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A Stroll Down Memory Lane

Eight track players, slide rules and 45 rpm records have all become subjects of trivia questions as a result of new technology. Are printed telephone directories, newspapers and fax machines next?

In the twenty years that I have been in the printing industry, I have witnessed an amazing transformation in the processes used to put ink on paper. Much of the terminology and methods have either changed or become obsolete. Here is a glossary of terms that might “jog” your memory and give you the “impression” that you’ve in the printing business too long:

Acetate – Clear thin plastic sheets used for overhead projectors and creating mechanical overlays for artwork to be used in the darkroom.

Amberlith – An orange masking material for overlays to be used on the acetate.

Blueline – A proof made from film negatives in which all text and images appear blue on a white paper.

Carbon Paper – This black or blue thin waxy sheet was used to make an exact duplicate of the typing or writing from the page on top of it onto the page below it.

Clip Art Books – Books of high contrast images printed on white glossy paper. The images were cut out and pasted to a mechanical.

Dot Matrix Printers – Generally noisy and slow merger of a typewriter and a computer output device. Image was created by dots of ink formed when the pins hit the ink ribbon.

Linotype Typesetting Machine – This is a machine that creates lines of type in metal for use in newspapers and magazines.

Mimeograph and Ditto Machines – Predecessors to the xerographic reproduction process.

Stripper – Person who strips negatives.

Thermal Fax Paper – Paper sold in rolls for early fax machines. Heat caused the white areas of the paper to turn black.

If you do not remember all of these items, then you are either young or perhaps you sniffed the mimeographed quiz papers a few times too often in high school.

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