C&P Rider Rollers

All the conversation lately about Craftsman and Kluge rider roller setups has gotten me thinking. I have issues sometimes with less-than-optimal inking on my C&P New Style. I’ve found references in old magazines to C&P selling an add-on “vibrating riding roller” for their Gordon-style presses. I was wondering if a) anyone had any of these around still that might be available and/or b) if I might be able to get photos and dimensions of any surviving units to maybe one day recreate. It looks to be substantially similar to the Kluge rider roller.

Here’s a link to page 206 of volume 11 (1908) of “The Printing Art” on Google Books with the best illustrations I’ve found so far of C&P’s add-on roller setup.



Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

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There were third-party C&P distributors from Acme and Triumph, and even Vandercook filed a patent for one.
There is nothing more useful you can do to a C&P than add a dsitributor. It’s more valuable than a fountain.

For some reason I cannot access those pages in the book, or anything at all.
Edit: It was not available for my country I guess.
I got a friend to email it to me.
Great find, Mephits! Those are indeed some clear illustrations and I’m sure something can be furnished. I am very interested in having rider rollers.

Parallel_imp, thanks for the info about 3rd-party distributor rollers. I did a little digging and found the 1922 patent from Acme for their design. Very clear illustrations and specifically designed not to require modification of the existing saddles. I may just have to see if I can work up something “spit ‘n bailing wire” based on it. Enriquevw, the patent is US 1,559,855, which can be found via a Google Patents search or at the below link.


I’m thinking perhaps a section of large all-thread and a chunk of steel conduit pipe with fill-plates welded in and nuts in the centers of the fill plates to run on the all-thread might work as a start. Bent sheet stock clamps with spring-pin saddles for the distributor roller shouldn’t be too terribly hard to come up with, either. None of it needs to be incredibly precise. Hmm….

Maybe start with large washers welded to the conduit with nuts welded in the centers. The surface of the conduit would need to be ground smooth afterward, of course, and you’d have to be careful of the zinc coatings on everything. The question would be if you could get all-thread with a coarse enough thread pitch to get any real scrubbing movement across the inking rollers, but 1/2” coarse thread is 13 TPI and 3/4” coarse thread is 10 TPI, so that might work. It would be interesting to try, anyway.

Michael Hurley
Titivilus Press
Memphis, TN

Take a look at Fast-Travel Precision Acme Threaded Rods on www.mcmaster.com. A 3 foot length is about $28 and gives one inch of travel per revolution. You’d need to calculate your roller diameter and distance traveled to figure out how much lateral movement you’d get per cycle. They also have standard travel Acme threaded rod that gives 1/10 inch travel per revolution — might be more like what you need. And of course you need a pair of nuts for the rod for each rider roller.


Bob, that is an interesting option, but WOW are the fast-travel nuts expensive! The 1/2-8 1” travel 3 ft rod you mention is indeed about $28. The matching nuts are $33 each! That’s almost a hundred bucks just for one roller’s worth. Whoof.

I need to get out to my press and count how many revolutions the rollers make from top to bottom. One of the ads for C&P’s riding roller stated that it traveled 2” left to right and back again on each stroke. If I can get even half that, I think it would be OK. I think the rollers make about 5 or 6 complete revolutions from the top of the disc to the bottom of the rails so 4-6 turns per inch would probably work. Certainly the oscillating rollers in the offset presses at work don’t seem to need near so much side-to-side travel as that.

I’ve been looking through the other Acme threaded rods they have on McMaster-Carr and there’s a 3/4” with 5 turns per inch. Plus, I can get them in both right- and left-hand thread, so I could maybe do two distributor rollers oscillating in opposite directions. Even better, the nuts are 1 1/4” in outer diameter and nearly 3/4” thick. I bet I could fit them right into a chunk of 1 1/4 EMT conduit without any need for a fill-plate. Much better chance of accurate centering and I can probably get away with J.B. Weld or similar rather than welding so no heat distortion of the conduit.

The 3/4” rod is thicker than I’d initially intended, but it will definitely be stiff and give me plenty of thickness on the ends to square off for a spring-pin mounting. And it’s about a quarter to a third the price of the fast-travel at about $16 per 3” rod and about $5.25 per nut in plain steel. This is all assuming, of course, that 5 turns per inch would give me enough travel to work as an effective distributor. Must remember to check that on the press!

You can simply measure the roller or truck diameter and multiply times 3.1416 to get the distance traveled in one revolution. Then measure the distance from the point on the disc that the top roller contacts at max travel up, and the location of the same roller’s contact stripe at the bottom and divide that distance by the roller distance traveled from the above calculation, to get the number of revolutions from top to bottom. If the rollers are 2” diameter and the distance traveled is 24 inches you’d get just under 4 revolutions. The 1/10 inch per revolution rod only moves the oscillator about 4/10 of an inch laterally. The 1 inch rod moves it 4 inches; but the oscillator doesn’t need to be the same length as the form rollers; it could be about 3-1/2 inches less and still cover the forms.

To me the biggest problem with trying to weld the nuts to a flat washer and weld the flat washer to the tubing is getting it all exactly centered — if you don’t the oscillator will oscillate vertically as well as horizontally!


Truck diameter will be more accurate than roller diameter since that’s what’s actually running down the rails. There’s also the fact that often times the rollers are just slightly oversized compared to the trucks to allow the rollers to make clean contact with the forme. If I remember correctly, the trucks on an 8 x 12 C&P New Style are 1.5” in diameter, but I’ll measure one of mine to make sure. The procedure you outline is exactly what I intended to do. I’d already intended the oscillator rollers to be shorter than the forme rollers. There’s no point in the oscillators hanging off the ends of the forme rollers anyway. It just makes it easier for them to foul on the hooks.

That centering problem was one of my worries as well. See my comments above about fitting the 3/4”-5 nut into the end of the 1 1/4” EMT conduit which might well solve the problem entirely.

I’ve measured my trucks and the roller travel distance. The trucks are 1.485” in diameter (4.665” in circumference) and the travel distance is about 22.25”. That gives almost 5 full rotations of the former rollers in their travel. I think the 3/4-5 threaded rod will work.

The rollers made by Triumph and Acme were distributor rollers with slight lateral motion, an inch or so. This is very helpful but a more complicated design that requires the gear to slip when it reaches the end of travel in either direction. You could design something that moves laterally for the whole width of the roller, but then it would have a much narrower surface and therefore less coverage and roller edge-marks. Simple riders, which have no lateral motion can be useful in breaking up ghost images and for general coverage.
I made a set of riders for my Victoria out of pieces from the hardware store: rods, welding tubes, and some brass plumbing fittings. No lateral movement but that is already built into the press. I couldn’t print a reverse without these add-ons.

R.O. Vandercook wrote an article in one of the 1919 Inland printers about vibrator rollers and he subsequently designed and patented his idea as previously mentioned. I have his drawings in original blue print form and have looked at them several times wondering if they would actually work. I have not found anything that indicated Vandercook ever produced these for sale. The one I have for my 10 x 15 C&P was made by Triumph.


Parallel_imp, the patent I posted a link to above is one of the Acme patents. There’s no gearing in it, nor is there a need. The roller is not fixed to the core but instead spins on it. The core is threaded and the roller is like a nut on that threaded rod. As the roller arms pull the rollers down the rails, the threading pushes the distributor from one side to the other. When the rollers go back up, their rotation reverses, also causing the distributor to reverse. This reversal pushes the distributor back the other way again. Down goes one direction, up reverses it. Simple and robust. There are certainly more complex methods, but this one I can recreate very easily at home.

As to edge marks from the distributor, my forme rollers’ rubber is 13.75 inches wide. It’s an 8x12 press. That give me .875” of extra roller on each end outside the chase. I’m looking to get a bit under 1” of lateral travel (4.77 turns from top to bottom and a threaded shaft with 5 turns per inch). Any edge marks will be right at the edge of the chase in space invariably filled with at least reglet, if not furniture or quoins.

Fritz, that’s very interesting. I’d like to see those blueprints someday. Any plans to ever scan them?

The gear on the Acme vibrator I referred to, you might think of as a thread. But it is a gear, just linear rather than radial. It is this gear that gives the lateral motion, tlightly fixed so it slips at end of travel.