Learning Resources

Duplicating machine

Duplicating machines were the predecessors of modern document-reproduction technology. They have now been replaced by digital duplicators, scanners, laser printers and photocopiers, but for many years they were the primary means of reproducing documents for limited-run distribution.

Like the typewriter, these machines were products of the second phase of the industrial revolution which started near the end of the 19th century. This second phase brought to mass markets technologies like the small electric motors and the products of industrial chemistry without which the duplicating machines would not have been economical. By bringing greatly increased quantities of paperwork to daily life, the duplicating machine and the typewriter gradually changed the forms of the office desk and transformed the nature of office work.