Challenge 15KA operator’s manual

I have recently come across a Challenge 15KA proof press that has laid dormant for decades. I want to clean it up and use it as the center-piece for workshops on designing and printing letterpress posters.

No operating manual came with the press and a quick search on-line did not yield one for this particular Model.

Does anybody know if one exists as a pdf file? Does anyone have one that can be photocopied? I would like to offer a few workshops this winter. Spring, summer and fall I am pulled in way too many other directions, but the bitter winters here in the Midwest drive me indoors, so winter is the season I can slow down enough to think about offering weekend workshops.

Any info would be appreciated.

Rick von Holdt
The Foolproof Press

Log in to reply   15 replies so far

Challenge is still in business and has PDFs for all or a lot of their manuals:

If that doesn’t work, I’ve got a manual that says it’s for a 15MA and 15MP. I don’t know what the difference is between that one and yours, and whether it would help you or not..

From the Challenge website:

If you scroll through the serial numbers there are other manuals available. You have to pick “Product Category” of Other and “Model Name” as Proof Press.


Thanks for the info, but neither link led me to an operator’s manual. The closest thing was the F.217.pdf but that turns out to be a Parts Manual only (despite benig listed as a parts AND operators manual).

The press is a Challenge 15KA, serial number 4166 and was manufactured in 1959.

I really need an operators manual to get started on my restoration/clean-up. Time is running short to be able to get this operational and still be able to offer some workshops with it this winter.


Have you posted your request on the Vandercook site? They deal with other brands as well.

Also, if you look on their site under “Other Brands,” there is a listing of Challenge owners, and it includes 15KAs. Maybe one of them could help you.

Thanks Geoffrey, I’ll give that a try.


If one reads through the F-217 manual it appears that the majority of the information you really need to operate/ adjust the press is included in the manual underneath each table.

What additional information are you looking for?

You may also want to look at the F-37 manual for the GP press. The information should be applicable minus automatically going on and off trip.


Thank you very much for pointing out that the operation manual is included underneath the parts displays.I don’t think I could have designed that to be less obvious if I had tried. I was looking for something more user-friendly for someone just starting out with this press.

This appears to be exactly what I am looking for as to understanding the workings of everything.

The press is not motorized so the inking system is hand cranked. I may end up just bypassing that and hand-braying the for from an inking table beside the press. Might be much easier to clean up than the inking system.

I can now begin the adventure.


Yes poorly designed and somewhat lacking in detail. I’m not sure what possessed them to lay it out that way. Hopefully it has all the information you need.

If you are only printing a handful of posters it is often easier to use the brayer. I’m not sure how the manual inking version is but I know the power inking version has quite a few rollers to clean up. Five of them if I remember correctly.


I also just acquired a 15KA. Any info that can be had would also be very helpful! Thanks for any help…


Print out the link posted by mgurzo (third from top above).

As stated above, the operating directions are tucked-in below the parts information. This is as close as I have come to finding any operating information.


Hi Rick… thanks for the tip! Do you have original specs on the rollers? Going to have mine recovered but fear they may no be in spec after all these years! Thanks!

No specs on the rollers. Here’s my take.

There are at least three rubber rollers as well as an oscillating polished roller involved. The 15KA Model is also a MANUAL inker. I have never dealt with this before, but it seems that if I have to go through all that effort, my plan would be to simply bypass all that hassle of cleaning all of those rollers and simply have a nice heavy duty brayer and inking table right next to the press to ink the forms and clean-up afterwards. I have been hand-braying a Poco proof press for decades, so this will seem ‘normal’ to me.



Did you ever locate a Challenge KA Manual? I have just purchased a KA with a 20 inch bed for Knox College. I have searched for a manual in vain, although I did find the Parts List on the Challenge Machinery web site.. If you now have found an Operator’s Manual would you scan it for me?


Hal Keiner ([email protected])

Hey guys,
I own a 2028KA and the specs of my rollers are:
Form: 20 1/2 x 3” (2)
Rider: 19 X 2 1/4”

I used the manual for rebuilding mine.