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That is a beautiful proof press, where ever did you find it? Here is a paste job from an earlier comment on Briar that relates to this FAG.
A couple of things - There is a FAG proofing press at my place of work, which needs to be brought back into commission as it has been standing idle for some time. Anyone know of a service engineer who could do this on site?

Also I need to have some tuition on using a Heidelberg Platen. (This machine probably needs a service too!)

I’m in England, specifically Luton and the machines are in Central London.

Any suggestions gratefully received!

Helen I.

Helen Ingham MA CSM, Hi-Artz Press, PO Box 927, Luton LU1 5ZF, England. T:01582 419355 M:07980 464994
A member of the BPS and Association of Illustrators

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james bourlandon 3 May 07 (11:34)
What kind of a F.A.G. is it. Offset? Letterpress? they made many different kinds.
The company is in switzerland I believe.I ran a 40” offset for 10 years doing
fine art prints.The machine I ran was a superfine printer although it did have
electrical issues as it aged.

tigersevenfiftyon 3 May 07 (14:41)
It’s a FAG Control 405 proof press, very similar to a Vandercook SP15, but more highly engineered from what I can remember from the Vandercooks I’ve used.

I apolgize now to Gerald, Winking CP, and anyone else I could/would offend….blame it on the artifical colors & flavors in the gummy rollers….but I do have something available for FAG control. If anyone is interested just let me know.

Thanks wildmh2000, it’s near Milano - Italy. I live in Turin, not so far. I would like to have a look at the istrution boolet, does anyone know where i can get it??



FAG still make presses and recondition and sell older machines:

You might be able to get a copy of a manual from them.

From the photo the machine looks in good condition but you might want to see it in operation before you buy.

Buy it straight away!

F.A.G. does provide manuals for their discontinued models. A friend of mine bought one of their reconditioned presses. Incredible presses. They shame Vandercooks. They even provided him with a video of its operation.


Cool. The chase is horizontal to the cylinder, instead of the vertical chase in Vandercooks. That makes a difference as the paper ”grippers” better. Means it works better. How about exporting them over here?

Nice legs on your web site. Cheers!

Hi HD-Tiegel,
Thanks for your post, but i dont understand what are you taking about! I’m a beginner! Sorry. Would you be more clarify?


On the Vandercook presses, the cylinder is narrow, and the bed is long. On the FAG that you intend to buy (or have bought I hope) the cylinder is wide and the bed short.

Or to put it another way, the FAG has the gripper edge parallel to the long side of the bed, as production cylinder presses do (or landscape mode on your computer’s printer). Most Vandercooks have the gripper edge on the short side of the bed.
Working a maximum sheet and form, the Vandercook requires you to feed to the short edge, and that can lead to registration problems.

Now it’s rearly about the gripper edge.
A new problem or paranoid-if you want!
I sent an email to asking for information about it, especially the weight and the size. They have been really kind. They sent me all the technical specifications about all the fag presses: S 40, S 52, C 405, C 525 MRS and C 900.
Now - What’s mine? (I mean, the one I wanna buy?)
That press doesn’t have any numbers, it’s just called FAG Control. I’ll post a zoom where you can see the tag.
OK, maybe it can be like the C-900 but it’s Handcranked.
Can someone estimate the weight?
Thanks to everyone is following my nightmare!!

As gravemaker said, it is a great advantage compared to a vertical Vandercook.

What I mean is the chase is paralell to the position of the cylinder. So the paper is “grabed” wide in relation to the form (the chase) and the cylinder. That allows for better control of the paper. That is good.

This press “grabs” the paper by its wider side and that makes your job easier and better control of the paper. I think who designed this machine really knew how people print and all the little problems that goes with it.

Looking at the chase and that imposition (can you see that long solitaire slug?) it would be a suicide to run it the way it is imposed on a moving bed of a cylinder press. The movement of the bed would shoot slugs all over the place.
In this press it is not a problem as the chase doesn’t move.

Anyhow, you should consider yourself very lucky for finding this (proof) press.

“Now - What’s mine?”

As you have information about various models, maybe the key is to measure the size of the bed, then compare with the info you have, until you find a match. That should be a reference.

As for weight, I have no clue but I would say this thing is very very heavy and you will need specialized transportation.

Sorry I can’t be of more help other then my impression that this is a very good looking ( proof) press.

I’m not so sure about the idea of a proof press designed to print lines of text that are not parallel to the rollers and cylinders. This looks like a calendar proof press to me, similar to SP-25s (which were wide and short relative to their cousins. I’ve had occasion to visit a couple of printing plants that specialized in calendar printing (in the old days) and they always seemed to have SP-25s for proofing (and running the text parallel to the rollers).


could it be its was used for large offset plate proofing? granted the plate would be on a vacuum base or otherwise

Gerald, it doesn’t always follow that running the sheet long side to the grippers means that the type will run perpendicular. What about a two-page form or an eight-page form?
Of course with individual types you want them parallel to the cylinder so they don’t go off their feet. With linecast type, running it perpendicular to the cylinder is the preferred orientation, also to keep the slugs on their feet. With plates either way works.
The Vandercook SP-25 and the 325 are indeed the same length as the smaller SP-20 and the 320, with 5” added to width, but are still longer than they are wide, and so still follow the general plan of Vandercooks: proofing of single-page forms in vertical format. These two mid-size presses accomodate a news page with stereotype chase, and calendars could fit easily into the same format.
The horizontal format of the FAG shown could be to proof whole press-forms for small cylinders like the Heidelberg KS or Nebiolo or Albert (which like all production presses feeed to the long edge of the sheet), or to proof such standing forms for conversion to offset. Lots of SPs were used just to proof standing letterpress forms for offset use.


No disagreement here. Just thought I throw out another possibility that may not have been considered.


I have always thought one of the weaknesses of a Vandercook was the width vs. the length of the bed. I’m sure they were originally formulated to proof a newspaper page or a section of a flatbed press’ form. It makes so much more sense to have a proof press that mimics the set up for a flatbed press and the ability to proof on a sheet with the same grain as that going through a production press.



Yeah, the width vs. length thing does not seem to make sense in terms of contemporary practice. I assume it did though during the production years of letterpress. I doubt that grain would have been a consideration as proofing presses were just that and had nothing to do with the actual paper used for production.


True, grain probably wasn’t a consideration, and proofing on newsprint or some coated stock probably didn’t even come close to the finished product. It is a shame that so many really nice production presses are being (or already have been) junked, and it’s the proofing presses that survive and keep high prices. I’d rather have a Heidelberg cylinder any day.


Inking is the other considreation. How often have you needed to double-roll a form on your Vandrcook? The FAG appears to have a similar roller arrangement, but with shorter form there would be less tendency to ink starvation. That was not such a problem with repro or news proofs; today, printing a cotton paper dry, that is a real weakness of Vandercooks if you are using them to their full capacity, and not as a proofing press.
No doubt that is why Gerald, and the Allens before him, advocated hand-inking on a Vandercook.

I ran posters for years on Vandercooks, first on a Universal 1, and next on a SP-20. I could print the poster backgrounds (usually 13” x 21” up to 16” x 21” on the SP-20) easily, but would only get 6 impressions before I had to re-ink. Depending on type coverage, I could usually run 12 to 24 impressions before re-inking. It took one hour to print 100 posters, I could never vary that time (unless problems caused it to take longer). The big problem with a Vandercook ink system is that the same amount covers the entire roller, which makes it very difficult for book printing if you have unequal type coverage.[email protected]/sets/72157623327595013/


That certainly seems to be how everybody does showcard work now, but places like Horwinski or Hatch used to do much of their work on Miehle flatbeds, did they not? That is, before designers replaced pressmen on the shop floor. Whether hand- or auto-feed, a Miehle flatbed is a press with ink fountain, good distribution, and from two to four form rollers, so inking capacity was not a problem.
Alas, most of the showcard work I see put up here in SF now is from LA and done by silkscreen.

Horwinski has one of two Miehles bought after they re-located to Oakland after the 1906 earthquake, it’s still in use last time I checked. When I went to work at Hatch we still used the large Babcock, but after I took the cover off the main gear and discovered that a third of the teeth were missing or brazed back on, we decided to get a Miehle 29 sheetfed. It was a beautiful press, you could have eaten off of it; not so much anymore. I saw a video not too long ago, and it was hard to even recognize it. I don’t think Sherraden has ever learned to run it. The Miehle Pony I had was one of the best presses I ever ran in my life. I would take it over any press, Vandercook, Heidelberg… anything (except my Washington and Albion). I ran it by myself most of the time, but it was really a two person press.



I don’t know that I’ve advocated hand inking on a Vandercook. (?) Takes a bit of a skill set for that. Beyond my tolerances these days.

I’ve got a little SP-15 that has been balanced very well along the entire bed and it carries the ink load quite well. Quite lucky in that regard. (Most of my work is done on that). Doesn’t require much attention but I likely just happenstance have everything the way it should be. I use Bunting Bases, steel-backed Toyobo plates, brass roller supports, the best inks I can afford, keep the rollers up to date, correct packing, etc. I’m a very happy camper with the set up. After teaching at schools where the Vandercooks are essentially in torture chambers, it brings tears to my eyes whenever I get her ready to print. It is, of course, a limited setup. I only do “interesting” projects these days. A bit of a luxury.

Something recent (the Claudius Fraktur project):
which just sort of happened along and involved a number of folks (they call that “collaboration” in the book arts world!). It kicked my butt a bit more than I would have expected but seemingly worked out well.

Wish I would have picked up a Heidelberg cylinder years ago though.


That’s a beautiful broadside Gerald. I was lucky to find a small font of 14pkt Claudius (without accents). Not enough to do much, but now I can use that 15pt spacing I’ve been hanging onto for so many years.


Gerald, I apologize. I misunderstood or misremembered or dreamt something from the other lists, where Vandercook inking problems and roller bearers are a recurring theme. You understand my lumping you with the Allens is far from an insult.
I took it as another technique to get complete control over the process. The possibilites for that are endless.

Yep, I have seen the Fraktur broadside. Nice job. As I don’t have an account over there you be missing my comment there as well as any reading.

Thanks for the paralell correction. I haven’t seen it… while writing it —after eleven hours of work, 5 printing and seven emailing to a bunch of people… one end up really interested …
Thank God I haven’t had any phone calls that day.

I had FAG Control 900 (I think - it was enormous) about twenty five years ago, and its roller height adjustment was a constant problem; the rollers wouldn’t stay at a constant height. So in exasperation I traded it in and bought another FAG, slightly smaller, but that had different problems and I moved on to a Heidelberg Cylinder! So just make sure it’s in very good, working order.

I am an artist and lithographic printer and I have a very fine FAG 76 x 54 offset proof printing press for sale, as well as a Mailänder flatbed that I have used for stone. I also have a lot of stones i various sizes. Since I am closing down my workshop, I would like to get my equipment taken care of by a lithographer or an artist. I am grateful for all kinds of suggestions.