A copying clerk would begin by counting the number of letters to be written during the next few hours and by preparing the copying book.
The damper had a reservoir for water that wet a cloth, and the clerk wiped the cloth over the tissues on which copies were to be made.
(See Plate 5A) As an alternative method of dampening the tissue paper, in 1860 Cutter, Tower & Co., Boston, advertised Lynch's patent paper moistener (Plate 5B) with the claim that "it does away with the use of the brush, wet cloths and dipping bowls, and dampens the paper sufficiently by a single roll of the machine." Next, letters were written with special copying ink, which was not blotted.
Prior to the introduction of inks made with aniline dyes, the quality of copies made on letter copying presses was limited by the properties of the available copying inks.
The first aniline dye was invented in 1856, and numerous aniline dyes were invented in the following two decades. 193) reports that "The growth of the aniline dye and ink manufacturing industries in Germany, which coincided with the earliest importation in 1868 of thin papers manufactured in Japan, brought a new popularity to the bound letter book." Some documents that were to be copied with copying presses were written with copying pencils rather than copying ink.
6) With the invention of copying machines the steps to starting a business (and operating a business) were greatly reduced and made much more efficient.
Copying Clerks Before the 20th century, correspondence was principally by hand with pen and ink.In that case, he (copying clerks were men) would insert a sheet of oiled paper into the copying book in front of the first tissue on which he wanted to make a copy of a letter.He would then turn 20 sheets of tissue paper and insert a second oiled paper.Alternatively, the office could organize its correspondence by client, which avoided indexing but made it necessary to use numerous copying books on a given day.Although copies could be made up to twenty-four hours after a letter was written, copies made within a few hours were best.In addition to such stationary presses, James Watt & Co. Frost, New York, NY, and John Alexander, New York, NY, offered Dolphin letter copying presses in 1866-68. 92) Screw model letter copying presses were still marketed in 1950, and Proudfoot reports that an organization in London, England, was still using press books in the late 1950s. “This is essential to a screw copy press; for unless one pull will serve to raise or to depress the plate, much time is lost.” In addition to the press, offices needed to buy copying books that contained up to a thousand pages of tough tissue paper, copying ink, copying paper dampers, oiled paper, and blotting paper.