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The copying clerk arranged the portion of the letter book to be used in the following sequence starting from the front: a sheet of oiled paper, then a sheet of letter book tissue, then a letter placed face up against the back of the tissue on which the copy was to be made, then another oiled paper, Finally, “Close the book, put it into the press, and screw tightly down, letting it remain a minute or two under pressure, when the copy will be properly taken, and may be dried with blotting paper, or held near the fire.” Based on experience, the clerk could adjust the press time.If he made a copy soon after a letter was written, only a second or two was needed to make a good impression.Jo Anne Yates reports that "the Du Pont Company continued to use hand copy books through at least 1857." ( century, but none had a significant impact in offices.In 1780, steam engine inventor James Watt obtained a British patent for letter copying presses, which James Watt & Co. The patent illustrations include a press with two opposing rollers, like the wringer on an old washing machine, and a second model with a screw mechanism (Plate 1). Proudfoot, In a review of office equipment at the 1851 Industrial Exhibition, Granville Sharp recommended that when an office was selecting a press like those in Plates 1-3, it should make sure that the handle was heavily weighted at the ends to insure proper spinning.A copying clerk would begin by counting the number of letters to be written during the next few hours and by preparing the copying book.Suppose the clerk wanted to copy 20 one-page letters.

Typically they need a copy of outgoing correspondence for their records.

In addition to such stationary presses, James Watt & Co. Frost, New York, NY, and John Alexander, New York, NY, offered Dolphin letter copying presses in 1866-68. 92) Screw model letter copying presses were still marketed in 1950, and Proudfoot reports that an organization in London, England, was still using press books in the late 1950s. “This is essential to a screw copy press; for unless one pull will serve to raise or to depress the plate, much time is lost.” In addition to the press, offices needed to buy copying books that contained up to a thousand pages of tough tissue paper, copying ink, copying paper dampers, oiled paper, and blotting paper.

and competitors produced portable devices contained in wood boxes similar in size and appearance to the late 19 century Edison Mimeographs shown below in Plates 22 and 23. Prices at that time were .50 for 9"x12" to 5 for 10.5"x16". President whose official correspondence was copied on a copying press was Calvin Coolidge (1923-29). Sharp explained that before using the new press, the office had to decide how to organize its letters.

Letter copying presses were used by the early 1780s by the likes of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Thomas Jefferson. Tilden's Message to the Legislature, Albany, NY, Mar. show letter copying presses that were displayed at the 1851 Industrial Exhibition in London. was still using copy presses and press books for outgoing letters in 1913 (p. Production of copies was easiest if the user copied its letters into a single letter book in chronological order.

In 1785, Jefferson was using both stationary and portable presses made by James Watt & Co. Bedini, (c.1830), a story set in Paris in 1823, Balzac wrote of a government office worker who carried a handwritten memorandum "to an autographic printing house, where he obtained two pressed copies," and of another office worker who was "considering whether these autographic presses could not be made to do the work of copying clerks." The image to the left shows a copying press patented in 1828 in the UK by Mr. Along with typewriters, letter copying presses are the most common machines found in photographs of late 19 century offices. 4-5) reports that the Illinois Central Railroad used copying presses to make copies of outgoing letters in press books at least from the late 1850s to 1896, that the Repauno Chemical Co. 181), and that the Hagley Museum and Library has press books that were used in the 1930s (p. In that case, the user needed to make an index so that letters of interest could later be retrieved.

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