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Charles Dickens immortalized one such clerk, Bob Cratchit: “The door of Scrooge’s counting-house was open that he might keep his eye upon his clerk, who in a dismal little cell beyond, a sort of tank, was copying letters.
Scrooge had a very small fire, but the clerk’s fire was so very much smaller that it looked like one coal." ((1853) concerns a lawyer in New York City who employed three male scriveners to copy testimony and other documents.
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.
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.
If he made a copy soon after a letter was written, only a second or two was needed to make a good impression.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.The cores of copying pencils, which appear to have been introduced in the 1870s, were made from a mixture of graphite, clay, and aniline dye.Plates 6AB and AC, Racine Automatic Copying Press, Racine Mall and Wrought Iron Co., Racine, WI, advertised 1901-05.