On 8/15/2010 10:32 AM, Randal Baier wrote:
> Well, Mike, speaking for all the jerks out here, I'd like to know the difference between the two. I certainly didn't catch that. Gee, I thought it was a cut, but I guess it was a slice.

They are two entirely different machines based on two entirely different 
principles.  They are as different as an inkjet printer is from a dot 
matrix printer is from a laser printer.   The program showed and 
described a mimeograph but the guy the showed at that point described a 
ditto, spirit duplicator, or hectograph.

The mimeograph was initially invented by Edison in conjunction with his 
electric pen, and was developed into its main form by A.B . Dick.  A wax 
paper stencil has the wax coating scraped or pressed away by a stylus or 
a typewriter, and the thick, goooey ink can seep thru the stencil to the 
paper where the wax was removed.  There is a cotton cloth-covered drum 
or holder that is soaked with the ink from the back, and the stencil is 
placed over it.  The ink STINKS with a HORRIBLE smell, not pleasant at 
all.  If you use a typewriter the ribbon is removed or the machine is 
put into the "stencil" position so the ribbon does not pop up.  You need 
to have the metal type hit and cut the stencil's wax coating.  Thousands 
of copies can be made if you are careful not to wrinkle or tear the 
stencil because you can re-ink the cotton backing from behind.  If you 
accidentally get ink on the front of the stencil by putting it on 
backwards you have ruined it.  The ink comes thru the back.

The ditto machine used a plain paper where a carbon ink paper is behind 
the paper.  You write or type on the front of the paper without cutting 
thru it -- use the typewriter ribbon in normal position -- the carbon 
ink gets deposited on the rear of the paper.  This stencil is then 
placed on a plain solid metal drum with the inked surface outwards.  (If 
you put it on backwards--no harm.  Just remove and put it on 
correctly.)  There is a container where a clear spirit solvent is 
poured.  This spirit fluid slightly dampens the printing paper which 
picks up the ink as it passes thru the machine.  Because the PAPER is 
dampened with the spirit solvant, it has that sweet smell for a few 
hours.  Only a hundred or so copies can be made before the carbon ink on 
the stencil gets used up.  While most of the carbon ink sheets are 
purple, there were about five or ten different colors available, and you 
can switch these carbon sheets and make a multi-colored stencil.  (You 
have to use different machines with different stencils if you want to 
have multi-colored mimeograph copies.  A separate stencil for each 
color, and usually a different machine because it takes a half hour to 
completely clean a machine!)

I hope this explains the differences.  I was ten years old when I was 
trained on these machines at our summer camp "newspaper", so they were 
not hard to master and to learn the differences.

Mike Biel  [log in to unmask]

> But I remember the mimeograph (ditto?) as a kind of instrument of S&M from high school -- being punished on a regular basic for various infractions such as having my shirt tail out or writing indignities on walls, I was often "detained" in the main office, assigned the task of helping the office staff with copying. The mixture of mimeo/ditto smells and overly-sweet perfumes was repulsive and attractive at the same time. Asst. Principal Johnson in his horned rimmed glasses and 10 women filing their nails and talking about Yvette Mimieux's latest conquest. Weird scenes inside the goldmine -- I was reading Henry Miller and 1984 in those years.
> So, yes, ditto that one .... it's all context, I suppose.
> Randal Baier
> ----- Original Message -----
> Leah just spotted a program on History International channel which
> will be repeated at 2 AM. It has a scene in a vinyl pressing plant, and
> now is discussing the typewriter and the mimeograph machine--with some
> jackass talking about blue fingers and the sweet smell. That's the
> DITTO machine you stupid excuse for a jerk. WHY do I ever think these
> programs are worthwhile. WHY?
> Mike Biel [log in to unmask]