Gestetner Cyclostyle—Dawn of the Copying Machine

The Gestetner Cyclostyle, which came on the market in 1881, pioneered the production of modest numbers of copies of documents through a process in which ink is forced onto paper through a stencil made of waxed or glazed paper. The machine was invented by David Gestetner, who named it based upon the rotating stylus pen used to manually create stencils by punching closely-spaced holes through the waxed paper. (Using separate holes to allow the ink to flow through the stencil preserved its strength in un-punched areas.)

The stencil process later came to be called mimeography, which became a generic term for stencil duplication.

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