In September 1909, Robert Vandercook founded Vandercook & Sons in Chicago, Illinois. The first press was a "rocker" proof press, made with a geared cylinder. Before the development of this press, all proofs were either made on a roller press, which depended on gravity for impression or on a Washington Hand Press.
Logo from 1968, right after being purchased by Illinois Tool Works.
During the next 54 years they introduced 60 different press models. Over the course of its 75 year production history, Vandercook manufactured more than 38,000 presses under its brand name. The name of Vandercook & Sons was used until 1968 when E.O. Vandercook sold the company to one of their suppliers, Illinois Tool Works.
The SP15, notable for its lightweight design, is a member of the "Simple Precision" series. It was specifically designed to print repro proofs from metal type forms on specially formulated paper, which were then used to make photo-litho plates for offset printing. It was also used for laboratory testing of ink and paper. Unlike earlier Vandercook models, the impression cylinder is automatically in print mode when at the feed board, thus there is no movement of the eccentric during the forward carriage travel unless it is manually shifted into trip mode. The SP15 features the "quick change" rollers introduced with the Universal series. The gripper bar (simpler and lighter than earlier models) is the same style found on later Universals. Power ink distribution and an automatic wash up unit was standard, but a non-motorized variant, with a hand wheel mounted on the front form roller, was also available. Maximum form: 14¾ × 20″; maximum sheet: 14 × 18″.