The Papyrograph or Office Printer


Dorothy Wickham


Papyrography was a system of printing from paper or from an original manuscript which is written upon paper prepared for the purpose. The manuscript is placed upon a chemically prepared blotting pad in a portfolio, where it is held in its place by a metal frame. It is then ready to be printed from at the rate of about three copies per minute, by means of an ordinary copying press.

The Papyrograph, or Office Printer, had been adopted by the Victorian Government for all the principal public offices, including the Deptartments of Education, Police, Post and Telegraph, Lands, Customs, Volunteer, &c, and was in use by several of the Melbourne Banks, Insurance Companies and other large institutions.

The Assistant Commissioner of Customs, J. Chatfield Tyler, Esq., having witnessed the operation of the Papygrograph, wrote, “From what I have seen of the process, it appears to me that the Papyrograph performs all that is promised for it.”

The price of the Papyrograph was £5 and upwards.

How different is the copying of today! We expect many sheets per minute of the finest laser quality, with scanned images abounding and script of all kinds to adorn our work! We complain if the paper resembles blotter, or if there are blotches of any kind at all. Even our photographs can be copied to such perfection that the copy cannot be ascertained from the original!