From spirit duplicator (Banda machine) to iBook: progress!

March 20, 2007 at 8:39 am | Posted in 2006, 7th Grade, Apple, Childhood memories, Humor, Humour, iBook, keyboard, London | 10 Comments

XKCD Keyboards are disgusting 123

XKCD Keyboards are disgusting 4


I adapted the current XKCD cartoon to show you what Banda copies looked like when I was at school. They had that weird smell of Banda machine papers too …

This cartoon reminded me of the day I saw what lurked under your keyboard. Remember my day out in London … ?!

Dear Bethan,

Thanks for giving me a great reason to spend all day at the Apple Store, Regent Street today. I arrived at opening time, 10 a.m., and made an appointment at the Genius Bar to check your iBook in for repairs at 2 p.m.

In the meantime, I attended a one hour presentation on Adobe PhotoShop Elements, which …

The next presentation was about iTunes and iPods …

In between all that, I checked in your iBook to get the pin removed from inside the power socket after the ladder from your bunk bed fell on your Mac and broke the power connector.

I also asked for a full data back up: worth £35 when I remembered that you had some of your brilliant artwork that would be irretrievable otherwise.

At the same time, I could not help but notice the large pile of biscuit crumbs under your keyboard when the keypad was removed—yuck! So I asked if Apple would vacuum inside your iBook free of charge, and they guy said yes, they’ll clean it up and don’t worry—it’s not as bad as some he has seen (!)



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  1. EWWW!! That cartoon is hilarious!

  2. Band, Roneo, Gestetner, they were all the same technology. I published my first magazines on these at school. The smell was intoxicating and probably accounts for my less than spectacular exam results!

  3. I remember those machines,
    we called them ‘cyclostyles’ in India.

    The machine was operated by the school librarian,
    he would rotate a handle that would make a chirring noise;
    the backing waxed pages were a deep blue,
    and I can almost recall the smell.

    As Art Editor of the school magazine,
    I spent hours designing headers
    and illustrations for pages.
    And spent fair amount of time away from class work and lessons :).

  4. Hello all,

    I’ve bought an old spirit duplicator (fordigraph) from a second hand store. I am wanting to use it for production of an artwork. It is impossible to find detailed instructions on the internet or find someone who knows how it was used.

    This page came up on a page where you mentioned the Fordigraph. I was wondering if you could help. Do you know where there is a manual, online or anywhere else? Could you maybe spare some time and email me how it works?

    The plastic tubes going from the fluid(?) bottle were deteriorating so I replaced them with new ones – but I can’t see how it works.

    I hope you can help me or point me towards someone who can.

    thank you,

    P.S. I remember the smell too. Highly toxic!

  5. oh ..sorry, if anyone can help email me please:

  6. I can’t remember the main working of the machine.
    It was always handled by the school librarian.
    I remember doing the stencils, but that was the easy bit.

    You could start with

    We, in India, called the machine a ‘cyclostyle’ and was also refered to as a ‘Gestetner’.
    So maybe searches under those names may get you some more info.

  7. my mom was a teacher and when she worked at the old school in Coloma before I was born she used a Ditto machine and one day she was cleaning out the basement and she brought up all these old books and ditto copys and I was amazed by them because all the type was PURPLE lol (I love purple) and my mom explained it to me. We used to photocopy silly things when she would go to school to do work durring the weekends, we used to photocopy our hands and faces and stuff on the Xerox machine.

  8. Hi,
    have you found out what you wanted?
    If not contact me by email and I can let you know how to use it – I used them and have an old portable one still.

  9. I have a few packs of bander paper, if anyone is interested in these please send me an email

  10. Hello,

    I may be a little late here…but, for Archie Moore, I know how to work the machine you speak of.

    First, you must procure the master units and the spirit fluid in order to operate the machine to make copies. There is a company in Wayne, NJ, called “Repeat-O-Type” Manufacturing Corporation that still manufactures these products. You can find their website quite easily online by merely doing a Google search for “Spirit Duplicating Supplies”.

    Once you have the supplies on hand, this is how you “image” a master unit. Remove the protective interleaving between the master sheet and inked carbon paper and simply write (using a ballpoint pen) or type on the master unit. This will create a negative image on the back side of the sheet with the carbon ink. It is this ink that makes the copies.

    Now, on to using the machine. First, attach the gallon can using the hose you mentioned, and position the can lower than the machine. This will prevent excessive fluid from flowing into the machine, which will draw fluid into itself through suction. Then, prime the machine with fluid by depressing the “PRIME” lever several times. (Your machine should have something akin to this). There should be a viewing window in which you can see the fluid entering the machine and absorbing into the wicks (which transfers the fluid to a roller which in turn, transfers the fluid to the paper). Once you see the fluid flowing freely into the machine, stop depressing the prime lever. Now, take the negative image side of the master unit, and attach it to the rotating cylinder by using the clamp. Turn on your machine, select a light-medium pressure, and hit the feed switch…and VOILA! You’re cranking out purple copies.

    Hope this was of help!


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