Monday, August 08, 2011

Aug. 8, 1876: The birth of the mimeograph machine

If you are of a certain age I am positive you can at this moment smell mimeograph ink. Mimeographs were everywhere before there were "Xerox" machines. You typed a document onto a stencil, mounted it to a drum, spun a handle (or flipped a switch if you had the deluxe model) and copies of your document squirted our with the fragrant ink still wet on the paper.

I had no idea Thomas Edison invented the machine! There is a great little article over at Wired.

From the article:
Before the inkjet printer, before the laser printer, before the dot-matrix printer, before the photocopier, there came the mimeograph machine. They were everywhere — in schools, offices and the military.

If you needed just a few copies of a document, you used carbon paper. If you needed thousands (and had the time and the budget), you could send it to a print shop for typesetting and publication.

But if you needed something in between, say 30 copies for a classroom handout (or test!) or 500 or 1,000 for a church bulletin or incendiary revolutionary poster, you had the mimeograph.

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