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Dead medium: the Edison Electric Pen
From: (Bruce Sterling)
Source(s): Source: MENLO PARK REMINISCENCES. Volume One by Francis Jehl

Dover Publications Inc 1990, originally published by the

Edison Institute, 1937
ISBN 0-486-26357-6

pages 96 - 99

"With the coming of the typewriter and the

subsequent use of that machine in preparing stencils, the

electric pen passed from use. At one time, however, more

than 60,000 were in offices, and its use had spread

outside the United States. It could be found in many

government offices in Washington, D.C., as well as the

majority of large industries such as railroads. (...)

"The electric pen was not confined to circular

letters and the like, but could be found in restaurants

where it was used for making up the bill of fare. I well

remember buying a book on 'How to Learn to Telegraph,'

containing many different diagrams of sounders, relays,

and switches, which were all printed by the Edison

Electric Pen process.

"Then there was a comic sheet, which was circulated

by some sort of telegraphic fraternity. (((Note: this

"comic sheet" may be the earliest known "net fanzine,"

telegraphic net-gossip reproduced in hard copy with

an Edison Electric Pen.))) It was also prepared with

the Edison pen, and you would be surprised at the artistic

designs which could be produced by this little device.

"Among the treasures in the Edison collection at

Dearborn (((Michigan, USA))) is a scrapbook (...) The

book contains pictures, calling cards, letterheads,

invoice forms, menus, and many other examples of work

actually done with the electric pen back in 1875."