File → Print. Today, that’s all it takes to print a document. Going back sixty-three years, though, it wasn’t that easy. Pictured below is the College of Puget Sound’s copy center in 1953. According to A Sound Past, the lady in the picture is operating a “mimeograph machine which made copies of documents from a stencil wrapped around the central drum that picked up ink as the drum was turned. Each revolution of the drum cranked out another copy of whatever was on the stencil. This was the copy machine of its era and most course syllabi and examinations were made on the mimeograph machine. All you had to do was type your document on to stencil and take the stencil to the copy center where the mimeograph machine operator made your copies.” You can get a workout in while you copy especially if you messed up the stencil or had to copy a long document…pressing the Print button gives me enough anxiety.
Check out more pictures in the Archives & Special Collections or go online to A Sound Past. The Archives and Special Collections is open on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12:00-3:00 p.m. or by appointment.
By Sierra Scott