Challenge 15MA vs 15MP

Hi: I am in the process of acquiring a Challenge proof press. It is partly disassembled and I don’t see the hand wheel on the front form roller, which would indicate it is an MA. Can anyone explain the difference between the manual and power inking? I mean in functionality. What does the operator and the press do differently on these two models?

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On the MA ink is distributed by turning the hand wheel. On the MP ink is distributed by a 1/12 hp electric motor with a gear box that drive a belt connected to an ink drum under the carriage and which contacts the rear form roller. Challenge also made the MPC with both power ink distribution and a power driven carriage, but I’m not aware of any in operation.


Two of the more highly regarded printers, Claire Van Vliet and Walter Hamady, chose the Vandercook SP15 with manual inking and have done remarkable work throughout their careers. A manual inked press does give the operator far more control over the inking. I was taught on a manual inked press and I have used similar techniques with power operated presses.

Most Vandercooks, at least the type that have survived, were proof presses, not really intended for edition work. But with great care they can produce extremely fine printing. Note that these presses were not meant for speed and there is no reason to expect that from them. They were built for exacting reproduction, Challenge as well. That is a cue.


Thanks very much for your comments and explanations, most appreciated. Paul it is definitely not an MPC. I am hoping it is an MA. Will see the bits and bobs to tell soon.
Gerald, I have a full appreciation for your comments.
I am not new to proof presses or printing really slowly. I have a 1931 Vandercook that I have engineered a register system and a hand inking system for. I am very pleased with the quality of the work but it is PAINFULLY slow. I am hoping this press when put into service will be a substantial increase in speed. I am fussy though and it sounds to me that the MA is the route I will want to go. If it is the power inking, I will find a way to convert it.
It’s just that I had a 1000 two color covers to print and even though I have a very high tolerance for repetition, it was a little bit much. The client is coming back with another similar job this spring.
Thanks again,

It should be obvious which model you have - there will be an electric motor and inking drum if its a MP and missing if its a MA.

If u want a 15MA (manual inking), you may be able to convert a 15MP. A power inking version of a vandercook SP 15 can be converted. I had a manual inking SP 15 that i was able to convert to power inking - acquired the parts from NA Graphics.

To convert to manual printing, you would need to disengage the power ink drum an install a handle on the end of the front roller. You should be able to find a handle a local industrial supply store or from Grizzly .com or other sources on the web.

About 1.5 yrs ago, i posted a story about my conversion and commented about how you could go the other way.


Excellent, thanks LD. There is a cord, so, there must be a motor in there somewhere and there is an inking drum visible on the chassis. I am anxious to get all the parts…
I have attached a picture of the frame.


image: DSCN03402.jpg


you have the power inking drum - so its a MP - just a question if all the parts including the motor are there

have fun putting the press back together