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what's the name for the copying method that makes copies with purple ink that smell of meths? UK school in the 80s used it before they got photocopiers. -- Tarquin 11:45 May 12, 2003 (UTC)

There were several, among them the Gestetner machine and the Ford-a-graph (sp?) machine, better known as the "forgeagraph". Ink was either purple or green, and smelled great! Haven't had a nice glass of meths in ages. Guess they don't make it like they used to. Tannin

Lol... that's it, the Gestetner. The name was devised to reduce schoolchildren to tears when sent to the office to ask for a pile of papers: "miss Foobar asked for the gestet... gestet.... er.... *wail*". Anyway. we should mention these prior technologies on this article :-) -- Tarquin 12:01 May 12, 2003 (UTC)

In our U.S. school we just called it a mimeograph or even shorter the "ditto" machine. Rmhermen 13:40 May 12, 2003 (UTC)

No, the Gestetner used printer's ink - the master was typed onto a waxed membrane. The purple ink was used in Banda machines. --grahamp

Wow... nice growth, y'all! We should add stuff on the meths etc to Duplicating machines. -- Tarquin 16:00 May 12, 2003 (UTC)

"[T]he area of xerox art developed in the 1970s and 1980s" -- is there any cite on this? I think it was earlier. --Daniel C. Boyer 18:03, 10 Oct 2003 (UTC)

Some photocopying machines contain special software that will prevent the copying of currency.

Details please, someone? Or is this just a rumor to try and deter this? What is the principle of this software?


Gestetner is a company name. The company is now owned by Ricoh.

No rumor here- many copiers use pattern matching to recognize currency- not only will they not produce a copy of it, they will usually enter an error state and no longer copy anything until the code is cleared. Clearing the code requires contacting the manufacturer of the device- who are then obligated to contact the feds…

Why can't you photocopy a mirror? I know that I have always been told that it could short out all the power in the building, but why does the copier do that? Been searching the web (, but can't find any reason why you shouldn't

I wouldn't, if I were you. You might create a singularity which destroys the entire universe. (Or a sheet of wastepaper.) jdb ❋ (talk) 23:35, 7 Apr 2005 (UTC)


I have worked for Gestetner, and also for other copier companies. The Gestetner did indeed use ink, squeezed through the stencil, to produce the image. The Ditto machines, and others that produced the purple, blue, green, or red print using alcohol type solvents were generically known as "spirit" duplicators.

As for the photocopying of a mirror, I have the answer... Photocopiers use mirrors to reflect the image from the original to the lens. Any normal original will reflect some light in all directions, including into the next mirror. A mirror placed where the original should be would reflect light only in one direction, at the wrong angle to hit the next mirror. In the drawing below, the circle is the light bulb, the ++ indicates where the light should go, and the ** indicates where it will go if a mirror copied. Since it misses the next mirror entirely, no light will get to the lens, resulting in a black copy.

________________ Paper++ (or mirror**)
     / | \
    /  |  \
   **  |   O Bulb
    m\ | 
      r\--------- ++ To lens

Sasquatch71089 05:05, 22 November 2005 (UTC)

Ass Photocopying[edit]

There really needs to be at least a few sentences devoted to this cultural phenomenon. Kade 23:27, 30 November 2005 (UTC)

fist color copier 1973???[edit]

In this article it is said: "The first electrostatic color copier was released by Canon in 1973." This seems in error. The Canon site: mentions under 1983: "The NP Color T, the company's first color copying machine, is introduced." "1973" is a typo, correct?

This: "In 1937 Bulgarian physicist Georgi Nadjakov discovered the photoelectric effect." needs to be changed. Einstein received a Nobel prize for work he did on the photoelectric effect in 1905. Hard to do if it hadn't been discovered for 31 years.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 21:33, July 12, 2006

I've removed the discovery (photoelectric effect states it was observed in 1839), and added a cite needed to alert someone to check the rest of the paragraph.

As an aside, weren't there processes that duplicated prints prior to the Xerox? Should this article discuss more of the history of copying by use of photons? They were not as fast or as convenient as the Xerox, but they were used.- 11:13, 23 July 2006 (UTC)


It says Carlson was required to copy a lot of papers, but it doesn't say what method he had been using. The Storm Surfer 20:33, 9 October 2006 (UTC)

External Links[edit]

The link to color copier is to a Xerox sales site, with small, poor pix of machines. This link is a good candidate for deletion. LorenzoB 17:14, 28 November 2006 (UTC)

How to deal with so many explanations of the same thing?[edit]

The xerography, the photocopying article, and the laser printer article all attempt to describe the same processes three different ways. It would be nice if the technical details could be focused somehow into a single article that all the others refer to, rather than duplicating the same data across so many locations, such as is being done with the LED printer article.

I'm not really sure how this should be done. Generally I think the xerography artcle should be the master discussion of the technical processes, with the laser printer article just referring to the specific details of the exposure step, as is currently being done with the LED printer article. I have no idea how to deal with the photocopying article since it seems to be an almost unnecessary duplication of the xerography article.

As a somewhat new editor on here, I don't really be the one to be making such large changes, moving the guts of the laser printer technical discussion to the xerography article. But something should be done..

(This talk article has been copied into the talk for xerography, photocopying, laser printer, and LED printer. If you want to comment I suggest putting your response in the talk for xerography.)

DMahalko 00:17, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

As "Photocopier" is the most common term for this technology implementation, I suggest that other articles such as those cited by DMahalko redirect to this article, and applicable material from those articles moved to this one. Your opinions? Bkengland (talk) 17:54, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The term "xerography" is the name for the process that is common to all those articles. The explanation of how the process works should be consolidated under xeroxgraphy, but most of the other articles should reference "xerography, not be redirected to it. They discuss elements beyond the description of how it works and those discussions often belong in separate articles. Printers and photocopiers, for example, are distinctly different, although related, creatures. Perhaps the Laser printer and LED printer articles might be combined (without an explanation of how xerography works). But that must be discussed in those articles' discussion pages. Pzavon (talk) 03:41, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
I don't disagree that some cleanup and consolidation is in order, and how that plays out remains to be seen. For now, I have some text improvement changes to make that are now marked on hard copy. I don't want those to be lost if the article is, as part of the clean-up, cut altogether. Pzavon et al, do you have a guess as to whether the article text, for the most part, will carry forward in one place or another? Bkengland (talk) 22:00, 23 January 2008 (UTC)
As you say "how that plays out remains to be seen." My impression is that a merge involving the removal of one or more articles usually also includes an effort to capture the non-duplicated materials from such articles and integrate them into the survivor. Pzavon (talk) 03:02, 24 January 2008 (UTC)

"This article needs additional citations for verification"?[edit]

I have some cleanup tasks I'd like to apply to this article, and one thing I'd like to do is remove the need additional citations note. In my opinion, this has little or no basis, as opinions aren't stated in the article, and any assertions are easily cross checked using other sources. Your opinions? Bkengland (talk) 17:54, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree. It seem to me that this is a pretty darned long article to be permitted to continue without any citations of the assertions of fact contained throughout. I never heard that citations were required only for statements of opinions. Pzavon (talk) 03:35, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

Comment: January 2008 mods[edit]

Ok, I'm liking the way this is going, and it looks like we'll have a much better article in place once the *current* effort is completed; good going, all! --Bkengland (talk) 04:02, 29 January 2008 (UTC)

Search Redirect[edit]

Apologies for my editing failures, it is my first ever so I beg your patience, but could someone please add a search redirect the search entry 'photocopyer' to this article: I just had a rather lengthy debate with a friend on the correct spelling and I am certain there will be some people who enter the word in this form.

Would also be most grateful if you could enlighten me as to how this is done, many thanks, TenthMuse (talk) 22:30, 23 October 2008 (UTC)

I think that is simply an incorrect spelling and unlikely to be a problem for many since the term "photocopier" is widely used and therefore readilly available for reference. I could be wrong, but I don't tihnk it is usual for redirects to be placed for misspellings of this sort. Pzavon (talk) 02:41, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

minimum wage[edit]

"at a time when the minimum wage for a US worker was USD $1.65"

1.65$ per hour? per day? per what? ----ANDROBETA 17:10, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Minimum wage is generally set per hour, and that figure certainly should be per hour not e.g. per day as it was not that long ago. But I've added '/hour to clarify it.--JohnBlackburnewordsdeeds 17:16, 12 October 2011 (UTC)
Thanks. In my country the minimum wage is legally established for a month period. So when I translated the section the sentence seem pretty confusing. --ANDROBETA 17:37, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Extra sections suggested[edit]

It might make sense to indicate why the photocopier was different from what came before and mostly this was a result of speed and convenience of internal processing. Plan copies were made on Cyanotype/blueprint (water wash processing)and later diazo copier (Ammonia vapour from wet amonium hydroxide), I think a photo-stat machine was a type of camera with a inverting prism (positive wet development using silver photographic chemistry).

There were also reflex copiers (original and copy paper were pressed together and illuminated from one side) that used special paper and then heat developed the image, these may be mentioned by brand name but the technology is not indicated.

Xerography implies 'DRY' process and ther were wet toner copiers that were photocopiers but not xerographic machines, these would not fall under xerography but are correctly decribed here under photocopiers. These distinctions should be made clear eventually.

1: Not all copiers have drums as implied in one section. There have been photo copiers (I think oce` brand had one) that made use of a photo conducting belt much like a conveyor belt that could pipeline all the steps in the process and also allowed for the use of high energy flash lamps to illuminate the original and expose the flat photo conductor. These big copiers did not suffer from image shear or smeering if the original was jolted and could work fast.

2: Some dry copiers do not use heat fusing of the toner. I had a copier (Canon think it was) that used cold rollers to fuse the toner. The pressure on the rollers was so high it would squeeze the toner into the paper while cold. This allowed for almost no warm up time or standby heating current. The paper was glased whenit came out and had a film of silicone oil as well, these problems may have resulted in limited market acceptance.

Idyllic press (talk) 15:59, 28 February 2013 (UTC)

Addressograph Multigraph[edit]

In the 1970s I worked for AM, initially as a photocopier engineer. They used a coated paper system, fused by heat. Later machines used Xenon flash tubes, and fused the toner using (immense) pressure. I understand Carlson approached AM with his ideas, but they turned him down because they had invested too much in the coated paper system.

Danensis (talk) 09:05, 16 September 2013 (UTC)


So in the 1990s in India, people used to say "photostate" instead of "photocopy". Does anyone know if photostate is another way of saying photocopy? (talk) 09:25, 24 October 2013 (UTC)