Copy and paste dating
This technology continued to be important through most of the nineteenth century.
Offices employed copy clerks, also known as copyists, scribes, and scriveners, men who typically stood, or sat on high stools, while working at tall slant-top desks.
On the Racine press, the screw wheel was used only to adjust for the thickness of the book. By the late 1870s, an improved method for moistening pages in copying books had been invented, and by the late 1880s it had been widely adopted.
Rather than using a brush or damper to wet the tissues, the clerk inserted a thin moist cloth or pad between each oil paper and the following tissue.
In that case, he (copying clerks were men) would insert a sheet of oiled paper into the copying book in front of the first tissue on which he wanted to make a copy of a letter.
Suppose the clerk wanted to copy 20 one-page letters.
Alternatively, the office could organize its correspondence by client, which avoided indexing but made it necessary to use numerous copying books on a given day.
Although copies could be made up to twenty-four hours after a letter was written, copies made within a few hours were best.
The damper had a reservoir for water that wet a cloth, and the clerk wiped the cloth over the tissues on which copies were to be made.
(See Plate 5A) As an alternative method of dampening the tissue paper, in 1860 Cutter, Tower & Co., Boston, advertised Lynch's patent paper moistener (Plate 5B) with the claim that "it does away with the use of the brush, wet cloths and dipping bowls, and dampens the paper sufficiently by a single roll of the machine." Next, letters were written with special copying ink, which was not blotted.