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Eldergays, tell us about keypunch and other old school office things


by Anonymousreply 201November 24, 2021 4:21 PM

Three-martini lunches

fucking the secretary on the desk

sucking off the security guard in a supply closet

by Anonymousreply 1November 6, 2021 10:39 PM

But what about old typewriters and computers, R1?

by Anonymousreply 2November 6, 2021 10:42 PM

^ What about them?

by Anonymousreply 3November 6, 2021 10:47 PM

We had great Christmas parties...

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by Anonymousreply 4November 6, 2021 10:49 PM

[quote]But what about old typewriters and computers, [R1]?

If you had the right manager, you could throw a hairpin in your typewriter and take the afternoon off...

while they waited for the "repair MAN"

(Hahaha! as if a woman could fix anything!)

by Anonymousreply 5November 6, 2021 10:51 PM

We had a ball.

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by Anonymousreply 6November 6, 2021 10:51 PM

Rush hour was a bitch...

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by Anonymousreply 7November 6, 2021 10:54 PM

I had no computer on my desk. I wrote with a pen. I’m a fossil.

by Anonymousreply 8November 6, 2021 10:56 PM

Mindy was a wiz at the switchboard...

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by Anonymousreply 9November 6, 2021 10:56 PM

[quote]We had great Christmas parties...

If you like getting felt up by the obnoxious manager with bad breath, dentures, and greasy hair, who was wearing a dirty suit and a truss for his hernia

by Anonymousreply 10November 6, 2021 10:58 PM

How did they work...were they hard to use etc...R3.

by Anonymousreply 11November 6, 2021 11:01 PM

[quote]were they hard to use etc

No, they were extremely easy and efficient to operate

which is why they continue to compete today with computers

by Anonymousreply 12November 6, 2021 11:03 PM

Hey, made money as a keypunch operator in college. 14K keystrokes per hour, beat THAT bitches!

by Anonymousreply 13November 6, 2021 11:04 PM

[quote]Mindy was a wiz at the switchboard...

But she got a reputation for being fast, because she wore those short skirts

and no man would marry her, so she died at that switchboard

by Anonymousreply 14November 6, 2021 11:06 PM

"Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate" or you'd have to answer to these women

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by Anonymousreply 15November 6, 2021 11:22 PM

There was no need to buy your own cigarettes thanks to the profusion of second-hand smoke.

by Anonymousreply 16November 6, 2021 11:24 PM

Only $3400.00 for a 10MB Hard Drive... Those were the days

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by Anonymousreply 17November 6, 2021 11:25 PM

After a hard day at the office we all went home to watch our Betamax

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by Anonymousreply 18November 6, 2021 11:28 PM

I rememer in the 70's there were a lot of help wanted ads looking for keypunch operators.

by Anonymousreply 19November 6, 2021 11:31 PM

The noise! Anyone who's ever used a keypunch machine will never forget it.

by Anonymousreply 20November 6, 2021 11:32 PM

And speaking of noise, you had the daisy-wheel printer. We had to put the thing in a special box and it was still noisy as hell.

by Anonymousreply 21November 6, 2021 11:35 PM

[quote] Mindy was a wiz at the switchboard...

Maybe, but she was a cunt.

Bitch misdirected my calls all the time. I think she did it on purpose because she suspected I was gay and therefore not into her.

by Anonymousreply 22November 6, 2021 11:36 PM

I used to bring stacks of keypunch cards to the Data Processing Department, which was a noisy room enclosed in glass.

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by Anonymousreply 23November 6, 2021 11:37 PM

What is a daisy wheel printer?

by Anonymousreply 24November 6, 2021 11:37 PM

[quote] 14K keystrokes per hour, beat THAT bitches!

I never actually counted the number of strokes I did in an hour. Though I will say 14,000 does seem like a lot. Maybe one day I’ll count—

Oh! You said KEYstrokes. Oh, never mind.

by Anonymousreply 25November 6, 2021 11:37 PM

CC literally meant carbon copy. You had to pound those keys to make two copies at once. It was hell on my Lee Press Ons.

by Anonymousreply 26November 6, 2021 11:37 PM

R24, look up Daisy Chain. That’ll tell you all about it. It was a brand name like Kleenex.

by Anonymousreply 27November 6, 2021 11:38 PM

Then there was the Telex machine. You learned to be terse writing Telexes.

by Anonymousreply 28November 6, 2021 11:38 PM

[quote]How did they work...were they hard to use etc.

I'm the office supply closet full of typewriter ribbons and correction fluid (called Liquid Paper or White Out)

Even when you spent hours typing a document and carefully covering the mistakes with correction fluid,

it generally looked like a bird had shit all over it

by Anonymousreply 29November 6, 2021 11:39 PM

That just tells us you didn’t type very well, r29.

by Anonymousreply 30November 6, 2021 11:39 PM

Mimeo wasn't what it was all cracked up to be.

by Anonymousreply 31November 6, 2021 11:41 PM

I’ll bet if Ginny in Billing were still with us (may she Rest In Peace) she’d know a lot about this.

by Anonymousreply 32November 6, 2021 11:41 PM

[quote]But she got a reputation for being fast, because she wore those short skirts

It was just her short skirts, I saw Mr. Harbinger feeling her up at the Christmas Party once!

by Anonymousreply 33November 6, 2021 11:41 PM

R29 You should have worked in an office that could afford the auto-correcting Selectric.

by Anonymousreply 34November 6, 2021 11:42 PM

There would be hell to pay if you wrote down the wrong phone number.

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by Anonymousreply 35November 6, 2021 11:42 PM

All the kids loved to get a buzz when the teacher would hand out something copied on Mineograph Paper.

[quote] The materials made mimeographed paper have a unique smell. That fragrance came from the machine's output; the duplicator fluid had methanol and isopropanol in it.

by Anonymousreply 36November 6, 2021 11:43 PM

[quote]That just tells us you didn’t type very well, [R29].—Marjorie, Typing Pool

Aren't you just adorable, Marge!

(She's a temp with a flat chest - she'll never get hired no matter how well she types.)

by Anonymousreply 37November 6, 2021 11:44 PM

R36 No, you are confusing ditto paper with mimeograph paper. You're no doubt a pretender who was not there.

by Anonymousreply 38November 6, 2021 11:45 PM

The Christmas parties were joyous affairs.

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by Anonymousreply 39November 6, 2021 11:45 PM

Transcription (great fun after those guys with dentures went on their 3-martini lunches)

by Anonymousreply 40November 6, 2021 11:46 PM

[quote] something copied on Mineograph Paper.

Sal’s company?

by Anonymousreply 41November 6, 2021 11:46 PM


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by Anonymousreply 42November 6, 2021 11:48 PM

Ditto machines and mimeographs are similar

However the ditto machines used spirits to disolve a layer of the special ink used on the master copy which then transferred to each copy. Dittos could therefore only reliably produce 40 or so copies from each master. A new master would then have to be re-written if further copies were required. I remember volunteering to rewrite some masters of worksheets when I was at school by using a copy already produced and a sheet of special carbon copy paper with a blank sheet of paper underneath to trace it into. This would then be good for another 40 sheets!

Mimeographs required the original to be a specially prepared stencil through which ink could be forced. This could produce many more copies, but required the original to be prepared onto a durable stencil master (eg a thin metal foil). Once the stencil wore out, you’d have to prepare a new one

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by Anonymousreply 43November 6, 2021 11:48 PM

Dot matrix printer. Paper had little holes on the sides.

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by Anonymousreply 44November 6, 2021 11:50 PM

[quote]Transcription (great fun after those guys with dentures went on their 3-martini lunches)

You have no idea...they were the ones who generally wanted you to sit in their laps while they gave you dictation, while being poked by their...um, let's just say big fat bellies...

by Anonymousreply 45November 6, 2021 11:52 PM

The Rolodex was indispensable.

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by Anonymousreply 46November 6, 2021 11:52 PM


We know where old Mr. Knickerbacher wanted to put his "dick-tation

by Anonymousreply 47November 6, 2021 11:52 PM

[quote]Dot matrix printer. Paper had little holes on the sides.

The paper feed would easily fail due to misalignment and paper hole breaks....

If you didn't watch it constantly, you could come back to find miles and miles of ruined piles of paper

by Anonymousreply 48November 6, 2021 11:54 PM

R24 A daisy wheel is a flat disk maybe about 4 inches in diameter cut into little fingers sprouting from the center. The tip of the finger has a letter or symbol embossed on it. When you hit a key a the wheel rotates to just the right position over the typewriter ribbon where it gets hit by a little hammer that transfers the letter or symbol to the page. It sounds complicated but it’s not and very very fast. I still have a daisy wheel typewriter for a few things that A word processor isn’t good for.

by Anonymousreply 49November 6, 2021 11:55 PM

I'll bet Ginny in Billing never had one of these babies...

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by Anonymousreply 50November 6, 2021 11:58 PM

[quote]I’ll bet if Ginny in Billing were still with us (may she Rest In Peace) she’d know a lot about this.

I know that cunt Marjorie @ R30 is a big phony job-stealer!

by Anonymousreply 51November 6, 2021 11:58 PM

IBM Selectric typewriter. Loved typing on these. Very satisfying.

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by Anonymousreply 52November 6, 2021 11:59 PM

Fax machine as big as two washing machines.

by Anonymousreply 53November 7, 2021 12:02 AM

[quote]Fax machine as big as two washing machines.

The Xerox machine (a/k/a copier) was as big as a laundry room...and very sensitive

by Anonymousreply 54November 7, 2021 12:07 AM

Don’t forget to empty the receptacle of the shavings.

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by Anonymousreply 55November 7, 2021 12:14 AM

This is Herb he liked to suck dick in the supply closet...

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by Anonymousreply 56November 7, 2021 12:15 AM

The guy who came around to polish your shoes.

by Anonymousreply 57November 7, 2021 12:20 AM

The Donald Trump Flatulence Epidemic

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by Anonymousreply 58November 7, 2021 12:24 AM

^ Pardon me...

by Anonymousreply 59November 7, 2021 12:25 AM

No apology necessary, R59

it's always right to post evidence that the Trump is guilty of all the things the Boris trolls are now trying to accuse Biden of

by Anonymousreply 60November 7, 2021 12:27 AM

Ginny about cried when we got her one of these... Whatever the hell it is

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by Anonymousreply 61November 7, 2021 12:31 AM

Then Ginny cried when we replaced her with this...

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by Anonymousreply 62November 7, 2021 12:32 AM

Oh my first attempt at college - first semester they taught us BASIC on a DEC PDP-11/70 running RSTS/E. The funny part is I knew both BASIC and RSTS/E already as my aunt had admin'd a PDP-11/34. She let me read the system manuals.

That got me involved in using DCL/CCL and capturing the system console. Great fun to be had.

Next semester I had PL/I on fucking punch cards. I hated the IBM 029 key punches.

by Anonymousreply 63November 7, 2021 12:35 AM

I think either you just had a stroke or your keyboard is broken.

by Anonymousreply 64November 7, 2021 12:42 AM

“Don’t use the printer. I’m printing labels!”

by Anonymousreply 65November 7, 2021 12:44 AM

Pet Peeve: Printing out an important letter or memo and discovering that the person who used the printer before you didn’t take out the pink paper.

by Anonymousreply 66November 7, 2021 12:48 AM

" —What the hell did he say?"

He said he knows how to run one of these

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by Anonymousreply 67November 7, 2021 12:49 AM


by Anonymousreply 68November 7, 2021 12:56 AM

Important letters are SUPPOSED to be on pink paper!

by Anonymousreply 69November 7, 2021 12:57 AM

R69 No. Pink is for the office chron file.

by Anonymousreply 70November 7, 2021 1:00 AM

R35 I can't find a pic right now but do you remember the companion pad of "Long Distance Call" chits? There was hell to pay as well for anyone who made a long distance call but didn't fill out this record so the cost could be allocated to the proper department.

by Anonymousreply 71November 7, 2021 1:04 AM

“Where did she put that file?”

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by Anonymousreply 72November 7, 2021 1:06 AM

[quote] No. Pink is for the office chron file.

That depends on who the important letter was for. If it was for my boyfriend then—

Oh, I’ve said too much already.

by Anonymousreply 73November 7, 2021 1:07 AM

Oh, man... fax machines! Your office was up the creek until the technician could come a couple of business days later to clear a jam.

Decades ago, I knew a couple of gay guys who were copier techs. I didn't realize the reason they wore suits had to do with the claim that the machines were so clean.

If you wanted to type with italics, there was a separate ball to be swapped for that.

For the fascinated whippersnappers here, any phone calls roughly 10 miles or more away incurred a special surcharge called a "toll" - - a 5-minute Coast-to-Coast call during the business day could easily cost as much as ten bucks. Back in the day when Unlimited Nationwide calling was first available, my mother yelled "feck that shite!" and was one of the first to sign up.

Another nugget for our younger historians, would involve reading about beepers: they buzzed like a mobile phone set on vibrate, but required the recipient to contact their office, or answering service, to learn the details of the emergency. I suppose, recently, the closest I've come to it are restaurants that give you a vibrating unit that let you know when your table is ready?

by Anonymousreply 74November 7, 2021 1:12 AM

I do remember those R71. My office had something comparable to this that had to be turned in weekly or monthly after the manager signed off on it.

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by Anonymousreply 75November 7, 2021 1:12 AM

[quote] the closest I've come to it are restaurants that give you a vibrating unit that let you know when your table is ready?

Mmmmmmm. What restaurant would this be?

by Anonymousreply 76November 7, 2021 1:22 AM

Cheesecake Factory.

by Anonymousreply 77November 7, 2021 1:34 AM

The Dictaphone. In the late 70s I worked in a "steno pool" of an insurance company, hooked up to one of these babies all day. You wore a headset and the machine had foot pedals that you used to pause, rewind or fast forward. The tapes were bright blue and you loaded them into the machine. You listened to the voice of the various insurance adjusters dictating letters and reports, ending most sentences with "period, paragraph" and telling you what to capitalize, etc.

It was boring as HELL, but at least I didn't have to talk to my co workers. I lasted about 6 months. Incredibly, I see that these things are still around.

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by Anonymousreply 78November 7, 2021 1:39 AM

Thanks, eldergays of DL! I'm loving your stories!

by Anonymousreply 79November 7, 2021 1:46 AM

[quote]correction fluid (called Liquid Paper or White Out)

or the delightfully punny named "Snopaque" - and if you rushed and typed before the fluid had dried on the paper it made an ungodly mess.

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by Anonymousreply 80November 7, 2021 1:53 AM

I remember someone from accounts payable making the rounds and handing out paychecks. If you were going to be away from your desk for a period of time, you had to ask someone to take your check.

We were given an extra 15 minutes at lunchtime to go to the bank to cash our checks.

by Anonymousreply 81November 7, 2021 1:56 AM

The first photocopiers printed on a shiny paper. The copy wasn’t black, it was a dark gray. Was it like thermal paper from fax machines? I can’t remember. But it was amazing, you could just photocopy something a bunch of times to hand it out…a report, drawings, receipts and checks.

by Anonymousreply 82November 7, 2021 2:00 AM

This is not really an office thing, but somewhat related. My first job when I was going to school was at Kmart. Every Friday we got paid in cash. We had to go to the "cash cage" where we got a little sealed envelope with our paystub and cash in exact change. Yes, there was loose change and paper money in the envelope!

Also, the checkout registers didn't have scanners. You had to look at the price tag on every item and manually punch it into the register, then hit the product category key. If there was no price tag, you had to get on the PA and ask for a price check on register 3 (or whatever number you were).

by Anonymousreply 83November 7, 2021 2:02 AM

R78 I was probably one of those adjusters dictating to you! I had to dictate all letters and reports into my tiny little dictaphone mini cassettes. You probably cursed me out when I failed to spell out the medical and legal terminology. You couldn’t Google back then for the correct spelling.

by Anonymousreply 84November 7, 2021 2:03 AM

Before Wite-Out, we had to use these things to carefully erase our typos and brush away the evidence.

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by Anonymousreply 85November 7, 2021 2:07 AM

I had a Secretary in the 80s who typed 140 words per minute on an IBM Selectric…it was the most incredible thing I’d seen.

In grad school we still ran programs with punch cards…you’d spend hours punching them, then take the deck to the reader, which would occasionally malfunction and spit them all over the room. If you forgot to switch on the function that numbered each card, you’d spend hours going through your coding to get them back in order.

In business school we had a computer that was so annoying you’d get frustrated with it and type an obscenity. It would then lock you out, and you’d have to go to the dean to get reinstated.

In my first job, they had one of those old fashioned room-size switchboards. One day I asked an operator where they were in the building, and went down to see it, and my mouth dropped open it was so huge. I asked her to show me how it worked, and she did…it was amazing. One week there was a blizzard and hardly anyone got into work, and I was the only one who knew how to run it, so I did, all day. It was kinda fun (for a day).

The operations department had rotary calculators, and occasionally someone would try to make it do something it couldn’t, and it would go crazy, bouncing up and down with the carriage flying back and forth.

Once I was in the computer room when they were full of wall to wall magnetic tape-run computers. All the wires ran under the raised floors and it was kept so cold you could hang sides of beef in it. Some fool walked in with a lit cigarette and the smoke set off the smoke alarm, which triggered the door closers and released Halon into the room, which sucked the oxygen out of of the room and your lungs.

Sorry to write a novel…great fun back then

by Anonymousreply 86November 7, 2021 2:10 AM

[quote] If there was no price tag, you had to get on the PA and ask for a price check on register 3 (or whatever number you were).

Joe, I need a price check on some condoms! These three ladies here want a couple of boxes of the King George prophylactics.

Two of them have the lambskins, and the blonde has the ultra-sensitive...IN BLACK.

by Anonymousreply 87November 7, 2021 2:13 AM

I had an executive secretarial position. I took shorthand and transcribed it into beautiful letters with no mistakes. Other less worthy people worked the key punch and mundane machines. Did I mention that you had to be pretty and well coiffed and dressed? Being well spoken and discrete also helped. I then married my boss and lived happily ever after.

by Anonymousreply 88November 7, 2021 2:24 AM

Wow R57, I forgot about the shoe shine guy. Every day he came to my office at Merrill Lynch in Liberty Plaza and shined my shoes while I was connected to phones and monitors. Sweet little older guy.

We had company Limos too…the whole block would be surrounded by ML cars…yours and the driver would be in the same spot every day. We used to end every day at an Irish bar in Midtown and there would be six limos double parked in front. No one would dream of going in the same car, in case you picked someone up during the evening. We did so much Coke it’s a miracle I’m alive…we’d go three days without sleeping and finally crash. Ha!

by Anonymousreply 89November 7, 2021 2:25 AM

Does the word "comptometer" ring a bell with anyone. I remember the name but not id use.

by Anonymousreply 90November 7, 2021 2:39 AM

It's use.

by Anonymousreply 91November 7, 2021 2:40 AM

^^Yeap I remember those…some of the women in accounting (they were all women except the manager) learned on the things in the 40s and wouldn’t give them up. They were bizarre machines and some functions would require three or four fingers on each hand bouncing up and down. Hilarious. ^^

by Anonymousreply 92November 7, 2021 2:44 AM

Couple other things. I used to work at NHD a hardgoods store. They had old mechanical cash registers. Then decided to get electronic registers. I proved to them I could overflow the register and make it hang. Had to power it down to get it to come out of that one.

And telephones - toll calls. In RI if you were in Providence rate center calling Warwick wasn't toll. But move a couple miles into North Providence and depending on where you landed in Pawtucket rate center and had to pay a toll to call Warwick. I ended up getting ad FX line in a Providence rate center. Got it with call forwarding. I found out while it was forwarded it you could still use the phone. So one BBS I made a deal - I'd forward my modem number to them. Anything to deny New England Telephone revenue was my motto.

Few years later I moved to a place in Providence. Have phone line installed. Months go by and I realize I haven't gotten a bill. Numerous calls to then Nynex yielded no results. Plus my LD PIC pointed at the local VA hospital. This went on for 2 years. Apparently they screwed up the work order and the correct paperwork was never submitted to billing. That's what it was.

by Anonymousreply 93November 7, 2021 2:51 AM

Those metal spikes for messages on desks seemed dangerous somehow.

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by Anonymousreply 94November 7, 2021 2:53 AM

Onion skin. Who remembers that paper??

by Anonymousreply 95November 7, 2021 3:13 AM

Multi-line phone with push buttons (vs. dial). You would push the red button to put someone on hold. You could then hang up, call your coworker or boss and tell them that ___ had called and was on line ___. You then hung up. Boss, who had the same kind of phone, would press the button for line ___ and start talking.

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by Anonymousreply 96November 7, 2021 5:18 AM

That sounds complicated, R96.

by Anonymousreply 97November 7, 2021 5:45 AM

Inter-office memos on paper, sometimes just half-sheets. Predecessor to inter-office emails. Subject could be anything from Christmas potluck to cuts in staff (reductions in force or RIFs).

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by Anonymousreply 98November 7, 2021 6:06 AM

I literally supported myself in my 20s as a File Clerk, both perm and temp.

by Anonymousreply 99November 7, 2021 6:11 AM

At the PR agency I worked for in the 1990s, we all had PCs, of course, but we would still use the old IBM Selectric II to create file folder labels. All of us in the office grew up with these typewriters, so when we had hired a young office assistant and I instructed to create labels on it, I didn't take into consideration that she had never seen or used one before. She stared at that thing like it was going to bite her. When she flipped the toggle switch on and it made that loud cycling noise, she jumped back like it had attacked. And the loud clickety-clacking noise made her uneasy. The poor thing. When she asked me how to delete a misstyped letter, I realized this would require more training than I thought!

by Anonymousreply 100November 7, 2021 6:32 AM

Speaking of labels: Dymo.

[quote] When she flipped the toggle switch on and it made that loud cycling noise, she jumped back like it had attacked. And the loud clickety-clacking noise made her uneasy. The poor thing.

She sounds a little too precious and tender for office life.

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by Anonymousreply 101November 7, 2021 6:34 AM

R93, In my college years, I worked at a small Mom & Pop video store that had one old-school mechanical cash register, and we had to handwrite every single invoice, with 2 layers of carbon copies, jotting down customer name and info (for rentals), video title, spine number, quantity purchased, price, subtotal, less 10%, sales tax, adjusted total, amount paid, cash back, so on and so forth. You can imagine how time consuming this was, especially with the big spenders and their larger purchases. We had several calculators on hand to assist us with calculating.

When the owners finally decided to computerize and get barcode labelers and barcode scanners we were thrilled. However, in those early digital years, after closing time, it would take an hour of so to run backup and we would have to wait for quite some time to be prompted to change tapes on the tape drive. On especially busy days this process would be mindnumbingly slow.

by Anonymousreply 102November 7, 2021 6:06 AM

R84 Real Dictaphones had belts. The little cassettes came later.

by Anonymousreply 103November 7, 2021 6:44 AM

Once there was Wang.

Really good easy to use product.

But dreadful customer service that knew once you went Wang you were locked into it and took full advantage of your vulnerable position.

by Anonymousreply 104November 7, 2021 6:50 AM

Those old-fashioned cash registers made such a great sound when the clerk finished ringing up the transaction and the cash drawer popped out.

The sounds of Field's: those cash registers and the ding-dongs over the intercom.

by Anonymousreply 105November 7, 2021 7:07 AM

Physicians and attorneys dictate their chart notes/billable hours w/descriptions on activity and therefore, transcription probably is still done manually. i can't imagine speech to text is used for these activities as (especially in the medical field) it would be important to make sure that the correct terminology was used.

I did this in the mid 90's working at a law firm as part of my job. We had to listen to the little cassettes from the attorneys we supported and transcribe the billable hours/activities into the system to create a detailed invoice for the client. God that was tedious.

Fax machines with actual paper instead it coming to you electronically/in email. What a pain in the ass.

Now since we've been working from home, everything is paperless and the scanners we took home with us when we began isolating are just gathering dust. I've been working from home since March 2020 and don't even have a printer here. I barely use the phone unless I need to request documents from another business and we pretty much just use Teams or email to communicate, unless a teleconference is needed. Ah, the joys of advancing technology!

by Anonymousreply 106November 7, 2021 8:13 AM

Sniffing fresh ditto copies...mmmmm

And Microfiche!

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by Anonymousreply 107November 7, 2021 8:40 AM

I love this thread! Thanks again everyone.

by Anonymousreply 108November 7, 2021 12:37 PM

There was that one girl in the office that everybody hated because of her spunk

We hated spunk

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by Anonymousreply 109November 7, 2021 12:49 PM

Printer ribbons, floppy discs, cd-roms

by Anonymousreply 110November 7, 2021 12:51 PM

[quote]Being well spoken and discrete also helped.

Apparently that did not translate into spellling and vocabulary proficiency.

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 111November 7, 2021 12:56 PM

Line printers. Our office had three of these beasts. Awful, incredibly loud machines. Huge paper wasters and don't get your fingers near the rotating parts. Extinct today, I hope.

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by Anonymousreply 112November 7, 2021 1:02 PM

@r111, Remember that jerk in the office that was forever correcting people's tiniest errors? We hated her more then the chick with the spunk

by Anonymousreply 113November 7, 2021 1:04 PM

Don't forget that special eraser "pencil." At one end was an exceptionally hard and gritty eraser you used to rub out the typing error. At the other end was a fan of green plastic bristles you used to clean up the mess, so you could then apply correction fluid.

by Anonymousreply 114November 7, 2021 1:05 PM

Then there the flimsies. You've written a long memo of some ten pages and before it goes out you realize you have to add a paragraph on page 2. But you can't have it all retyped and proofed. There's no time! What do you do?

(This before mag-cards.)

by Anonymousreply 115November 7, 2021 1:14 PM

Comptometers were mentioned in the famous chocolate factory episode of "I Love Lucy." When Lucy and Ethel go to the employment agency, comptometer operator is one of the jobs that they're offered. And they weren't sure what it meant either.

I remember going into my Dad's office in the '60s (he worked for an insurance company) and they had a Victor Comptometer that I used to play with. It was basically a mechanical adding machine. Fast forward a few years to 1972 -- one of my roommates in college bought a Sharp electronic calculator for $240. All it could do was add, subtract, multiply and divide.

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by Anonymousreply 116November 7, 2021 2:01 PM

anybody work on a Vydec word processor circa 1980s? who temped in Manhattan in the law firms?

I used to warm up a lunch entree with the heat this baby put out through the rear exhaust fan!

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by Anonymousreply 117November 7, 2021 2:32 PM

Pneumatic tube transport (PTT)

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by Anonymousreply 118November 7, 2021 2:34 PM

I worked at the HQ of a major federal agency in the mid-'80s, and this was our word processing system.

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by Anonymousreply 119November 7, 2021 2:43 PM

Did anyone ever use a Lektriever?

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by Anonymousreply 120November 7, 2021 2:44 PM

I remember when the concept of emails was introduced into the workplace. I was like, wtf is this? One more fucking thing I gotta do.

by Anonymousreply 121November 7, 2021 3:00 PM

The dreaded paddle.

It was a school office "thing" back in the day in the town where I went to junior high, being reserved for the worst of the worst of young male offenders. I never got whacked, but did fantasize a lot on the hot boys dropping trou and baring their tighty whities for the principal, although in reality they were paddled pants up.

by Anonymousreply 122November 7, 2021 3:04 PM

R121 Oh, but before that came voicemail.

by Anonymousreply 123November 7, 2021 3:06 PM

Mad Men era / In 1967, Henson was contracted by IBM to make a film extolling the virtues of their new technology, the MT/ST, a primitive word processor. The film would explore how the MT/ST would help control the massive amount of documents generated by a typical business office. Paperwork Explosion, produced in October 1967, is a quick-cut montage of images and words illustrating the intensity and pace of modern business. Henson collaborated with Raymond Scott on the electronic sound track.

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by Anonymousreply 124November 7, 2021 3:30 PM

Are overhead projectors still used? Before Powerpoint and whiteboards, our presentations and trainings were conducted using overhead projectors and oversized paperpads on easels.

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by Anonymousreply 125November 7, 2021 3:57 PM

Don’t forget to write-protect and label your book diskette.

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by Anonymousreply 126November 7, 2021 4:05 PM

[quote]Pneumatic tube transport (PTT)

I remember a friend who got a job at a newly-constructed hospital that had all of its departments connected by pneumatic tubes, the wonder of it all!

The joke was that it would be so modern, she'd feel like she was on "The Jetsons".

by Anonymousreply 127November 7, 2021 5:04 PM

I'm the Telex.

We're a very sophisticated office.

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by Anonymousreply 128November 7, 2021 5:10 PM

Exciting office careers were yours for the taking.

Tell them Sally sent you!

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by Anonymousreply 129November 7, 2021 5:11 PM

All those big heavy machines each doing one job only. Everything in a medium sized office can be handled with a single desktop. Amazing

by Anonymousreply 130November 7, 2021 5:16 PM

I worked at a tv station in college. Still love the soothing sound of the Teletype machine.

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by Anonymousreply 131November 7, 2021 5:20 PM

My mom had to type letters back in the 50s with two carbon copies. She said she always got more and more nervous as she got towards the bottom of the page. If she made a bad mistake, she'd have to start over.

by Anonymousreply 132November 7, 2021 5:21 PM

[quote]Everything in a medium sized office can be handled with a single desktop. Amazing

Even more amazing is how all of these tasks can be performed from our smartphones.

by Anonymousreply 133November 7, 2021 5:26 PM

^ My smartphone has a lousy printer so I have to call my printer at home

by Anonymousreply 134November 7, 2021 5:32 PM

[quote]Some fool walked in with a lit cigarette and the smoke set off the smoke alarm, which triggered the door closers and released Halon into the room, which sucked the oxygen out of of the room and your lungs.

JFC - did he die?

by Anonymousreply 135November 7, 2021 5:43 PM

R135...there were several people in the room, including me. The doors automatically close, but they don't lock. Before you were allowed to be in the room, they had an orientation, so everyone knew to hold your breath and head for the nearest exit. ..and to never smoke in the area. We all got out, but he was terminated. Halon, back in the day and before it was banned, was expensive, so I'm sure the cost had a lot to do with it.

by Anonymousreply 136November 7, 2021 5:50 PM


Was he like the flight attendant who told everyone to fuck off and exited via the evacuation slide?

That’s how I’d do it!

by Anonymousreply 137November 7, 2021 5:54 PM

I had an after school job at Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement in Tallahassee. I worked in the basement filling orders for files that were sent by dumbwaiter. The floor was unfinished, actual compacted red clay, with bare light bulbs hanging from very long, fragile cords from the ceiling.

It felt like Freddie Krueger was hiding at the end of a dimly lit row of file cabinets. Fucking scary.

by Anonymousreply 138November 7, 2021 6:09 PM

I hated microfiche R307, but encountered it at libraries rather than offices.

At an office where I worked in the early 1990s, instead of spell check one had to create an entire document, exit out of the program entirely, and then have a second program run the document with each suggested change popping up individually.

by Anonymousreply 139November 7, 2021 6:14 PM

My 2nd job out of high school was at a major NYC insurance company in the "typing pool". This was in the mid 80's. It was a big room full of women whose job was to type the letters dictated by the insurance brokers. This was done with a Dictaphone machine that recorded the agent as they dictated a letter onto a looped belt of audio tape. Us (we?) typist was assigned tapes, which were inserted into a specialized tape machine, we listened to the audio thru headphones and typed out the letter on a Selectric electric typewriter. I'm sure those tape machines are relics now and so are electric typewriters.

I worked at Chase Bank in the early 2000's on the trading floor and remember all sorts of equipment we had. My area was in charge of keeping the traders equipment running, so there were PC and phone techs in-house 24/7 cause those were the main means of doing business. One piece of equipment that was hardly ever used but on the floor "just in case" was a telex machine. I could not tell you one thing about what function it did, only that it was a headache to get fixed because it was slowly being phased out by newer technology and it was getting harder to find repair people for it.

One time we had a call that it was down again and the company who serviced it kept promising they were sending a tech and it went on for daaaayyys. I just remember being stressed because the one person who needed it kept pressuring our area to GET IT FIXED!

by Anonymousreply 140November 7, 2021 6:20 PM

At my first NYC corporate job in the 80s they had just started to switch over to PCs but my boss preferred a typewriter (IBM Selectric) and held out for a few years before making the change. He taught me how to literally cut and paste for major edits- you would retype them new copy and cut it and use this white tape to attach it and cover the old copy and then Xerox it.

We had a fully-staffed mailroom. You had to leave outgoing faxes in your outbox (a plastic tray on your desk) and they would pick it up at some point as they made rounds that day or the next. If it was urgent you had to walk it down to the mailroom and ask one of them to send it. It was way too expensive, “high tech” and complicated for anyone else to use and was strictly off limits to the rest of us.

by Anonymousreply 141November 7, 2021 6:20 PM

Woe unto you if your fax machine jammed, which they did somewhat regularly, as it would take at least two business days until someone could come to clear it. The thermal paper wasn't always easy to deal with either.

by Anonymousreply 142November 7, 2021 6:25 PM

Sorry for stepping on your toes R78 - I didn't scan the whole thread before I typed my comment.

by Anonymousreply 143November 7, 2021 6:26 PM

Taking Typing as a course in grade 9 (1979-1980) was one of the most beneficial subjects I ever took. It’s such an important skill and saved me so much time over the years. I remember my parents bought me an electric typewriter while still in high school. It had a built-in white-out feature! No more liquid paper!!

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by Anonymousreply 144November 7, 2021 6:30 PM

I am 61 and never learned to type. They had it as an optional elective in high school which cost money. My parents were dead-set against the idea.

by Anonymousreply 145November 7, 2021 6:33 PM

Don't forget the yellow ticker tape you first punched out then fed into the machine.

by Anonymousreply 146November 7, 2021 6:41 PM

This is not about the old equipment but old procedures. This was back when emailing and faxes were still fairly new, so if you had to get a document to someone ASAP in Manhattan, you called for a bike messenger. The company had a contract with a messenger service, so you'd call and the messenger would come pick up the item and zoom through the streets of NY to get it to Point B.

There was a time when these bike guys were all over the city and you were always in fear of one of them taking you out as they rushed to get their task done - they were paid by the number of deliveries, I think so they were extra reckless.

by Anonymousreply 147November 7, 2021 6:41 PM

Banks held onto Telex machines to the very end because they somehow believed the answerback made them secure.

by Anonymousreply 148November 7, 2021 6:45 PM

R114, you mean like the one at r85?

Funny, though I don’t remember them being round but more pencil-like. What about you?

by Anonymousreply 149November 7, 2021 6:47 PM

R147, I’ve seen porn movies with those guys in it.

by Anonymousreply 150November 7, 2021 6:48 PM

[quote] It's use.

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 151November 7, 2021 6:51 PM

R149 We used the pencil-like one. It was easier to press down and remove the really stubborn mistakes.

by Anonymousreply 152November 7, 2021 7:10 PM

R147, my boss insisted I messenger something and the recipient called me to yell at me for such a complete waste of money and resources to messenger something that could have been mailed. Apparently he didn’t feel the urgency that my boss did.

by Anonymousreply 153November 7, 2021 8:44 PM

R140 - I don't know whether it should be "us was" or "we was", either!

by Anonymousreply 154November 7, 2021 9:00 PM

*We were

by Anonymousreply 155November 7, 2021 9:05 PM

It should be “we typists were.”

The easiest way to check is to remove the descriptor. You wouldn’t say “us were supposed to….”

by Anonymousreply 156November 7, 2021 9:19 PM

Remember when Federal checks--like tax refunds or salary checks--were printed on punch cards?

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by Anonymousreply 157November 7, 2021 10:18 PM

^ Yes, "Do Not Fold, Staple or Mutilate"... or they'd be hell to pay

by Anonymousreply 158November 7, 2021 10:22 PM

^Spindle, not staple*

by Anonymousreply 159November 7, 2021 11:15 PM

The first time I used a Microfiche machine I made the mistake of watching the screen while I scrolled. After about thirty minutes, I had to worst case of motion sickness I have ever had in my life.....

When I took my typing class as a high school freshman, I was one of the last people who walked into the classroom. There was an empty desk near the front so I took that.

I was looking around to see who else was in the class and when I finally looked down at my typewriter, I realized it had blank keys.....NO LETTERS. I was stuck for the rest of the year.....but the QWERTY chart was hanging on the wall in front of me, so I learned quickly.

by Anonymousreply 160November 7, 2021 11:54 PM

[R16], I worked a temp job in an office in 1986 and I can still remember how blue the air was from the cigarette smoke.

by Anonymousreply 161November 8, 2021 12:03 AM

Did they all have blank keys?

It could have been a way to keep from staring at your hands and keep your eyes on the document.

by Anonymousreply 162November 8, 2021 12:24 AM

The craziest machine I remember from my office days was a contraption that signed letters written by the heads of the company. The guy would order a standard letter be typed, that was going to another big muckety-muck somewhere and instead of him taking 5 minutes to sign it, this machine did it.

The machine was the size of a card table and you loaded this big die-cut "shape" into it, load in a ballpoint pen into a special holder, position the letter from CEO guy JUST RIGHT and flip the ON switch. This die-cut piece would rotate and an arm would follow along on the perimeter, which moved the pen, which wrote the CEO's signature onto the letter. Whew. Then you'd mail out the letter and send a copy back to the CEO's assistant for filing.

Just for funsie, I searched to see if I could find a pic of this old monster machine, but no luck. I do see that there are modern versions called "robot pens" and "auto signers" but they're small and compact. Well golly!

by Anonymousreply 163November 8, 2021 12:26 AM

Damn, I found an example of this signing machine right after I posted. It's called an "autopen" and per Wikipedia, they've been around for a long time.

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by Anonymousreply 164November 8, 2021 12:33 AM

"Marge, do you have change for a dollar? I'm going down to the vending machine in the lobby to get a pack of Winstons."

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by Anonymousreply 165November 8, 2021 12:51 AM

The White House has used auto pens for decades, and still does.

by Anonymousreply 166November 8, 2021 1:26 AM

In 1973 and 1974 we had to use slide rules during college physics tests. Personal calculators were prohibited as only the rich kids could afford them.

My plastic slide rule is long gone, but I still have my Mom’s wooden slide rule from the 1940s.

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by Anonymousreply 167November 8, 2021 2:04 AM

To get back to punch cards, my father dropped out of college in the early 40s to join the Army. He became a tank instructor so he never saw service overseas, he taught guys how to drive tanks in Kentucky. I always thought teaching guys how to drive tanks must have been a pretty cool job, but anyway....

After the war, he used his GI Benefits to finish college and went directly after graduation into the employ of Western Electric, the AT&T subsidiary. (Remember the Western Electric Christmas party photo?) He worked there for over 50 years before retired. Along the way he dealt constantly with IBM punchcards and always brought them home to Mama who used them as note paper. For decades, if you had make a grocery list or a note to another family member, you wrote it on the back of an old IBM punchcard, When they died within six months of each other ten years ago, there were still hundreds if not thousands of old IBM punchcards scattered around the house.

by Anonymousreply 168November 8, 2021 2:17 AM

R163 Those things were used by just about every politician of any standing to send voters correspondence that looked like it had been personally signed. Find a letter from LBJ and ten to one it's auto-penned.

R168 The thing about IBM cards was, they were made of strong high-grade paper, so good for all kinds of other users.

by Anonymousreply 169November 8, 2021 5:24 AM

R161, you beat me to it.

Back in the 80s, not only could I smoke in the office (yes, I smoked in my 20s, Salem Lights -- about a pack a day), but I had a cubicle so big it had two ashtrays in it. My boss smoked four packs a day; so did my office-employed aunt, who quit in her 50s, but died of lung cancer at the exact same age I am now (63).

I quit when I was 30. Years later, when I was teaching, I used to tell my students about cigarette machines and that when I quit smoking, cigarettes were $10/carton. It was fun watching their mouths drop open.

by Anonymousreply 170November 8, 2021 1:08 PM

I'm the switchboard.

I provide good but low-paying jobs for women.

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by Anonymousreply 171November 8, 2021 1:17 PM

" I quit smoking, cigarettes were $10/carton."

They're $80-$100 a carton now. Can you imagine?

by Anonymousreply 172November 8, 2021 1:23 PM

I'm so old I remember when cigarettes were $6 a carton, and when I started making "good money" (i.e. a salary vs. the minimum wage of $2.25 an hour), I thought I was living large and bought a carton for home, a carton for my office, and a carton in my car.

It was such an adult and extravagant thing to do, I thought.

Times have changed.

by Anonymousreply 173November 8, 2021 1:42 PM

No R162 - only two or three of the typewriters had blank keys, the other thirty had the letters on the keys.

Yes I am sure that is why I learned to type more quickly than the kids who had to look at the keys.

by Anonymousreply 174November 8, 2021 2:01 PM

Casual Fridays?

I don't think so.

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by Anonymousreply 175November 8, 2021 2:57 PM

My mother who went to “business school” (actually secretarial school) had a portable typewriter at home with blank keys. Until I took Personal Typing in high school I thought all typewriters were like that.

by Anonymousreply 176November 8, 2021 3:55 PM

My paternal grandmother worked at the First National Bank in downtown St Louis in the 50s and 60s - she was a manager of some department called "Transit." She used to bring home shoeboxes full of wooden rolls from the adding machines for my cousins and I to play with when we came over. They were about 3 1/2 inches long and very solid - we would stack them up like Jenga pieces, or build mazes, houses, and castles out of them. They were great to play with.

by Anonymousreply 177November 8, 2021 7:04 PM

I have my mother's custom desk with a hidden hinged typewriter cubby. I look for a picture of one online, but none look anything like hers. It's so heavy it took four of us to get it into my study.

by Anonymousreply 178November 8, 2021 8:00 PM

One from retail: processing credit cards

Having to take a flimsy five-layer form (three pieces of paper with two sheets of carbon paper between them), make physical imprint of a credit card, and hand write the transaction and amount, then give it to the buyer to sign. Then you tear out the middle layer and hand it to the customer, the top was for your records and the bottom copy (the least legible) was sent to the bank so you could get paid.

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by Anonymousreply 179November 8, 2021 8:34 PM

Keypunch computer cards could produce some bitchin’ confetti!

by Anonymousreply 180November 8, 2021 8:38 PM

[quote] for my cousins and I to play with

Oh, dear.

by Anonymousreply 181November 8, 2021 8:59 PM

Yes, I remember smoking inside the offices. I was a smoker and I now wonder how the non-smokers felt with all the smoke wafting around. Last price I paid for a pack of cigarettes was somewhere between $2 and $3.

I was a clerk-typist at my college (student job). We used manual typewriters and typed out requisition orders, mostly for the science departments, it seemed. We used NCR paper (which was an advancement from carbon paper). There were 3 or maybe even 4 different pieces of paper: white, yellow (canary), pink, and green. There was also Liquid Paper in the different colors.

I was a horrible typist. Slow with lots of mistakes.

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by Anonymousreply 182November 8, 2021 9:03 PM

[quote] We used NCR paper (which was an advancement from carbon paper).

Bit of trivia for those who don’t know:

NCR paper made duplicates just as though you placed a sheet of carbon paper between them. Except there was [bold]N[/bold]o [bold]C[/bold]arbon [bold]R[/bold]equired.

by Anonymousreply 183November 8, 2021 9:28 PM

"Keypunch computer cards could produce some bitchin’ confetti! "

Until the "dangling chads" cost Gore the White House

by Anonymousreply 184November 8, 2021 9:46 PM

[quote] I was a smoker and I now wonder how the non-smokers felt with all the smoke wafting around.

It was hell

by Anonymousreply 185November 8, 2021 10:55 PM

R184 There were no dangling chads coming out of an IBM keypunch machine. They had the power and durability of a tank.

by Anonymousreply 186November 8, 2021 11:03 PM

Not sure if this has been mentioned yet, but having to use a punch clock as a student when I had a summer job in a paper mill.

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by Anonymousreply 187November 8, 2021 11:35 PM

R160: Reminds me of when I worked at the RI Attorney Generals office. In the back of the I.T. server space there was this half rack of crypto gear. Asked around nobody knew. One day I get a call from CJIS (Criminal Justice Information Systems) the rack of crypto is so we could participate in the III or Interstate Identification Index. They asked if I could connect it to our network. Sure - this let our AFIS systems transmit directly to CJIS.

That last the AFIS system - we had to export our ciminal history so I did on on Metal Oxide Tapes. They couldn't read them. Burned them onto a series of Compact DIscs - they could read that.

by Anonymousreply 188November 12, 2021 3:57 PM

I worked in a major national insurance company back in the 80's and they sent out thousands of letters to customers. Most of them were form letters, so our job was to enter the customers mailing address into the computer, and then type just their name for the Dear Mr/Ms salutation field on this letter. Then you loaded these reams of continuous business letterhead into a special printer. This paper had holes along the side, you put the paper on these little teeth that pulled it in through the printer past the striker/ink ribbon. You just had to keep an eye on it in case the paper came off the teeth and jammed in the machine.

The second part of this job was run continuous envelopes through the printer, with these same addressees. You completed your task by matching the letter to the envelope, folding the letter into its match and leave it all for the mailroom person to pick it up. I'm sure a lot of big companies still use this type of printer to get their large number of letters out.

by Anonymousreply 189November 16, 2021 2:45 AM

I was in my high school’s debate club (Far East Champion thankyouverymuch!) so was very familiar with and adept at using the microfiche for research.

Fast forward 30 years to me listening to my niece complain about how hard research is for her summer job. I explain to her about the microfiche. Without one moment of introspection she comments, “that sounds like Google!” I almost pulled over to let her out of the car on the side of the Pike.

I’m loving other tech mentioned here too. As a kid I “composed” symphonies with my Mom’s select Selectric typewriter at work.

And as much fun as the credit card imprinters were, does anyone remember them being used to validate airline tickets? Each ticket would have 5 carbon copies but each layer was for a specific segment of travel. The imprinting was done with the necessary info from the airline to authenticate. But your whole itinerary would be hand-written by the travel agent/office. I hated it when the agent had shitty handwriting.

by Anonymousreply 190November 21, 2021 1:42 AM

[quote] I was in my high school’s debate club (Far East Champion thankyouverymuch!)

[quote]I almost pulled over to let her out of the car on the side of the Pike.

I think I’m falling for you!

by Anonymousreply 191November 21, 2021 2:00 AM

Things nobody ever says anymore:

"Don't lose your airline ticket!"

by Anonymousreply 192November 21, 2021 2:46 AM

R191 did you go to school on Okinawa?

R192 you reminded me of the latest Geico commercial about becoming your parents:

“Does everyone have their boarding passes?”

(All the people hold up their boarding passes)

“Paper boarding passes. We’re off to a bad start already”

by Anonymousreply 193November 21, 2021 2:59 AM

In my day there weren’t no new fangled aeroplanes so we didn’t worry about losing the ticket. You whippersnappers have it so easy today.

The OP did ask for Eldergays, so I ambled in.

by Anonymousreply 194November 21, 2021 1:08 PM

I had a strange situation last year, where I was forced to use a paper boarding pass with no choice. On a connecting itinerary, I was able to get the first flight on my phone, but when I arrived in the connecting city I could not access the second one at all. The agent at the airline help desk was quite puzzled by this, but couldn't get it to work for her, so I had to board the aircraft with the paper boarding pass she was able to provide.

I recall the age of carbonized tickets well. There were apocryphal stories of gate agents occasionally pulling the wrong coupon, later causing problems for the traveler on the flight where that one was missing.

by Anonymousreply 195November 21, 2021 1:59 PM

R193....I love Dr. RIck.....especially when the guy is in the store about to take shirt identical to the one his is wearing to the check out counter......Dr. Rick calls him on it.....the guy looks at it and then says: "I'm gonna get it anyway."

by Anonymousreply 196November 22, 2021 12:14 AM

I once worked for a manufacturer that sent out catalogs and other mailings every year. First we did peel off labels but that sucked. Then we did what's called cheshire labels. First printed on a Panasonic KXP11 series printer but the poor printer died soon after. I found a Genicom that baby could print off labels all dayl

by Anonymousreply 197November 23, 2021 10:36 PM

When I was a teenager I had a job in the marketing department for a pump company. One of my jobs was to put together the spec binders for different models. Each model had a different combination of pages and I’d put them all in order and then pun-bin them. I couldn’t find the exact model I used, but this gives you an idea. I was a scrawny little thing, except for my pun-binning arm.

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by Anonymousreply 198November 24, 2021 12:11 PM

[quote] a pump company.

Mmmm. Where may one find one of these?

by Anonymousreply 199November 24, 2021 3:54 PM

I lived in Northwest DC in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and worked at a deli near the intersection of Connecticut and Nebraska. There were a lot of elderly ladies living in the huge apartment complexes along Conn Ave, and I got to know quite a few of them. Many of them were retired US government clerks, and they told me about what it was like to be a government clerk typist working in downtown DC before air conditioning. They would sit all day in huge rooms with dozens of other typists, all tapping away on manual typewriters. Most of the documents included carbon copies, and there was consequently a high expectation of accuracy. In that heat and humidity (or cold, in the winter, but that's easier to cope with) of high summer in DC, they were expected to 'dress for work', which meant ironed dresses and wearing hose and some makeup. Brutal.

by Anonymousreply 200November 24, 2021 4:06 PM

Some yayhoo at work asked for some 2-prong paper fasteners. I hadn't seen these in years so I had my office clerk order a few boxes.

We have binding machines, comb bindings, binding clips, staples, etc., but no, he had to have metal fasteners.

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by Anonymousreply 201November 24, 2021 4:21 PM
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