Type High v. Galley High Presses

Can someone explain why some Vandercook presses are type high (.918) and some are galley high (.968). Were they intended for different uses?


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The printing industry needed proofs at many stages from composing room to press room.
.968” presses were intended to print from type on galleys (or composing sticks). No need to move the form off the galley, no need to lock up. This is in general rough proofing. It saved a LOT of time.
.918” presses could do the various preliminary proofs too if you slid the form onto the bed, but could also do reproduction proofs of high quality.
The adjustable bed presses were mostly sold to photengravers, who worked with more variations in height than other segments of the trade.

Very helpful still, in 2018! Thank you!

These days a .968” bed press can be adopted with a bed plate to become .918” high- for those who do not know, a piece of cold rolled .050” thick steel will do the job. The more precise/higher grade you can order, the better.
One simply measures their entire press bed bearer to bearer, head to deadline, and makes an accurate drawing of it- gives these specs to a steel fabricator- and orders a sheet to slide into/drop into the bed.

This is approximately the same thickness as most Galleys used for storing forms between printing and composing as mentioned above by knowledgable parallel_imp.

If a person prints from photopolymer plates, it may be advantageous to get a plate base made .050 thicker than standard and work directly off of the .968 bed. Doing this, they will also want to have a .968 roller setting gauge.


Author, We own and still use a proof press from Yesteryear, i.e. slightly unique, (have not seen reference to similar in recent Yrs.)

It is equipped with Bearer Rails that actually slide Up & Down, on 3 per side *PEGS* located in the Bed proper, which give rise and fall to the Rails AND the self inking Ink Train, plus the Impression Cylinder.

A hand-wheel with micrometer thread, acts on a cross member directly connected the the Bearer Rails, gives the ability to bring the Imp. Cylinder >down< to Type or Image material straight onto the bed, or >up< to Type or Image material, on Standard galley or Bed Plate. +/- several thou” in both cases.

As we might observe, (U.K.) would probably Not trade it for *All the Tea in China* OR (U.S.) *All the Tea, dumped in the Harbour @ The Boston Tea Party*

Happy Xmas. to All. Mick.

Fritz at NA Graphics sells galley plates for Vandercooks (and the Challenge clones) - already the right size and thickness. I bought one and dropped in and haven’t taken it up.