Dated Reference Primer: The Mimeograph Machine

I link here to Laurie from Foolery a lot, not ’cause I’m stealing her ideas (I swear), but because I dig how she writes, and the stuff she writes about often strikes a familiar chord with me.

Case in point: She shared this story about a friend who, once upon a time, got her long hair all wrapped up in a mimeograph machine.

MIMEOGRAPH MACHINE? Yes, you heard me. And you know what’s coming, don’t you? One of my favorite recurring themes?

…wait for it…


Children, grab a juice box, a carpet square, and gather ’round the rocking chair. Today I will tell you about something called the mimeograph machine. It looked like this

Mimeograph Machine
Mimeograph Machine

and it was what teachers used as recently as the late 1980s hundreds of years ago to duplicate worksheets and handouts for students.  They would make a master copy by typing onto a purple-waxy “master,” and by typing I mean that they rolled it into their typewriter and prayed as they struck each key that it was the right one, because if you messed up, there was no fixing it.

Then, you would peel the master apart and attach the “reverse” side of it to the round drum of the mimeo machine, turn it on, and THWAP THWAP THWAP the drum would fly around and around and, through some magic involving duplicator fluid, the words would transfer onto the paper. The pages would be cool and ever so slightly damp when they came out the other side, with purple ink.  They had a very distinct smell.

I myself learned to use a duplicating machine as part of a work-study job in an academic department in college. I got really good at it. It was kinda fun.

Unfortunately, kids, the mimeograph machine’s days were numbered as photocopiers became more reliable and less expensive.  Eventually, the mimeograph went the way of the punched card reader. (In fact, there was one of those in a seldom-used hallway in another academic building at my college. And this was the late 1980s!)

Nowadays, we duplicate and print documents with “photocopiers,” and in offices, they are usually “networked,” which means you can send documents straight from your computer to the copier!  I remember dreaming about this in 1990, and now it’s mostly taken for granted. We’ve come a long way, baby, with duplicating technology.

This concludes today’s Dated Reference Primer. Thanks for listening, kids. Come back next time, when we will discuss other technological relics that have been invented and made obsolete all within my lifetime: the “floppy disk” and the “thermal fax machine.”

Click daily to give a free mammogram to someone in need

Click to Give Free Mammograms!

Pssst – hey you. Got a sec? Good.  Hop over here, ane when you get there, click on that big pink button that says CLICK HERE TO GIVE – IT’S FREE! Don’t ask why, just do it. Then come back here and I’ll tell you why… ready – GO!

[tap tap tap… whistle, whistle…]

See, that didn’t take long, did it?

Now that you went over to The Breast Cancer Site, you know that clicking on that button helps fund free mammograms for women in need — low-income, inner-city and minority women whose awareness of breast cancer and opportunity for help is often limited.  When you click, they display ads from their site sponsors, and all the money from these advertisers goes towards funding programs to provide mammograms to women in need. For example, this program funded 500 mammograms at Howard University Hospital in Washington, DC! There’s more about this on the website.

And by the way, you can click daily. That would be, like, helping SEVEN women in a week. Or 30 in a month. Or… well you get the picture.  So, either bookmark The Breast Cancer Site, or you know what else? Look over there, in my left column – I have a new button right there that will take you straight over. I like to make things easy for my readers. In fact, you can add a button to your own site, too – grab the code here.

Thanks for your help!

(By the way. Is it time for you to schedule YOUR annual mammogram yet? Really? Well then, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!)

Friday Newslinks (and some random fluff, too)

Happy Friday! Raise your hand if you are soooo ready for the long weekend… yep, me too. It’s a dark, rainy morning here in Maryland. The older boys are off to school and the three-year-old is still asleep. Oh, that I were, too. Alas, I am working from home today, which is great because I don’t have to drive or Metro anywhere, but perilous because THERE ARE BEDS IN THIS HOUSE and they have magnetic properties that will pull a sistah in and not let her go. I might be better off packing up the laptop and heading over to Panera (no, they have pastries there). Maybe the public library. Yeah, that’s it.

Not to get all serious and stuff, especially on a Friday, but… Here are two stories I read this week that stuck with me. Need a diversion? Postponing finishing that spreadsheet or unloading the dishwasher? Coworker grabbed the newspaper from the lunchroom and now you’re eating in your office with only your computer screen to read? Then take a gander at these:

First, we have this riveting story about a severely neglected seven-year-old girl who was discovered in a filthy home. With her mother. It’s a story of nature versus complete lack of nurture. It will have you shaking your head and asking yourself how something like this could possibly happen. It will also make you believe in angels.

Next: Curt’s email to me simply said: This just in from the department of irony. It’s an obituary. And I’ll leave it at that.

Finally, as promised in the title, some random fluff, or maybe it should be called lint. Very. Juvenile. Lint. Kimberly of Petroville wrote yesterday about how her teenage daughter was living in fear of keeping sanitary supplies in her school locker, lest the boys confiscate and use the items for…. what, no one exactly knows, except to torture the easily-mortified girls. (If you know what they’re using them for, drop on over and leave a comment for Kimberly. Because inquiring minds want to know.) A blogger named Sue left a comment on that post, and included this link. I have never read Sue’s blog, but popped on over and learned that she has four kids, and we could probably totally bond on the whole laundry thing. I did click the link she left, and then, I giggled for at least ten minutes afterwards, thus making me no better than the seventh-grade boys at Kimberly’s daughter’s school. I guess living in a house full of boys is starting to affect me. (Or maybe I was always this way. Hard to say.) WARNING, this link is not at all graphic or naughty, but there are photos…

Have a great weekend y’all!