Mimeo, short for a text reproduced with a mimeograph and the name of this blog, refers to an outdated process of mechanical manuscript reproduction. Such manuscripts were understood as works in progress serving a communicative process, a process that we aim to emulate through the medium of this blog. Relieved of analog restrictions, the blog medium allows for a significantly larger audience to be reached and engaged in the long term. The emphasis is therefore placed on discussions of snapshots from individual research projects and, ultimately, on the further development of ideas. These short texts present historical moments that serve as miniatures to refer to more encompassing historical contexts.
Beyond its materiality, the technical apparatus behind the blog’s name is itself subject to a convoluted historical development. In 1887, Albert Blake Dick licensed an invention by Thomas Edison, who eleven years previously had still referred to it as the »electric pen,« under the name »mimeograph.« This original device still required each sheet to be reproduced individually, but the machine would soon be decisively thoroughly redesigned by David Gestetner, who hailed from a Hungarian Jewish family. In place of a flatbed, Gestetner’s device used a rotating cylinder. By 1890, he was already able to produce 1,200 copies per hour with this machine. In collaboration with Raymond Loewy, probably one of the most renowned North American product designers of the twentieth century, who also stemmed from a Jewish family, Gestetner’s company placed a modern mimeograph on the market that is considered today as the precursor of the mass-producing photocopier.