I recently rediscovered what appears to be all that Vandercook put out as a manual for the 317 model. There are several still in use so I scanned the sheet and put it on flickr:
and as time permits, I’ll add more material on Vandercooks that I scan from the original Vandercook files and records.
Well, golly. Be involved in something for almost 60 years and some of it is bound to rub off. My situation is one of arrested development. I became fascinated in letterpress and when I trooped off to college to study printing, much to my horror, the emphasis had shifted to teaching offset and related photomechanical processes. I had to adapt to the rapidly changing scene, but didn’t like it. I made my professional years go by working with all the offset crap, but would sneak in whatever letterpress work I could. As an estimator, I was given a lot of the junk jobs to work on and I turned most of them into letterpress jobs that would otherwise have been lost to offset as we still had a very viable letterpress department, geared towards election printing.
But that was all falling apart in the 1960s when I did an exit from the commercial world and moved to the mountains–to a town with a letterpress printed weekly newspaper and job shop, and even the local railroad used steam engines. Since 1970, I have lived in a self-induced time warp that has been very comfortable, though annoying things like computers and the internet have drilled into my sense of well being. All these years I maintained my own letterpress shop started when I was 13, and except for the stuff I destroyed through use or by accident, I still have my first press and font of type from Kelsey, and everything else. I could have remained content with that situation, but no, I responded to one of Hal Sterne’s first ads for NA Graphics and that lead to the purchase of his company in 1996 and its removal to Silverton. That put me on square one as I now had to answer questions and come up with product. I had been a user of Vandercooks, but never paid attention to the mechanics or maintenance. The first question thrown at me about a Vandercook question puzzled me as my reaction was something like “these things break?” Now going on 18 years in the supply business and I admit that I am still learning. Paul Moxon can attest that the reading material in my guest bedroom is a stack of Inland Printers, as why would anyone want to read anything else?
One side benefit of being in the supply business is never running out of line gauges–they are all over the place.
thanks for sharing all you know about vandercooks and letterpresses more generally. You are a true resource (and treasure) for all those who are interested in preserving real presses and the printing process!