Electric Pen

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Sketch by Edison of Electric Pen

History

The patent for Edison's Electric Pen, entitled Improvement in Autographic Printing was filed on March 13, 1876. The Electric Pen was Edison's "first experimental work in document copying and multiple duplication" (Baldwin 69). The device was invented for the niche market of business men needing to multiple copies of legal documents. The pen, however, was more versatile than for just business purposes and was popular and sold well. Beginning at the bargain price of just 35 dollars the Edison Electric Pen was marketed for any use from personal letters, music, contracts, manifestos, and artistic drawings. The pen was first sold exclusively to the east coast but quickly exanded to the midwest and to British Columbia and England. Eventually, Edison sold the rights to the Western Electric company, but the rights and patent finally ended up in the hands A.B. Dick of Chicago who developed the next reduplication invention: the mimeograph.

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"London, Printed for Private Circulation on the Edison Electrical Autographic Press 1876"

How the Electric Pen Works

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Early Sketches of different models for Electric Pen by Edison

Autographic Print

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Example of Autographic Print from A question of authorship, involving a case of literary larceny by John Thomas Dexter

Electric Pen Improved and Remediation

A Letter from a Baptist Missionary