Vintage tech

Vintage tech: Ditto machine

Ditto machineThis month’s Vintage Tech delves into the occasionally overlooked office equipment space.

Before printers, copiers – and well before scanners that can digitise thousands of sheets of paper onto a flash drive the size of a stick of gum – there was the humble, albeit massively clunky, Ditto machine. Originally produced by the Illinois-based Ditto Corporation in 1923, the Ditto Machine transferred ink on to a master copy made of wax paper. Then, an alcohol-based fluid was applied to transfer the ink

Originally produced by the Illinois-based Ditto Corporation in 1923, the Ditto Machine transferred ink on to a master copy made of wax paper. Then, an alcohol-based fluid was applied to transfer the ink on another sheet of paper to make a copy. Few of us remember the waxy, smelly, purpled-inked copies spat out by Ditto machines, but those that do were thankful for the rise of the photocopier. The victim of new technology, the Ditto’s sales tanked in the 1970s and by 1990 were largely banished to the basements of rundown schools and community centres.

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