Fundamentals of Mimeographing
Old-school lessons in mimeographing can be found back in print in the Mimeograph Revival Print Shop.
No Bad Memories
Though she suggested that she’d reinvented the wheel, Rachel Simone Weil very cleverly worked with Riso Kagaku’s Print Gocco system, then came up with workarounds to low-availability supplies, thereby (re)inventing what she calls “mimeoprinting.” In part one of a two-part series of blog posts, she explains how she came to use Riso masters in a thermal label printer. Part two details the process – essentially giving a tutorial – and compares the results with the same image printed with a Print Gocco.
Stampalofi – lo fi printmaking
Without using a mimeograph machine, Robert Marjoribanks makes low-tech prints with a hybrid screenprint/mimeo method. He’s got a gif-based tutorial at stampalofi.art, here (unfortunately it doesn’t seem to be working as of 07/2022). A nice touch is his use of rice-flour- or corn-starch-based medium to make ink out of on-hand pigments from items like coffee, red cabbage (on YouTube). He does in-person workshops in Leith (UK). More info is available here.
DIY mimeograph machine – the Tin-Can Wonder
Courtesy of Rich Dana (Obsolete Press) and Pete Balestrieri (Curator of Science Fiction and Popular Culture Collections at the University of Iowa), instructions for making a DIY mimeograph machine are now available to all.
Visit this blog post for detailed information on the paper used in stencils and the processes involved in making it, including videos.
Visit this blog post for an ink-pad tutorial targeted toward the Heyer Lettergraph 60 but with customized options.
Supplies and Tools
A print test page provided by Mimeomania member Arnø Jürgen van Matendouce, drawn by his friend TYST.
- Mimeomania seems to be the most active facebook group. Also on facebook is the Gestetner – Duplicating Machines and Accessories group.
- Mimeograph Users Group on facebook – not very active because it was organized as a “community” rather than a “group.” Still, there’s useful info to be found. Also not very active is Mimeograph Rookie Garage.
Folks and their projects
- Hamish Ironside, co-author of We Peaked at Paper (an oral history of zines in the UK), has published a few zines with the help of a Gestetner. Available here.
- Plaugolt Satzwechsler prints visual poetry collections on Gestetners. Her work is widely seen in the Mimeomania group.
- Curtis Scaglione’s Antique and Vintage Office Museum -no mimeographs, but lots of other cool stuff (thanks to Curtis for donating some digital resources for the library here).
- Tomoko Kanzaki works with mimeography in the way it was developed in Japan. See here for the art studio page (mostly in Japanese), here for instagram, and here for info on a newly released book, “The Past and Future of Mimeograph.”
- Fred Bednarski’s mimeograph pages – Fred’s experimenting with making inks and stencils (among other things). Like me, he’s looking for non-electric, low-tech options. Unbeknownst to me, he had the same idea to create a mimeograph repository. There must be something in the air.
- Similar in concept (kind of) to Mimeograph Revival, but broader in scope, the dead media project has a little on mimeographs but more on other retro-tech that might be worth resuscitating.
- Ted Munk’s site has lots of typewriter-related goodies and is the source for several of the documents presented in the library here.
- Rich Dana’s Obsolete Press.
- Woorilla Caught, a site dedicated to memorializing childhood in the 1960s and 70s had a post on the Roneo duplicator.
Other mimeograph write-ups, sites, and resources
- Obsolet Mimeo Print Studio has a section devoted to manuals and advertisements (available free, just like this site) with a focus on Gestetner models. Based in Vienna, the majority of their holdings are in German. Their mission is very much in alignment with Mimeograph Revival: “Analog printing is also a sustainable technology: the machines work without electricity; the ink is soy-based and does not contain any chemicals. We also use uncoated and recycled paper. The ability to self-publish promotes creative independence and gives a a clear understanding of the process of printing. We are thus setting an example against predetermined breaking points and expiring durability. Obsolet Studio deals with questions about the obsolescence of products and, closely related to it, the obsolescence and forgetting of knowledge and manufacturing techniques.”
- For an extremely detailed look at the development, manufacture, and distribution of Thomas Edison’s electric pen, the precursor to A. B. Dick’s mimeograph, don’t miss Bill Burns’ well-researched site, Edison’s Electric Pen.
- Early Office Museum page on “Antique Copying Machines“
- Robert Marjoribanks (see Tutorials, below) shows his prints and projects on Instagram.
- For a nice one-page write-up on A. B. Dick mimeograph history, visit The Made in Chicago Museum’s page, A. B. Dick Company, est. 1884.