Vintage copy machines: See the kinds of old photocopiers that offices used to have

Vintage copy machines See the kinds of old photocopiers that offices used

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The world of vintage office equipment is a fascinating glimpse into how offices operated in the past. We take for granted that photocopiers are just basic office equipment — but it wasn’t always like that. Back in the day, vintage copy machines were really expensive, and not every business could afford them.

The companies that leased or bought the cutting-edge tech of the time, yes, they could make copies — and those were definitely a step up from carbon paper and ditto machines.

Early on, the quality was usually much worse than the originals. Remember this look?

Old photocopied pages

Pretty much from the start, copiers (or Xerox machines, as they were often used, although that was just one brand name of many) were also notorious for breakdowns and paper jams. 

Timeline of vintage copy machines

In the 1960s, the introduction of the first reliable copy machines transformed the workplace. Gone were the days of painstakingly duplicating documents by hand or using carbon paper. Machines like the Xerox 914 brought unprecedented convenience, allowing multiple copies to be made quickly and efficiently. The impact was immediate, with businesses rapidly adopting this new technology to streamline operations.

Women working at an office in 1972 at ClickAmericana com

The 1970s saw further innovations in copy machine technology. Models became more compact and easier to use, with features like automatic document feeders and improved print quality. Companies like IBM and Canon entered the market, pushing the boundaries of what these machines could do. Copy machines became an indispensable tool in offices, enhancing productivity and communication.

By the 1980s, copy machines had evolved into sophisticated devices capable of producing high-quality color prints. This decade marked the peak of analog copy technology before the shift to digital began. The machines from this era are now cherished by collectors and enthusiasts, who appreciate their design and engineering. These vintage devices offer a nostalgic reminder of a time when office work was more tactile and mechanical.

Business office copies in 1970 at ClickAmericana com

To help you remember the heyday of photocopiers a few decades ago, we’ve curated a collection of vintage advertisements and photos from the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s to showcase the evolution of copy machines. These images provide a visual history of how these machines changed over the decades, reflecting the technological advancements and aesthetic trends of their times.

Have a scroll (and we can all be grateful that email and scanners have made running a business nowadays so much simpler!).

Vintage Apeco UniMatic Auto-Stat copying machine (1960)

Apeco: The only 1-step instant copymaker that can COPY EVERYTHING.

Vintage Apeco UniMatic Auto-Stat copying machine (1960)

Old-fashioned Kodak Verifax Copying machine (1961)

Closer the better! You don’t know what a great convenience a Kodak Verifax Copier is until you have one right in your office or department.

No more waiting for copies, no more holding the fort while your secretary trips off to a distant copier.

ALSO SEE: 50+ sexist vintage ads so bad, you almost won’t believe they were real

Now, in 1 minute — instead of ten or more — you’ll have 5 dry, easy-to-read Verifax copies of anything typed, drawn, written or printed.

What’s more, with a Verifax Copier right at hand instead of “miles away,” you’ll take full advantage of all the short cuts Verifax copying offers.

Old-fashioned Kodak Verifax Copying machine (1961)

Vintage 3M dry photo-copier 107 (1963)

The 3M Company is pleased to introduce a new style leader… a new performance leader…  combined in the compact 3M Brand Dry Photo-Copier.

This beautifully designed machine utilizes the most modern dry photo-copying process — “dual-spectrum” copying, developed by 3M research.

No inks, chemicals or powders are needed . . yet every copy is a precise reproduction of the original on white, dry, bond-weight paper.

The cost? As little as 5 cents for a truly top-quality copy.

Would you believe that this deceptively compact typewriter-sized copier could produce perfect copies from originals of all colors: business letters, blueprints, price sheets, illustrations, “spirit” copies, even full-color pages in bound books and magazines? It does… and every copy is sharp, brilliant-white, instantly usable.

Remember — the new 3M Dry Photo-Copier is completely dry, completely clean. Anybody can use it anytime, anywhere, with any original.


ALSO SEE: Old office telephone systems like these were big business back in the 1960s

Vintage 3M dry photo-copier 107 (1963)

Vintage 3M office equipment - dry photocopier 107 (1963)

Vintage Kodak Readyprint and Verifax Cavalcade copiers (1964)

KODAK READYPRINT Copier, first choice for fast single copy needs.

VERIFAX CAVALCADE Copier, first choice for all-around copying.

Which of these all-new KODAK copiers is right for you?

If you’ve been taking a long, hard look at your copying costs lately, you’ll want to know about these two new copiers from Kodak.

The VERIFAX CAVALCADE Copier is designed to save real money in offices that usually need more than one copy at a time. If your normal copying needs run to single copies, however, the KODAK READYPRINT Copier is ideal for you.

The low cost of these copiers lets you install them at every point of need. You get up to seven crisp, legible, low-cost quality copies from one sheet of matrix with your VERIFAX CAVALCADE Copier; sparkling single copies in seconds from the KODAK READYPRINT Copier. Both have the advantage of cartridge loading, so you never handle a solution.

See these trim new automated copiers at your Kodak Copy Products dealer’s. Visit his Copy Center today, or write EASTMAN KODAK COMPANY, Roch-ester, N. Y. 14650, for colorful and informative brochures.

New advances in office copying keep coming from KODAK

DON’T MISS: Computers in the 1960s: What they looked like & how they were used

Vintage Kodak copiers (1964)

HP OfficeJet Pro 8135e Wireless All-in-One Color Inkjet Printer, Print, Scan, Copy, Fax, ADF, Duplex...
  • FROM AMERICA'S MOST TRUSTED PRINTER BRAND – The OfficeJet Pro 8135e is perfect for home offices printing professional-quality color documents like business documents, reports, presentations and...
  • UPGRADED FEATURES – Fast color printing, scan, copy, fax, auto 2-sided printing, auto document feeder, and a 225-sheet input tray.
  • WIRELESS PRINTING – Stay connected with our most reliable dual-band Wi-Fi, which automatically detects and resolves connection issues.

Vintage Gafax 500 office copier (1967)

Introducing the Gafax 500. The first copier you don’t have to hide in the corner.

Style: The GAFAX 500 is the first electrostatic copier that comes in decorator colors.

Economy: Its real beauty is the price: only $685.

Reliability: The roll-fed GAFAX 500 gives you clear, sharp copies every time. And it comes on an adjustable stand so you can have it put right next to your secretary’s desk. She can even change rolls and imager in less than one minute.

If you think the GAFAX 500 is nice to look at, just look at the price again. — General Aniline & Film Corporation

Vintage Gafax 500 office copier (1967)

Remington Plain Paper Copier (1973)

The new REMINGTON 530 plain paper copier. Give yourself a copy break. 

It makes clear, crisp copies on bond paper. It’s tabletop size, easily movable, plugs into any ordinary outlet.

At $3250; it’s finally one plain paper copier you can easily buy it’s available on low cost rental or lease plans.

MORE: President Eisenhower had no idea how to use a rotary-dial telephone, even though he was given the 50 millionth phone

Remington Plain Paper Copier (1973)

Vintage ’70s 3M 237 copy machine from 1975

Vintage 3M 237 copy machine from 1975

Vintage 3M 051 business desktop photocopier (1975)

You’ve put a lot into your company. A lot of time, effort… and money. And the last thing you need is a copier you can’t afford. But you do need one.

Take a look at the 3M 051 copier. As you can see. it s desktop size. And it’s completely dry. No messy toners or chemicals to bother with.

You get clear, accurate copies when you need them. All this for under $200.

ALSO SEE: See old office cubicles & retro open plan office layouts from the ’70s

Vintage 3M business desktop photocopier from 1975

Kodak Ektaprint AF copier-duplicators (1976)

Delivers completely finished sets – automatically

Now get more from a high-speed copier than just copies. Two new Kodak Ektaprint AF copier-duplicators deliver multipage copies assembled, stapled and stacked — ready for distribution — in completely finished sets (CFS).

Kodak Ektaprint AF copier-duplicators (1976)

Vintage yellow Kodak Ektaprint AF copier-duplicators (1976)

How do you use a rotary-dial phone? See what they were like, plus get top telephone tips from the olden days

Vintage Pitney Bowes PBC copiers (1976)

Vintage Pitney Bowes PBC copier (1976)

Minolta EP 300 vintage copier: $2195 (1982)

Xerox and IBM give you copies as good as the Minolta EP 300. They just cost more.

When we say Xerox and IBM give you copies as good as the Minolta EP 300, we’re being modest. Because 74% of consumers interviewed by Nationwide Consumer Testing Institute said the copies produced by the EP 300 were clearly superior.

So, while the Xerox and IBM certainly do bigger jobs, they don’t do better jobs than the Minolta EP 300, when it comes to copy quality. The EP 300 has Minolta’s exclusive micro-toning system. So its copies are extraordinarily crisp and clear. With blacker blacks. From top to bottom and edge to edge. On virtually any paper up to 10 x 14″.

Minolta EP: There’s also an electronic troubleshooter to spot and prevent problems And a universal tray so you can change paper sizes without changing trays. It’s all in a copier hardly larger than an office typewriter.

MORE: Remember vintage dot matrix printers like these from the 70s & 80s?

Minolta EP 300 vintage copier (1982)

Canon PIXMA TR8620a - All-in-One Printer Home Office|Copier|Scanner|Fax|Auto Document Feeder |...
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  • Wireless 4-in-1 (Print | Copy | Scan | Fax)

Vintage Xerox 50 Series Convenience Copier (1988)

Introducing Xerox 50 Series Convenience Copiers. Reliability. Backed by a 3-year warranty. And a 50-year heritage.

Since the invention of the copier 50 year, ago. Xerox innovation in document processing has been making the office more and more productive.

Now Xerox introduces the 5018 and the 5028 Convenience Copiers — with the longest, strongest assurance of productivity and reliability in the business.

Vintage Xerox 50 Series Convenience Copier (1988)

NOW SEE THIS: Vintage fax machines: When this new tech was poised to conquer all in its path (1989)

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Comments on this story

2 Responses

  1. Started in the Federal Government after school in 1971 and put many an hour on these machines. I worked in personnel so it was typing in duplicate on carbon-pacs and xeroxing most of the day. The facsimile came later and then the rest is technology history. Still miss those days and those office parties.

  2. In the days before most documents were digital, copiers were utterly essential. I spent most of my time in my first job out of college in the mid-80s troubleshooting, clearing jams and changing toner in our office copier. And of course, every office had That Guy/Girl who tried to photocopy their face, butt or boobs. I knew a guy who broke a high-end copier sitting on it trying to photocopy his butt.

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