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[BKARTS] Mimeograph

Several posts have referred to purplish ink of mimeographs.  There was a
similar nomenclature error on this list in 1997 (cf archive). Mimeograph
stencils do not have any ink.  They are produced by various means,
mechanically (such as the strike from a ribbonless typewriter) or
photographically (as in the Gestefax from Gestetner). The process is more
like screen printing, because ink is squeezed through the stencil onto the
paper. You have to add ink to the mimeograph machine. The ink could be any
color, but to change colors you also have to change the blanket that the
ink is squeezed through and clean the machine, which you really don't want
to do.

The process under discussion is more correctly termed a spitit duplicator.
It involves reproduction from a master rather than a stencil. The master is
created by writing, drawing, or typing onto a sheet of paper with a sheet
of pigment transfer below it. Those come in many colors, not just purple.
The pigment, which is soluble in alcohol, is transferred to the back of the
master. It's like using carbon paper, but the carbon side faces the back of
the sheet you are drawing on. The duplicator, known by trade names like
Rexograph, Hectograph or Ditto, is filled with alcohol rather than ink. A
light coat of alcohol is rolled onto the surface of the paper, which is
then pressed against the master (or vice-versa). The pigment then transfers
to the paper. By using different color pigment sheets for different parts
of the drawing or typing, one master can produce a many-colored image.  The
master is good for up to about 125 copies, although after the 50th copy or
so moticeable fading occurs.

You can hand-print from Ditto stencils by wetting the paper you intend to
print on with rubbing alcohol and using the back of a spoon for pressure.

If you want to see some pix of multicolor master-making, look at Tom

The alcohol in the deodorant effectuates the image transfer for tattooing..

A mimeograph stencil is good for thousands of impressions.

In 1963 I used a spirit duplicator to make the multicolor cover of
_Nucleus_, the Richmond Hill High School annual science publication. That
same year I was Editor of Junior Astronomy News, the bimonthly publication
of the Junior Astronomy Club (an independent not-for-profit org. which had
been in existence since 1929). That was produced on an A.B. Dick mimeograph
using typed stencils, with cover stencils produced photographically using
Gestefax. It was all done in black ink. It had a circulation of about
1,000, including libraries. The Russian Academy of Sciences was a
subscriber. Perhaps they used it as propaganda about the low level of
American science ;>}.


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