Thank you Selene, I hadn't checked this email yesterday. Sorry for assuming everyone knows Fritz on a first name basis! (well, I do assume/hope that 95% of US letterpress printers do!) He's Fritz Klinke who runs a business called NA Graphics which is a letterpress supply company based out of Colorado. He also possesses the official records and plans and spare parts and such leftover from when the Vandercook company closed- so he definately is the go-to person for Vandercook parts.
There are other vendors of 'generic' Heidelberg replacement parts (Doctor Blades, roller trucks, suction cups, etc), so check out your local printing supply business (even offset suppliers) before ordering from Heidelberg directly.
"> Katey - I understand your concern and trust me when I say I've seen
much to prove women were a dominant work force in the Printing world. I
have a book which backs up a website that states women were preferred
over men in the typesetting department because of their smaller, agile
fingers, as well as the fact they were more responsible since men were
often inebriated. I don't know what that's all about but it sounds good
to me. :)"
Printing has been notorious as a trade that attracts 'inebriates'... IIRC the whole goal of the playing of a dice-type game with quads (I thought it was called 'quoits' but when I Googled that it sounds more like a horseshoe type game with a 'goal'... Google says the quad game is called 'Jeffing' which I definitely haven't heard before.) was to determine who's turn it was to go out and get more beer! ('Quads' are the same as 'Em spaces' or 'Ems' which are a size of space that is equally wide as it is tall. Hence a quad in a font of 12 point type will be 12 points square, and a quad in a font of 30 point type will be 30 points square. They can be tossed and scored like dice because one side has a 'knick' which indicates which font it belongs to.)
But I digress... A month or so ago I had the pleasure of sitting in the library at the Museum of Printing and reading through a bunch of early Linotype Bulletins that Frank Romano had printed out from Google Books. In the 'jobs wanted' section there definitely were ads that included mention that the job-seeker was 'sober'! Also a small but steady stream of women seeking employment.
Also in regards to dress- the staff of the composing room would definitely be better dressed than the staff in the pressroom. They would come to work in suits and then remove their jackets and roll up their sleeves to have better freedom of movement, so imagine a room full of men in middling quality suit pants and shirts and ties, and women in shirtwaists and tweed skirts (though the ladies would not have been allowed to roll up their sleeves due to wacko Victorian era social rules). I recently came across a sweet little home made stick-pin made out of Linotype matrix in a box of correspondence that belonged to a female Linotype operator/proofreader in the 1910s.
ps: final random thought- did you know that Carrie Ignalls (from the Little House books) worked as a typesetter before she married?