I recently obtained a CARDMASTER - it is a little postcard printer. Trouble is I have NO IDEA how to use it, but would like to figure it out. I suspect it was manufactured sometime around 1949-1950 in Chicago… Any ideas?

Log in to reply   6 replies so far

The name does not ring any bells at all for me. If it is possible to post a picture or two of it, that would be extremely helpful and someone should be able to at least hazard a guess as to how it operates based on what the pictures reveal.

Your Cardmaster is a mimeographic press. You need a stencil, typewritten or hand-drawn. Naturally, stencils are impossible to find.

John Horn

I suspect that if you have access to a Risograph (or similar) digital duplicator/printer you may with some experimentation be able to work out how to use this machine to cut a stencil for the CardMaster - and for other flatbed and perhaps rotary and semi-rotary mimeo-type machines - as the Risograph uses what is effectively mimeo stencil material in roll form which it fits under a clamp on the ink drum at the header end of the stencil after cutting it. The Riso’s built-in scanner and stencil cutter is as easy to use as a photocopier.

It should be fairly simple to carefully remove the stencil from the Riso’s ink drum once it has been auto-cut and fitted, but also a bit messy.

If you use a “Print Gocco” multicolour hand printer and can get ink but not stencils and exposure bulbs where you live, this may be a way round that problem too, but you’ll need to exercise some ingenuity to sort out the details.

Insert a piece of ordinary kitchen waxed paper into a manual typewriter - set to neutral - then type your text. You can also hand-scribe the waxed paper with a sharpened sylus. Saturate the Cardmaster pad using a food colouring/glycerine/alcohol (aftershave)solution, trim the prepared waxed paper (now stencil) and mount it to the Cardmaster bail, and have fun. (Aniline-based dyes (for ink pads) are readily available at hobby shops, but are a messy - and permanent - ink.) As for the finished product, well, ever remember the horribly-rendered Gestetner-produced papers of high-school yore? Same principle - same result.

So there you have it. Two quite different solutions. Do a Google search on digital duplicators and click on “Duplicators Go Digital” to find out more about them. If you have access to one, it will cut a stencil for you to a standard we woudn’t have thought possible in the old days. Having cut it, just slide or lift the ink drum out, carefully release the new stencil, trim and fit it to your own machine, and you should be producing top quality print at rock bottom cost with almost no hassle.
If you don’t need such quality or if you don’t have access to such a sophisticated stencil cutter, the “forme” recipe should be a very workable way of substituting readily available materials for what was used in the past but may no longer be available

And if you just want to see if you can make it work using traditional stencils, and only need a few, I probably still have some around somewhere. You could probably cut half a dozen the small size for the Cardmaster from a standard size stencil.