12.4 / Presses & Equipment

1957 / No. 4 Proof Press
Bed: 15″ × 35″

(From 1950 Vandercook and 1953 WNU catalogues:)
Maximum sheet: 14¾” × 20″
Maximum form: 14″ × 18″
Floor space: 2’2″ × 6’6″
Weight: 1100 lb

I Bought this Press in 1996 from George at Mouldtype in Leyland, Preston. I had received what was known as ‘A setting-up Grant’ from the Crafts Council — where they offered 50% of the cost of equipment. It has been at the centre of my workshop for nearly thirty years.

At the time I had a space in Cable Street Studios in the docklands that I shared with Laurence Houghton. ‘Howie’ & I drove to Preston & back in a day in cheap old Luton hire van that wouldn’t go above 50MPH . . .

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For reproduction and test proofs. Power ink distribution, type high bed, travelling sheet delivery tray. Optional split vibrator and riders.

(From 1957 Vandercook catalog:)
“Over 5000 in use today … Now also suitable for producing fine transparent proofs by equipping it with the transparency feeding equipment. ” Vandercook introduced the Handy Lockup Bar.

1958 / Universal Series / 1958—76 / I / II / III / IV / V

No. Universal IV
7/29/60 SN: 20186 – 1/15/69 SN: 28185
Maximum sheet: 32-7/8″ × 29½”.

(From 1968 Vandercook catalogue)
“The wide range of optional equipment offered enables the presses to be equipped or ‘customized’ for your specific requirements — from manual to complete power operation.” Power driven inking and automatic wash-up are standard. Optional automatic delivery, ink monitor (on the I and III), variable-speed power cylinder, power grippers “for short run work”, adjustable bed — accurate to within .0002″, automatic register and vacuum plate bases, ink fountain, automatic frisket.

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Harold Sterne comments:
The Universal series were quite popular with the paper mills for testing paper. There was a company in New England that made special attachments for those presses. At one time when they couldn’t find anymore Universals they asked us if we could have them built from our blueprints. We contacted a machine company in Cincinnati that had experience building presses and they wanted $50,000 each to build them in lots of 10. Could find no takers.