“What Does It Cost?”


Despite their invention in the mid 1950’s, Xerox machines were definitely a luxury and not part of ordinary life. I graduated from college in 1969, and my papers were still being duplicated with carbon paper. Even when I began teaching, using mimeograph machines was the only way to reproduce classroom materials. Not until the late 1970’s did I work somewhere with access to a Xerox machine. And at the college where I was doing graduate work, each copy was expensive. I remember having to pay 25 cents for a copy at first. Since at that time 25 cents was the equivalent of $1.11 in today’s money, this was a large expense for a graduate student. I used the Xerox very sparingly, and more often just copied material by hand onto index cards from the sources I needed to cite.

Doing research on index cards also shows my age. Today one can collect images, data and information in files on the computer. But when I was researching, I wrote every citation down on a card and then shuffled the cards until I was satisfied with the order I needed, whether alphabetical or chronological.

Amazingly, I now have a machine which cost me $89 which can fax, print,scan and copy. I pay only for the ink and the paper. No one could have made me believe that one day I would be able to research at home and duplicate my own material. And my machine doesn’t even need quarters!


5 thoughts on ““What Does It Cost?”

  1. When I was in primary school I used to do my school research at the local library and we used to pay to photocopy out of the books. I had limited funds so I used to often summarise the information I needed by hand.


  2. I remember being young and thinking that what I wished for was a copy machine I could have at home. At the time it was a silly dream, but now anyone can have one.


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