted to help eat the cake, but no one wanted to help bake it!

Casey McGarr
16 years ago

If I can get up to your shop Fritz, I’m bringing my mountain bike and try to climb that beautiful mountain behind you. Or not, just talking out loud. Thanks for pictures, can’t wait to keep seeing the progression of your build out.


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