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Beck Speedograph: What do you know about this duplicator?

By Neal McChristy

Speedograph1If you've ever heard of a Speedograph and know some its uses, Gary Whitwell would like to talk to you.

The intrigue of the instrument captured the attention of Whitwell, who lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario, Canada, last spring when he saw one when looking at antique equipment.

"It's just one of those weird thiings when you're our there walking around," Whitwell said, "and I saw this thing and I said to my wife, 'If I knew what this was, I'd buy it.' "

The device is approximately 50 pounds. It has a slanted table and in the middle is a slide bar that goes from top to bottom. The slanted table lifts upward. On the bottom is a wooden roller with a slot in it.

The nameplate has the following words:
Beck Duplicating Company
476 Broadway New York
Patented March 25, 1921
Serial Number is S9-1113
Speedograph2 Whitwell is a lab supervisor in Hamilton, Ontario, halfway between Buffalo, N.Y. and Toronto. He's not an avid collector, but he and his wife enjoy going to the auctions, such as the one near Dundas, Ontario, where they collected the Speedograph.

"The reason we bought this was for a conversation piece," Whitwell said, "and it certainly has been that."

Editor's Note: We will publish correspondence about the Beck duplicator as it arrives as a supplement to this article. Please e-mail Neal McChristy, editor of RS&R News, and we will forward the e-mail to Gary Whitwell.


Jay Respler of Advanced Business Machines, Freehold, N.J., says the Speedograph was an offset duplicating machine.

It was a flatbed type and used a gelatin film wound on spools. The speed was 20-25 copies per minute, and the price, depending on size was $90-150 in 1924.

John Lewis, Sr., Albuquerque, N.M., sends this from The American Digest of Business Machines:
"Manufactured by the Beck Duplicator company, 476 Broadway, New York City. Sold direct and through their specially-appointed dealers and agents.

"A flatbed type of machine using a gelatin film wound on spools. Its paper-feeding device is a principal feature. It feeds the sheets automatically to the copying surface, providing accuracy of registration, with a speed of 20 to 25 copies per minute.

"A supply of sheets is place in the feeding frame, which, when drawn down to the bed of the machine, feeds a single sheet at a time to the exact position on the copying surface. The impression roller is then passed over the sheet, bringing it into full contact with the copying surface.

"The impression roller is an integral part of this machine It is easy-running and adjustable to afford evenness of impressions by maintaining correct and uniform pressure on the sheet as it is brought in contact with the copying surface. Amy number of copies up to 100 can be made from the original."

The Speedograph, according to The American Digest of Business Machines, was one of several offset duplicating machines that included the Schapirograph multicopier, also a flatbed duplicator and the Simplograph, both New York-manufactured, as was the Universal, a duplicator. The United States duplicator, made by the U.S. Duplicator Co., 622 W. Lake St., Chicago, is one made elsewhere.

Post your response: Send e-mail to Neal McChristy, editor of RS&R News,

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