A Modern Technological Miracle!

Every now and then I get in a reflective mood – thinking of  how things used to be in olden times.  This  usually leaves me feeling very, very ancient.

Thankfully, such moods pass quickly, and I revert to my thoroughly modern and youthful inner self!  I even begin again to think of myself as youthful physically.   And I can retain that illusion as long as I can stay away from a mirror!  😀

I was thinking today of back when I started my career with the Government after graduating from college.  Our office was in possession of a super modern machine – a “copier”, with which one could actually make a duplicate copy of a previously prepared document!  A marvel of modern technology, to be sure!

The magical machine was called a Kodak Verifax.   One inserted a paper document, no larger than a legal sized page, into a clear plastic sleeve and placed it under the machine cover which one lifted up as shown in the image at the right, lowered the cover and pressed a button,  and – wonder of wonders! – an exact black and white duplicate of the  inserted document began to ooze out of a slot near the bottom of the machine!  The cloned document was a wee bit damp so one had to be careful handling it at first,  One also had to be careful storing the miracle document because prolonged exposure to the elements over time caused the reproduced text or image to fade and change from black to a reddish brown.

I  remember that the magic machine was kept in the Head Secretaries office and higher authority had to be obtained to have a copy produced.  The Secretary maintained a log of all documents copied, recording the date, the person for whom the copy was made, the authorizing official, and the document title.

Not too many years later anyone in the office could gather together  multiple pages; take themt to the nearest Xerox machine in the building; place the papers at one end of the machine; press a few buttons, and walk away as the machine produced hundreds of copies, in color, collated and stapled – even printing front and back, if desired  – completely dry and indistinguishable from the originals.

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2 Comments

Filed under Reminiscences

2 responses to “A Modern Technological Miracle!

  1. naturgesetz

    I wasn’t in an office that needed one of those. My first government job involved making full-sized copies of pages on microfilm tapes of computer printouts of taxpayer accounts. There were viewing machines maybe three feet high and two feet square. We’d find the requested pages on the tapes and bring them to a machine about the same size where we could make normal size pictures, which we’d send off to the person who needed the information.

    A few years later, the beginnings of the internet enabled local offices to connect with the computer where the data was stored, eliminating the need for making microfilm copies of weekly printouts of the accounts. But by then I had moved on to Taxpayer Service.

    • Ed

      And we each were working with the most advanced technology of the day!

      Young’ns today have the same feeling about today’s stuff. Just like us, in thirty years they will laugh about the primitive tools they used!

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