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The Training of a Secretary:
 Mechanical Helps

 Filing Room And Library

 Overlapping With Other Officers

 The Private Secretary

 The Social Secretary

 The Building And Loan Association Secretary

 For Any Secretary


 Famous Secretaries And Their Careers

 In General

 Read More Articles About: The Training of a Secretary

Mechanical Helps

( Originally Published 1922 )

In addition to the personnel of a secretarial department which makes it effective, there are certain mechanical devices which are helpful and in fact necessary for accuracy and speed in the accomplishment of its work. The chief one is the typewriter, of which, as everyone knows, there are many designs, about twenty in the United States, with their excellences and weaknesses, each with its enthusiastic adherents. There are arguments, and good ones, for the adoption of a single type for all the offices, say of a large corporation, which uses hundreds, perhaps thousands, of machines. I will not attempt to discuss this subject. The type-writer salesmen can give excellent reasons on both sides of the question, depending upon their individual interests. In my opinion it is desirable that any typewriter which is used in the hurly-burly of business should be capable of producing at least four clear carbon copies. In the early days of type-writing machines, there were as many makes of machines in the offices with which I am familiar as there were operators. Changing a machine was almost equivalent to losing an operator, and in all cases it caused weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth or icy silence. As a matter of fact, in three days nearly any operator could accustom herself to the change, and in a week she would be infatuated with the new machine.

When numbers of similar letters or reports - or statements are to be produced, say more than five and less than a, hundred, automatic typewriters may be employed, which will turn them out at an almost incredible speed and perfect in typography and form, each precisely as if it had been writ-ten singly and personally. These machines in groups of one to four, with a single opera-tor, are arranged in a most ingenious way, so that variations of any extent can be made in a given copy, I mean variations in address and those due to the sex of the addressee or any other desired variation. Electricity is the motive power and the battery of machines is so connected that when any one of them comes to a point where a variation is desired, it stops until the operator writes in the proper word or words in the ordinary way, whereupon the machines take up the work again in whirlwind fashion. The original letter or statement is written on a special machine which produces a roll of perforated paper resembling the roll of a piano player or the card of a Jacquard loom. It is called the perforator. The rolls or stencils are inserted in the automatics, which are then ready for business. Each of the automatics makes as many copies as an ordinary type-writer, in fact each is a standard typewriter with automatic attachments. It can easily be seen that great speed may be attained by this method, as well as freedom from errors.

If larger numbers of sheets exactly alike are needed, they may be produced with the well-known mimeograph or multigraph a semi-printing process of which there are several good ones, or the printing press itself.

When less than a hundred equal copies of a report or statement are required and required quickly, the gelatine process can-not be excelled for making them. Its most modern form is embodied in a machine in which a roll of paper or fibre or muslin of proper width is covered by a composition of glycerine and glue. The material is of such a nature that it will absorb the characters of a master copy made with an aniline ink. This may be in any one or all of five colors. Drawings and sketches may be reproduced as well as typewritten material. The master copy is laid upon the gelatine and kept in perfect contact with its surface for about thirty seconds, after which from fifty to a hundred excellent copies may be made from it. Twenty-four hours later the same spot on the roll may be used again, the ink having been absorbed and dispersed by that time. Ten to fifteen thousand copies may be taken from a roll before it wears out.

As to their durability, I am informed that copies twenty years old are in existence which show no signs of fading, these having been in the dark, that is, preserved in books. In bright sunlight they would probably fade somewhat but not become illegible, just as certain pigments used in painting, fade or change color if exposed to the direct rays of the sun, but do not disappear entirely.

Success in the use of this machine depends upon the following:

Having it always in perfect condition.

Keeping the gelatinous surface clean and of the right degree of softness. It takes experience to do this.

Making the master copy with a ribbon heavy with the proper quality of ink. Skill and care of the operator.

It is not within the province of this book to give the names and addresses of the hundreds of manufacturers of excellent office apparatus and furniture in the United States. They may be obtained in the monthly numbers of " The National Office Journal ", published at 118 North La Salle Street, Chicago, Ill., and in the elaborate lists which are printed in connection with the " Business Shows " which take place from time to time in the large cities. I believe it will not be invidious to mention some of the best known of these, which are likely to be found in secretarial offices, in addition to those ma-chines which are described or referred to at more or less length in these pages.


Barrett Adding Machine Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

Burroughs Adding Machine Co., Detroit, Michigan.

Dalton Adding Machine Co., Cincinnati, Ohio.

Ellis Adding Typewriter, Newark, N. J. Felt & Tarrant Mfg. Co. (Comptometer), Chicago, Ill.

Monroe (see p. 117).

Sunstrand Adding Machine Co., Rock-ford, Ill.

Wales Adding Machine Co., Wilkes-Barre, Penna.


The Addresserpress, The Elliott Co., Cambridge, Mass.

Addressograph Co., Chicago, Ill.

Montague Mailing Machine Co., Stickney & Montague, Successors, Chattanooga, Tenn.

Rapid Addressing Machine Co., New York, N. Y. (Belknap System).


Elliott-Fisher Co., Harrisburg, Penna. Ellis (see p. 116).

Remington Accounting Machine (Wahl Mechanism), Remington Typewriter Co., Inc., New York, N. Y.

Underwood Bookkeeping Machine, Underwood Typewriter Co., Inc., New York, N.Y.


Comptometer ( see p. 116) .

Ensign Mfg. Co., Boston, Mass. Marchant Calculating Machine Co., Oak-land, Cal.

Monroe Calculating Machine Co., Orange, N.J.


(Dictaphone) Columbia Graphophone Co., Bridgeport, Conn.

(Ediphone) Thomas A. Edison, Inc., Orange, N. J.


(" Ditto) Duplicator Mfg. Co., Ill. (see pp. 113-115).

(Hooven Automatic Typewriter) Hooven Service, Inc., New York, N. ' Y. (see pp. 111-113).

(Mimeograph, Edison-Dick) A. B. Dick Co., Chicago, Ill. (see p. 113).

(Multicolor Press) Lisenby Mfg. Co., Fresno, Cal.

(Multigraph) The American Multigraph Sales Co., Cleveland, O. '(see p. 113).


Mail-O-Meter Co., Detroit, Mich. Multipost Co., Rochester, N. Y.

Pence Mailing Machine Co., Minneapolis, Minn.

Sealstamp Co., York, Penna.

Standard Envelope Sealer Mfg. Co., Everett, Mass.


Lightning Letter Opener Co., Rochester, N.Y.

O. K. Manufacturing Co., Oswego, N. Y.



The Pitney-Bowes Postage Meter, Stamford, Conn.


Tabulating Machine Co., New York, N. Y. Powers Accounting Machine Co., New York, N. Y.


Line-A-Time, The Line-A-Time Mfg. Co., Inc., Rochester, N. Y.

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