By Rich Dana
Obsolete Press, Coralville, IA, 2022
Pages: 108 pages with tipped in manilla envelope with stencil materials
Dimensions: 8 in x 10 in
Binding: metal spiral-bound
Process: silkscreen and inkjet
Edition size: open edition
In addition to the how-to manual, the book is also a meditation on technology, highbrow vs lowbrow art, and rediscovering freedom in the non-digital world.
This book is packed with info, instructions, illustrations, and reference material that will help you get started printing zines, posters, flyers, stickers, and more, without fancy equipment or expensive supplies.
What the HELL are mimeos and hectos? Is a Spirit Duplicator some weird religious thing?
The printing techniques featured in the book include low-cost, common "copying" methods that require little or no specialized training or equipment.
Hecto appeared in the 1870s and was used widely for making office or school copies. It's an amazingly simple technology, requiring no mechanical devices. By mixing gelatin and glycerin, you can make a printing pad that can produce 40 copies, be wiped clean, and be used again and again.
An offshoot of hectography, spirit duplicator machines are a type of tabletop cylinder press. The master sheet is wrapped around a drum, which is hand-cranked or motorized. Known as "Ditto Machines, " they make purple copies with an intoxicating smell loved by schoolkids everywhere.
Mimeos are stencil duplicators that can still be found second-hand, or you can make your own! Similar to silkscreen or Riso printing, mimeo offers a broad range of color choices and can print many more copies than the spirit method.