I have been writing some paragraphs to tell the tale of my earliest experiences learning and playing guitar ready to make a Learning Log. Way back in time, when I was a youngster, a friend of my older sister gave me loads of duplicate copies of song sheets to learn from. This is going back to the mid-1970s. I still have them and dug them out especially to share here.
They are copies of hand written sheets created on an old Spirit Duplicator. We knew them as Banda machines in the UK - apparently called Rexograph or Ditto machines in North America (according to wikipedia).
I came to use them in my early days of teaching. The staff room or staff-only corridors would have one or more of these unwieldy contraptions. You had to load in a concoction of potent chemicals (that smell, never to be forgotten) and crank the thing by hand to produce one copy at a time.
We’ve come a long way since then with all these new-fangled fancy photocopy / xerox machines that can churn out hundreds of colour copies per minute, double-sided, collated and stapled and more.
And some kind of weird machine that you had to create a master for, something like a stencil, fit it on the machine and then crank the handle. But my memory is foggy, it was the high school newspaper, probably 1980
Yup I remember them smelly things, I had to use the big (A3, A2, A1 and A0) ones when I was doing Drawings in the R&D department at Accles & Pollock in Oldbury - maker of the world record smallest diameter tube! I was really glad when laser copiers came in!
For all you youngsters, here’s a history lesson. For all you oldies, here’s a trip down memory lane.
Note the No Smoking signs. That is there due to the chemicals that were used.
Also note … up until some time in the mid 1990s, staff were allowed to smoke in schools in the UK.
I went to a private high school. The oldest in the USA, founded in 1660. I did work study to help pay tuition (means I was a lackey for the administration).
One of my jobs was to run the Ditto machine (yep we did call it that) as well as an “Addressograph”, which was a machine that punched addresses into into metal plates and then could run those plate through rapidly to print on envelopes for the fund drives.
This was very, very important to the school and I quickly became the only person who knew how to fix it when it broke down. Same with the Ditto, which was a common occurrence. Rickety old things.
I remember getting pulled out of class weekly to fix one or the other, or to work on a find drive. They knew what was important.
I also remember learning to program a computer on a punch card.
Well, the song was nice, the arrangement lush, the voice out of this world, but the lyrics??
It truly was a time when you didn’t have to bother, hehe
We’re getting closer to figuring out why you’re called close2u, Richard
Roll up folks and lay your bets…
Richard or Karen?
I remember all the “ditto” hand outs in grammar school. I too remember the smell. We used to smell the papers when they were delivered to the classroom hot off the presses. Yeah, we probably shouldn’t have but ten year olds aren’t always the sharpest tools in the shed.