About Me

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Delta, British Columbia, Canada
I took very early retirement from teaching in '06 and did some traveling in Europe and the UK before settling down to do some private tutoring. As a voracious reader, I have many books waiting in line for me to read. Tell me I shouldn't read something, and I will. I'm a happy, optimistic person and I love to travel and through that believe that life can be a continuous learning experience. I'm looking forward to traveling more some day. I enjoy walking, cycling, water aerobics & and sports like tennis, volleyball, and fastpitch/baseball. I'm just getting into photography as a hobby and I'm enjoying learning all the bits and bobs of my digital camera. My family is everything to me and I'm delighted to be the mother of two girls and the Gramma of a boy and a girl. I may be a Gramma, but I'm at heart just a girl who wants to have fun.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

X is for XEROX

How many of you are willing to admit you remember the days of the old mimeograph machines that spat out copies in purple ink?  Well, I must admit I not only remember them, but also used them for my first years of teaching.  And I actually still have a copy of a French exercise that I made up way back in those dark ages!  Recently, I learned that "the mimeograph can be traced to inventor Thomas Edison, who patented a stencil duplicator called “autographic printing.” Albert Blake Dick invented the mimeograph in 1884, and Wilhelm Ritzerfeld gave us the ditto machine in 1923."  (Remembering the Ditto and Mimeograph - by Harmon Jolley)
The mimeo was made by typing a document on a wax-covered stencil with the typewriter ribbon disengaged.  The impressions left on the paper were then filled with ink when squeezed through the mimeograph's rollers.  And the smell that came from the ditto machine’s duplicating fluid, a mix of methanol and isopropanol, was really strong when the paper was hot off the press!  And I don't know why, but the colour was always purple... anyone know why? 
Nowadays, printers are usually referred to as "Xerox" machines after the company that was founded in 1906 to manufacture photographic paper and equipment developed a new product for printing images using an electrically charged drum and dry powder "toner."  The word "Xerox" comes from the Greek meaning "dry writing." 

We've come a long way since those early days of duplicating what we write!  But looking at the following photo, it is now apparent to me why we were always calling the copier repairman!
And now modern machines do double-sided, enlarge or minimize, collate, staple and more!  I think I'd need another degree in "Machine Management" to be able to work one of them!

After this week, there are only two more weeks for Round 14 so we're eXcited to see how many of our new (or old - and I don't mean that in age!) contributors might like to join in the fun of being on the eXcellent team that visits 10 posts per week.  I'm sure you already do that anyway, but it's always eXtra fun to meet others on ABC Wednesday.  We do count on your help in keeping this eXciting weekly blog spot a place to eXhibit your writing and photography!  Please contact the eXtraordinary Roger, our administrator, to let him know and he'll eXplain the duties further.  Also, thanks to the eXceptional Mrs. Nesbitt, who created ABC Wednesday over 7 years ago!

22 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Copy that!

ROG, ABCW

Trubes said...

Leslie I do remember the Rank X erox rep coming to the bank where I worked to sort out the mess we always managed to make...then I was only 18..lol Di..xx

MERYL JAFFE, PhD - parent, psychologist, teacher, author... said...

Brings back memories of purple fingers too!

Hildred said...

Oh yes, and the Gestetnor. I used to type 12 copies of meeting minutes on onion skin - and didn't ever want to make a mistake! Duplicating is much easier now!

ellen b. said...

Xerox is embedded in my head for sure whenever I think of copies!
We have lived through some amazing inventions!

Susan Moore said...

I do remember the mimeograph and the purple ink! We've seen a lot of changes in technology over the years :)

K V V S MURTHY said...

Wow...such a useful story on Xerox machine..!

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

I hate to admit it, but during the first couple of years I taught we had a mimeograph machine. I remember ruining a tie with that purple stuff too - LOL! We've come a long way, haven't we?

Beloo Mehra said...

That's an interesting history lesson on Xerox. I remember the old photo-copying machine, here in India the ink was black and the way it smudged....thank god those days are over :)

AmitAag said...

Very interesting...but I remember having received a legal notice from the German Co's agents in India to remove the word 'xerox' from my website and replace it with 'photocopy' in keeping with the copyright act. Obviously, I promptly did so wondering how do they handle innumerable job workers on streets who conspicuously mention 'xerox' on their signboards!!

Reader Wil said...

I have a photocopier that looks like the top of the most modern of the printers on the photos. Still it is a complicated machine, but useful, for I printed much reading material for my students, when I taught English.
Wil, ABCW Team.

magiceye said...

Very interesting to read the history of Xerox!

Hazel Ceej said...

I copy! and remember those mimeo thingies of old. (The photocopy machine in our office is acting up this week).

Lmkazmierczak said...

So informative....been absent from this meme, thank for commenting on my effort♪

Ann said...

In 1965 I was a senior in high school and I was an office assistant for a credit hour. How I remember these old mimeograph machines--I had this I think 2nd hour and I was purple the rest of the day!! We have come a long way.
Ann

Joy said...

Oh yes I fought with many a xerox throughout my working life, including the blue ink. We were once given a huge beast of a xerox which was a cast off from the printing department. If the paper got trapped it used to smoulder and almost catch fire. The chief librarian found a use for its heat and occasionally warmed his lunch time meat and potato pie on the 'plate' inside. Ah the days before health and safety, LOL.

Nana Jo said...

Oh, what a fun post! It brings back such memories. I remember those smudged purply copies so well ... and the smell ... and that slightly damp feel of freshly Xeroxed paper!

Tina Basu said...

Such a fun post, here we call all copiers Xerox!!!
Tina from The Sunny Side of Life

Black Jack's Carol said...

I don't mind admitting at all that I used the mimeograph for more than my first few teaching years. This was interesting and brought back memories too. I don't know why purple was the most usual colour. I remember that we had a choice to use red and it seems to me there was even a green option at one point. None of the teachers liked red. Too many conflicts with red pens. Funny to see those students smelling the papers. Mine used to do that as well.

jeannettestgermain said...

Sorry so late (Mon-Wed. are my busiest days). Yes, I remember the Xerox very well! My copier now, a small size Canon 600 does the double size, and even prints pics for me on glossy photo paper.

retriever said...

Very interesting Leslie,
happy summer, greeting from Belgium

Liz Hinds said...

I remember the purple mimeos! And isn't ditto machine a great name for a copier?