before we had Xerox …

August, 1939 article showing a ‘portable’ photo copier solution

Toronto. Before we had the modern Xerox copiers,  photography helped businesses make decent copies, A brief article in the August, 1939 issue of Popular Mechanics describes a special camera that was considered ‘portable’ and printed directly to special paper.

A mirror on the lens allows the original paper to lie flat horizontally and the copy printed vertically on the special paper.

For amateurs, photography could also be used to make copies on regular photo paper using various devices like closeup lenses, ‘spider legs’, frames, extension tubes, bellows, copy stands, etc.

Today, digital cameras and smart phones make copies even easier. As well, many people have scanners – either as stand-a-lone machines or built in to a printer. Over a half century ago, small organizations or those with simple needs could use a gestetner stencil or a spirit duplicator like my school used when I was very young.

Our thanks goes out to my good friend and fellow photo enthusiast, George Dunbar, for graciously sharing his findings with us (I told my wife as I lugged her rather heavy old ‘portable’ TV set around, “just stick a handle on anything and it becomes a portable …”).

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