Replacement Motor for Vandercook #4

My Vandercook #4 needs a new motor. The motor that was on it is not the original. I took it to a repair shop they told me it was cost prohibitive to repair. I took the motor to Grainger to see if they could find a match and they couldn’t.

My press was built in 1941 or 1942.
Serial number: 9349

Here are the specs for the GE motor that was on my press:
1140 rpm
110v single phase
1/6 horsepower
no capacitor

The frame size is not listed on the nameplate, which is making it difficult to find an exact match.

Does anyone know the frame size of the original motor?
Or if there’s a new motor that would be an exact match?
Or if there’s a compatible motor that I can use if I can make work by having an adapter mounting plate made?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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Comparing it to mine, I think this is a winner right here:

Although, I overlooked that your press is from 1942. Mine is from 1960, so it may be different. Sorry.

Several manufacturers made motors for Vandercooks including Dayton now owned by Grainger.
The hp (and input rpm) on No.4 motors varied from 1/6, 1/4, 3/4. See this Dayton Grainger motor:
You may also need a mounting plate.

I am developing a motor data table for Vandercooks and other proof presses.

Christine, Just a few generalisations as relevant to U.K. at least (Knowing and fully expecting that I will be shot down and taken to task for having the audacity to offer my humble efforts first)>>Follows:->>UNLESS there is an actual physical restriction to the amount of space for the motor to occupy, most everything else for replacement would seem to be negotiable variables. >The base plate is usually steel or cast iron and if it has not been already, can be redrilled and tapped (threaded) to accomodate modern metric foot mounts, alternatively an adaptor plate drilled to the configuration of the original motor, and re tapped to modern spec is at best, or worst, average handyman/woman capabilities!!!>>Frame size is (I believe) a technicality that governs 2 pole or 4 pole which in turn determines the speed i.e. (U.K.) 1425 or 2,800 r.p.m. As your rated speed is 1140 and may be obsolete,by now, and assuming your machine is driven with a “V” belt at A or B section, utilising a motor of 10,-15,% more power would be no inconvenience, i.e. 1/4 or 1/3 H.P.(maybe 10 cents a month more consumption). >>Again if exact original speed is not matched, but considered essential!! and assuming “V” belt operation is used, Here, we would fit a slightly different size pulley, via simple maths, to match original required press speed. My efforts and post are against the background of what happens here (U.K.) But my implications are that, you are not governed by rules set in stone!!! especially from those with vested interest??>>My best crude effort***…Good Luck Mick

Hi Everyone,

Thanks for chiming in. I’m wondering if the configuration (motor and pulley sizes) on my press are even the original and don’t want to risk damaging the speed reducer. I can figure out a new motor but need a little help. I can figure this out fairly easily with available online calculators.
If anyone could get the following information I think I can make a more educated selection.

1) RPM’s and HP of motor (other Vandercook 4’s have)
2) Diameter of drive pulley (attached to motor. Part MA-3 or MA-5, looks there were two sizes dependent on motor rpms)
3) Diameter of driven pulley (attached to speed reducer. Part MA-4)
4) Center distance between the two shafts.

Either English or Metric dimensions work.

Thanks Again,

We replaced the motor on our #4 (s/n 8655) with a Century C199; 1/4 hp;1725 rpm motor. The pulley on the motor is for a flat belt (rather than a V-belt) with a diam of about 1.25”.


I pulled a new MA-5 pulley out of stock and it measures 1.290” at the crown (middle) and 1.259: on the two outer edges by 1.500” long and bored for a motor shaft of 5/8”. The MA-4 pulley is 6” in diameter with a .031” crown by 1.500” wide.

The distance between the motor and the speed reducer pulley is adjusted using the four X-13879 adjusting screws and those have a threaded length of 3” (newer version, 2.500” on the original version). Using the MM-144 drive belt, still available new, the distance between driving shafts has some leeway for adjustment.

Vandercook did not specify motor brand on any of its drawings and used stock, off the shelf motors for both speeds, and these motors changed over the years. I suggest using a 1/4 hp 1725 rpm motor with a 5/8” shaft, or if that shaft size is not available, a shaft sleeve can be used if needed.

The assembly print I am looking at is dated 7/21/54. There was a proposal to replace the speed reducer with the same basic setup as the SP-15 using a gear motor to drive the ink drum chain, but the #4 was discontinued before that took place.