Geetings/ Question

Hey all.
Geetings from a newbe in Wisconsin!

Jumping right in with a question.
I recently aquired an AB Dick model 77 mimeograph machine.
It seems like it’s all there except for the outfeed tray and maybe a tin cover the goes over the entire machine.
I have just started the process of cleanup and restoration and befor I take things apart and lose and settings or adjustments, I wanted to see if anyone else has one of these machines or known just how they are to be set up ?
I have it to the point where it will feed paper and run the counter down semi reliably but that is about it.
Anybody else know anything about these machines?
Thanks

Merl

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Shot in the dark, Nothing more,??
A.B. Dick Mimeograph M/c,s appear to be second cousins to Roneo, Duplicators, (same format, Ink forced through a pre-cut stencil).
Way back *Roneo* in U.K. were serviced etc. by A.B. Dick Litho M/c,s proper.??
On E bay now, for sale,!! Very nice looking A. B. Dick, (litho)
Offered in U.S. $ Dollars, presumably Stateside.
By implication, do you have representation and back up, currently, connecting the 2, for Archive Assistance etc.

Hey, Mick!
From the little information I have found so far, it seems like the A.B. Dick was the fore runner to the Roneo but, I may have got that wrong.
Also, PLEASE IGNORE the mod 76 &77’s for sale on e-bay right now!
They are all grossly over priced and I think the highest priced machine is even missing its ink applicator as well.

I have no affiliation with anyone but myself.

I am a skilled machinist and millright, employed in the “paper vally” of Wisconsin where I spend most of my time making parts for custom built web converting machines.
I also do some rebuild work on industrial offset presses and am sometimes called on to go to the customers shop and right a press on site.
Printing is one of my many “mechanical interests” but I’m just starting to amass the “necessaries” to pursue it as a hobby.
This AB Dick mod 77 I have, is something I found in an antique mall, languishing in a corner because nobody knew what it was.
One ‘brilliant’ young man thought it was a giant fishing reel….
I quickly paid the grand some of $17.00 (U.S.) and got out of there, smilling all the way home.
The machine appers to be all there except for anything like an inking blanket and, the out feed tray.
It’s not terribly dirty but there is the challange of hardend ink here and there that will have to be delt with before it will be ready to make copies again.
It is my intention to restore it to full function and use it for printing books and pamphlets.
I have a sorce for stencil paper but, I also have an idea that I would like to try using a screenprinting plate in place of the stencil paper and see what can be done with that.
We’ll see.
Right now I have my work cut out for me getting the old ink out of the ink applicator brush (and most everyplace else)
and freeing up all the moving parts.
Any advice on this would be nice to have.
In my work I just use lacquer thinner and a plastic scraper to remove ink and grease build up but, I never have to deal with something this old that I’m trying to restore.

Merl

Merl, Thank you for your post. My efforts were only intended as pointers for the *experts*. Since a long time ago, we have seen here, (U.K.) loosely connected, Roneo duplicators, A.B. Dicks, Gestetners, Gestiliths, Multiliths, Hamadas, Etc. In essence they seemed to be *serviced * by general purpose Engineers, who dealt with all the Smaller M/c,s. My only involvement was moving 2 or 3 or Changing Motors or Vacuum pumps, usually on a Part Barter for Monotype metal.
Basically comprehend your Silk Screen, System/Idea, but again with (very) limited idea, (still too much Monotype *crap* up top), how to transfer Silk Screen “Squeegy” principle to Roneo/A B Dick “Centrifuge” style ink transfer.
Please, if that is way of the mark, put me straight, on line, it gets a little interesting.
Thanks and regards, Mick.

Hey, Mick!
No problem with the “probing questions”.
One can not be too carefull when giving out information to unknown quantities. Nuf’ said.

As far as the alternitive impress on the 77, I’m thinking that while the copy cylinder/drum does go ‘round, it’s not that fast and I’m not sure how much actual centrifugal force is generated for the purpose of inking the form.
The machine is only hand cranked and the operator would get tired in a hurry if a certain Surface Speed had to be maintained at the perifery of the drum to assure a steady supply of ink.
Further observation reveales that the inking ‘bottle’ and applicator brush assembly, follow the drum and so would not dispurse any ink except in the spot it was parked in.
Also when the bottle is parked in what must be the ‘print’ position, it is shut off or closed by incerting the operating handle fully through and out the other side to engage in the far side of the drums hollow spindle, where it is locked in place.
So this tells me that the perferated bronze screen that the inking blanket and stencil are fixed to, must be charged with ink befor printing is to begin.
And this would seem plausable as the screen looks to be about 1/8 inch (approx 3mm) thick and the perferated holes maybe 3/16 diameter and lots of them to hold ink in conjunction with the inking blanket (maybe it’s more acurately called a blotter) from there the stencil paper recieves something like a meterd amount of ink to apply to the copy sheet (??)
The paper is fed through automaticly from the infeed tray and is regulated by a gate that is timed to the drum.
There is a feed roller that is located under the drum at the head of the paper gate that must act as a “squeegy” of sorts, as it is tight enough to the drum to firmly pull paper through even without a blanket or stencil page in place.
This roller is also (in near perfect condition, much to my suprize) soft enough for good traction on the paper but also firm enough to act as a platten roller.
Of corse the other possibility is that I’m just talking out the side of my head and this IS just a big fishing reel, as the good lad pointed out….
I’m not sure what kind of ink would have been used in this machine but I’m thinking it would have been fairly ‘loose’.
The ink residue in the machine seems very similer to what I find in other presses I’ve worked on but, this stuff has REALLY hardened on and is very resistant to dental picks and the like.
I don’t like using strong solvents around the beutiful Japan finish but…

Merl

Older A.B. Dick Mimeographs, and I assume this one, used what the company came to refer to as “liquid” ink (as opposed to the “semi-paste” ink used in later models). Although thick, the liquid ink was indeed pourable, came in pint-sized cans with a screw top, and was poured into the ink container inside the machine, from which it flowed (by gravity and maybe capillary action) into the brush, which then transferred it to the inside of the screen on the drum. From there it went through the holes in the screen and soaked the cotton ink pad on the outside of the drum. The stencil covers the ink pad, and when the paper is squeezed against the stencil by the impression roller, ink is squeezed through the image on the stencil and onto the paper. The reason for using a relatively rough-finish and absorbent “mimeograph paper” is that the mimeo ink has no driers (in order to stay liquid) and “dries” by being absorbed into the paper. Do NOT try to use any regular printing ink as it will be too thick and will dry in the brush, screen, and pad, and you’ll have to clean the whole thing all over again!
I do have a couple similar A.B. Dick Mimeographs stashed away (although I’m not sure I have a Model 77), so I may be able to help if you get stuck, but these are fairly simple machines and it sounds like you’ve got it under control.

Dave

Hey, Dave!
Welcome to my madness….
Thanks for chiming in with Mick here, I was beginning to think I might have posted in the wrong place but, see now , not so.
I was hoping you would also weigh in on this as you seem to work with this kind of machine quite a bit (by reading your other posts)
I likely will be pestering you (and anyone else) for information and opinions as I have found little or no other usable information on the ‘net’ concerning the setup and use of the inking mimeograph (vs the spirit duplicators)
I would be just about beside myself if you would have anything like operating instructions or the setup instructions that a setup technician might use.
Kind of like an ‘adjusters manual’ for industrial sewing machines.
I have seen a video on youtube of the 77 being ‘demonstrated’ but the machine was being cranked backwards so I didn’t really get much from it but what the ink pads and the outfeed tray looked like.
Anyway, as I mentioned to Mick above, I have a ways to go before this machine will be putting out copies again but it looks to be in pretty good shape so far.
I understand about the need for a liquid ink for this machine
That’s really what lead me back here to Briar Press, was a discussion on making ones own inks.
I may have to start another thread for that topic.

Merl

Well, I got everything oiled and moving freely for the most part.
Still working on getting the stencil clamps loose and the retainer bars, that hold the inking pad/cloth in place, are M.I.A.
I also realized that there is no way that this machine can feed its own copy sheets.
Each sheet of copy paper must be placed up to the ‘paper gate’ by hand for the print feed to catch it and pass it under the drum to be printed.
Hmm… I would not like to have been the mimeo operator back in the hay days of this machine.
It seems that the A.B.Dick company still makes a modern version of the ink duplicator that makes its own stencils from computer files.
I’m going to have to check that out.

Merl

Merl,

Although I have a fair amount of experience running several different A.B. Dick Mimeographs, they were newer models, and that was quite a few years ago, before I got hooked on Multigraph letterpress duplicators.
On later A.B. Dick mimeos, the retainer bars for the ink pad were crimped onto the ends of the ink pad and therefore replaced when the ink pad was replaced — but I don’t remember if the earlier machines are different.
Sure, paper feeding by hand would have been a skill to acquire, fanning or shingling the sheets so they could be fed into the duplicator — but this was way faster than the flatbed Edison Mimeographs that A.B. Dick was making not too many years before!
I don’t think I have any operating instructions for your vintage of Mimeograph, other than the decal on the feed board (although I have for older ones, pasted inside the wood boxes of the Edison mimeos, and for newer ones). But today is my day in the printshop at the museum so I’ll take a look at the mimeo there, I think it has some directions.

Dave

Hey, Dave!
You’re right about the relative speed of my mimeograph model compared to the original Edison flat bed.
I suppose everything is relative though.
I have some patent applications that are tied to my families history.
They look to have been done with a pantographic pencil duplicator because while they are obviously handwritten all four copies have the exact same ‘squiggles’ and slight imperfections from the aging hand of the copier.
I find it unlikely that the person making the copies made the exact same twitches in the exact same place on each and every copy.
I appreciate your effort in looking for instructions for my mod. 77. Don’t spend more time than you need to.
If I have to figure out everything by trial and error it would be normal for most of what I do around the shop at home.
Of course I did just see that there is a A.B.Dick mod 78 on ebay.
Apparently the 78 is the same as the 77 except it has been redesigned a little to incorporate a self feeding mechanism. Go figure.
I think the $150. they want for it is about $100. too much so I’ll have to learn to hand feed.
I have tried using the eraser end of a pencil but, it doesn’t always feed just one sheet at a time.
I came up with an idea for a simple feed pawl that is run by what is supposed to be the electric power input shaft ( the 77 and 78 were designed for hand or electric powered operation) so I’ll see what can be done with that.
I’m glad you mentioned the retaining bars for the ink pad.
I’m going to look around in the fabric store to try and find something that will make a suitable replacement ink pad.
I’m thinking it will end up being some kind of combination of two different types of cloth.
Thanks again for your help.

Merl.

Hey Merl,
You’re in luck! I got out the Mimeograph at the museum today, and it’s an A.B. Dick Model 77, with instruction book! And even though it’s a 77B, and I think yours must be a 77A, the 8-page instruction “book” covers both. Also the Model 85 Automatic Paper Feed attachment, which I gather must have been an extra-cost option available on at least the 77B (which seems to be the later, or improved version, with a large, full-width ink reservoir instead of the small ink “bottle” and brush I gather yours has). I’ll try to get a chance to scan the book for you but in the meantime ask if you have any questions you think it might answer.
Ink Pad: While the 77B does use pads with the metal strip crimped on each end, the 77A uses separate rods that have to be “inserted through the hem at each end of the pad.” I have a parts machine here at home that I think is probably a Model 76, I’ll have to dig it out and see if it might have the rods you need (and I discovered the museum’s 77B is missing the impression roller, so I need to look for one of those, too). The ink pad cloth is just something like a heavy flannel material; since I have access to new pads for the 77B maybe I can take a sample to a fabric store and find an equivalent to recommend.
More later, although maybe we should take this off-line as it’s not really letterpress-related and I don’t suppose many folks are very interested.

Dave

Hey, Dave!
Wow, what a score on the operators ‘manual’ !
I was really hoping it might describe how the copy paper was to be fed into the machine but I think I have already guessed that.
Still, it would be nice to have copy of that booklet.
I was also wondering where some small, movable, metal, tabs were supposed to go inside the machine but I think I have that guessed at too based on some wear marks.
Check your e-mail for more.

Merl.

So I made an interesting discovery while cleaning up this old mimeograph machine and I thought I would share it with the rest of those out there dealing with old ink on your presses.

I had mentioned in an earlier post that I do/ have done some millright and rebuild work on a few indusrtial presses and that I have only ever had to use laqure thinner to remove old grease and ink.
I’m guessing this is because the machines that I have worked on in the past had not been sitting around for an unknown number of years while the ink and grease/oil hardend up.
Such is the case with this old mimeograph.
I have not been having any real luck with laqure thinner or penetrating oil but, thought I would try some “Brasso” on the brass inking plate.
I was supprized that the Brasso took the old ink right off with little ellbow grease on my part.
I know the Brasso has a fine abrasive in it but that did not account for the speed of the ink removal.
I recognized the undertone of ammonia in the Brasso so I got out some straight ammonia and applied it to the dried ink and let it sit for a minute.
The ammonia does remove the old dry ink fairly well and even better it is able to work into the tightest mechanical joints to free them up as well.
Using an old toothbrush or small brass wire brush the old ink really comes right off in no time.
I don’t know how this would work on letterpress ink but, for this type of liquid ink it works great.
Because ammonia is caustic, you will want to remove it right away from uncoated/unpainted metal parts and I don’t know how it will react with rubber or synthetic roller material so, try it at your own risk….

(Please excuse any spelling mistakes as spell check is off line at the moment)

You can find mimeograph supplies from
Repeat o type company. They have stencils and inks for mimeographs as well as spirit duplicating supplies. The only one in the country.. Also I have mimeograph pads I purchased on Ebay and would be happy to send you a pad if it will help you. I also have some mimeograph stencils. Mimeograph machines are my hobby and have many of them since I was a little kid. I also collect different brands of spirit duplicators and have had many of them. I have an AB Dick electric spirit duplicator that works perfectly Have a few manuals for old mimeo machines.
[email protected]
Hope this helps you. Sam Keller

This is Sam Keller of Massachusetts. Repeat o type was sold but the owner Fred Keen reopened under Supply Source LLC
The web address is WWW.supply-source.net
The phone is 800-288-3330
I think he still carries mimeograph supplies and duplicator supplies as well as ink and fluid. Good luck! Please let me know how you make out. Sam Keller [email protected]
www.supply-source.net
Supply Source, LLC Home Page
SUPPLY-SOURCE.NET

I have a 77B in perfect working order. I has an automatic feed on it and it works precise. Won’t print if the paper doesn’t go thru. I have done some servicing on this machine although it just needed cleaning up. I use Mineral spirits to remove ink.machine. Ammonia and lacquer thinner is too caustic for the machine. I had to make an ink pad because the one on the machine is much like a regular ink pad except it is attached to metal clamps(flat) It is folded in the holder 2 times. I unfolded the stiff metal clamp with screwdriver and pliers and replace the pad with my new one. Would have been easier if I had a vise. Then I refolded the metal around the end of the pad and hammered and pliered flat the holder. I purchased the material at Joanns fabric it’s just cotton unbleached. I has a fuzzy side and a fabric grain side. I have a couple of mimeograph manuals FUNDAMENTALS OF MIMEOGRAPHING 1948 that demonstrate and teach you how to operate and set up the 77 and 78. as well as the complete process of mimeographing. listed on EbayVery similar to the 90’s series.I make my own thermal stencils which I sell to fit any machine. I found a special thermal paper privately made from another country and a copier that will reproduce an exact copy of the print. No thermofax. I sell the stencils custom made for your mimeograph (heading paper with the holes and the proper length for your machine. I have made hundreds of stencils and copies. Will copy anything and even make regular copies on paper. Photos too. I will make cut stencils if you don’t want to buy the copier for them. A little over $100.00 for the copier/printer. $30.00 for 50 stencils. plus shipping. I also repair and sell mimeos and spirit duplicator with a list of suppliers for the products you need. I serviced this equipment years when they were the only office equipment available. Typewriters and adding machines were the main stay. I have operating instructions for the 90’s machines 91 and 92. Still looking for thre manual for the 77 as I haven’t figured everything out. Information is available from the Henry Ford organization. He has ALL, everything Edison and Dick made all cataloged and every piece of equipment and manuals and advertising every put out by A B Dick from 1800’s to 1970 or 80 when the company was sold. They will print any information you need but its costly as everything is in crates and numbered. Printing copies is pricey like 5 bucks a page and research is $$ per hour. but it is the only place to find everything. I have an original Never open model 77 and 78 parts catalog for sale on eBay. I kept the original and made a copy of the catalog. Extremely complete with every screw on the machine. Useful if you are looking for a part or to see how it’s assembled. Leave a message if anything interests you.
You tube under Sam Keller for demos of machines.