Duplication of railway and RMS documents during the 1890s

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Mon Feb 28 15:17:58 EST 2011

Frank: Charles Losh, the assistant engineer for the Scioto Division, used
this same method of copying his memos to Chief Engineer Churchill in
Roanoke. He stopped about that same year of 1913 (I'd have to get out the
memo books and look) and changed to typewriting methods (mimeograph "purple'
ink and carbon copy). Earlier he used a yellow, mesh-like paper or cloth to
make the copies. Weird stuff and I have very few samples of this.

In either case the writing becomes ( or started out as) difficult to read as
the ink 'spreads' on the copy form.

Losh had his office make bound volumes of his memos; I have access to 1903
to about 1915 when he took other duties in Roanoke.

If you wish to correspond further on this contact me at rolih at nwhs.org.

Gary Rolih


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Subject: Duplication of railway and RMS documents during the 1890s


Has anyone encountered "copying books?" These were bound ledgers of thin,
plain, yellow or white tissue paper. The paper had the consistency a thin,
soft, smooth-textured paper towel and wasn't like onion-skin paper. Printed
forms, typewriter ribbons, and writing ink were available to facilitate
duplication long before photocopying or carbon copies.

To make a copy of the correspondence, the completed sheet was dampened, laid
within a copying book with a blank tissue page over the sheet, and then put
into a book press to make an impression onto the tissue page. I am not
finding much information about this approach to making business copies.
Some railway and Railway Mail Service forms from about the 1890s-1910s were
printed using this "copying ink."

I'd welcome references to when this method came into use and later was
generally discontinued. Some information may appear in printer's supply and
stationery catalogs which might illustrate these items. I've purchased a
book press and will eventially put it into the records room at Boyce
station, although I think this approach to copying station records was on
the decline by 1913.

Thanks for any information,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at yahoo.com
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