“SRL” proof press

Marty Veerde, Chair of Printmaking at the Quay School of Fine Arts in Whanganui, New Zealand sent me these photos of a Vanderlook-alike with hopes that I could identify it. Unfortunately, I have no information on this make. It has only two written references on it, one on an attached plate stating “Impression On/Off” and the other cast into the cabinet end with ‘SRL’. I thought it possible that it stood for Saroglia, once a well-known Italian manufacturer of printing presses and the maker of the Canuck proof press. The successor company is MEC Saroglia s.r.l., but in an email reply said it was not theirs.

Prof. Veerde says the press has no provenance or history. “… there are a few things missing off of it that will confuse the casual glance. Unfortunately the motor to power the ink train has been stripped before I got the machine and this would sit very high on the non operator side of the press It also had a protective shroud over the front of the carriage side plate which is missing as there are four screw mounting points there. The way that the ink train (vibrator roller and form rollers) disconnect from the carriage is also very distinctive and the casting for holding this roller train is aluminum.
The gripper trip bracket mounted on the operator side at the end of the bed-way is also another distinctive feature. It is not metric threaded so is either of English or American manufacture. I have just taken the old switch box apart and it has Bill Switchgear, Birmingham, England. Whether this was retrofitted or came with it is difficult to tell, however it does suggest British made.”

15 thoughts on ““SRL” proof press

  1. Jon Ward-Allen - February 1, 2018

    Sorry, forgot to say I think this is a No 1a SRL press.

  2. Jon Ward-Allen - February 1, 2018

    Hi guys

    Just got another SRL press. Very similar to our Vandercook 4c – both in size and operation but rollers slightly different size. Rubber bottom rollers and carriage missing by the way so need replacing. No apparent model number but I’ll keep searching.

    By the way SRL was the brand used by Sydney R Llittlejohn & Co of Gough Square in London. They were bought out and became Hunter Penrose Littlejohn in the 1960s. Apart from printing presses they produced other report equipment including cameras.

    Any information gratefully received!

  3. thequietpress - August 1, 2014
  4. thequietpress - August 1, 2014

    Hello All,

    Warren-e it would be really great if you could send me the pdf manual for the press as I’m in the midst of restoring one.


  5. Warren-e - May 9, 2014

    I think you are right in stating the bearing adjustment has no affect on the roller height. I enclose a detail of the bearing arrangement. There seems to be no difference in bearing height on or off impression.

  6. Eric Holub - May 9, 2014

    I’m not sure it would be inner/outer bearing pairs. Haven’t adjusted a No. 4 in six years, but think it was 1/3 and 2/4 pairs which would be more stable.
    This SRL separate roller carriage is very different from the No. 4, now that I look more closely at the images, and that should be a real improvement over the typical US Vandercook design, though an increase in mass and harder on the operator. Impression bearing and roller carriage adjustments would not seem to be have any effect on each other.

  7. Warren-e - May 9, 2014

    Thanks Eric. I’ll give it a go this weekend. I’m thinking outer two bearings for holding down the cylinder and inner two for the return trip? I’ve rolled out a 0.003 shim to use. Sound ok?

  8. Eric Holub - May 8, 2014

    This is closest to a No.4. Two bearings on each side will hold down the cylinder from bearing-off on impression on the forward stroke, and these will be set against the upper surface of the channel. The other two on each side will support the carriage while it is off impression, in both directions, by rolling against the lower surface of the channel.
    The rollers will be at the same height in both positions if bearings are set correctly.

  9. Warren-e - May 8, 2014

    I’ve just taken delivery of the same model (complete with Instruction Manual!). The cylinder bearings were stuffed full of ink so I’ve had to remove them from the press to clean and repack with grease. I’ve read a few guides on resetting the eccentrics but with reference to Vandercooks rather than this specific model. Has anyone had any experience on this specific model?

    There are 4 inline bearings on each side and I’m wondering if they are offset to the bottom rail and the top rail alternately?

    If anyone needs a copy of the manual let me know and I’ll scan it into a PDF for you.

  10. Paul Moxon, Moderator - July 14, 2008

    Awhile back Eric Holub sent me a copy of an ad from The Penrose Annual for The Littlejohn Press. I have posted it here. One can just barely make out the “SRL” logo on the cabinet end. This model looks similar to a 219 Newstyle, right down to the two swing-out paper tables.

  11. Paul Moxon, Moderator - October 30, 2007

    Thanks Ben. In the Vandercook serial number model cards at NA Graphics Hunter Penrose Ltd. is listed as a UK dealer in 1947 and affixed their logo to presses they sold. See this “photo”:https://vandercookpress.info/images/hpl-4.jpg sent to Fritz of a No. 4 now in Israel. Note the name Littlejohn on the cabinet.

  12. Ben Brundell - October 30, 2007

    I’ve been through the small numbers of ‘British Printer’ I have. Soldan does advertise in 1962 and 1965, but never with the initials SRL.

    There is one firm — Sydney R. Littlejohn & Co. Ltd. — which advertises, and this would match SRL.

    In 1962 they advertise ‘Fastcoat’, an enamel for metal printing; and ‘Graphicolor’ a massive colour camera.

    In July 1965 they advertise the ‘HPL Littlejohn Pin Register System’ the footer has two addresses — Equipment Division, Sydney R. Littljohn, Brewery Road, London, N7; and Chemicals and Sundries Division, Hunter-Penrose-Littlejohn, 109 Farringdon Road, London, EC1. Branches are shown in Manchester, Birmingham and Glasgow.

    While neither ad shows a proofing press, it does establish a firm with the initials SRL which presumably did link with Hunter-Penrose who made proofing presses.

  13. Eric Holub - October 23, 2007

    By 1905 Soldan (“Everything for the Printer” their motto) was already selling Lightning proof presses of a very advanced design. The simplest was like a Poco, but better models had grippers, feedboard, form and distribution rollers, etc., and got as large as 27×39.
    I don’t know why these presses never made it here.

  14. Paul Moxon, Moderator - October 22, 2007

    Perhaps. Soldan Ltd. is named as an importer of Vandercooks into England on the model serial number cards held by NA Graphics. Some cards also note that Soldan also assembled Vandercooks from shipped parts.

    Other than the image of the “Lightning proof press”:https://vandercookpress.info/soldan.html Eric gave me, I don’t have much information on Soldan. I have emailed contacts in the UK, but this has yet to yield a new lead.

    The next time I’m in Silverton, if time allows, I will look again at the Vandercook export data. I have compiled a list of 15 dealers in the US, Canada and Europe, but the are some discrepancies in it.

  15. Eric Holub - October 22, 2007

    The “S” might stand for Soldan, and the L for Ltd. but I have no idea what the “R” might be.

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