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“Keep A Copy”

Saved By Words

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Returning to the more pleasant topic of things that have disappeared from common use, I remember carbon paper. It is difficult to remember back before Xerox machines or the ability to save, store and print documents at will. The only way you could make a copy of something was to insert a piece of carbon paper between your first piece of paper and the second piece. Then you had to carefully keep everything together as you threaded the trio into your typewriter. When you struck the typewriter key with enough force, the carbon paper transferred a bit of black ink to the underneath sheet while the top sheet got the ink from the inked ribbon.

If this sounds tedious, it was. However, it was a vast improvement over the century before. If you have read Melville’s story “Bartleby the Scrivener,” you will know that lawyers and other paper heavy professions…

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