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!