Has anyone ever seen one of these before?
I don’t think so, unless you’re interested in old office equipment.
This is a Photostat Machine – the predecessor to the modern photocopier, which is found in offices all over the world.
The large part on the right at the top is a camera – a very old camera (this photostat machine dates from 1918 and cameras were much different back then). The camera was used to take a picture of the document, which was developed the same way a normal photograph was at the time. This took about two minutes. The image that was produced was a negative image, meaning that light was dark and dark was light. The negative image was then photostatted with the same procedure, and this produced a positive image.
Since the invention of the modern photocopier in the late 1940’s, the photostat machine has vanished from offices, superceded by the superior photocopier, which can produce a page in seconds, not the 5 or so minutes it took to make a photostatted image.
However, for some reason as yet unknown to me, Malaysians mistakenly refer to a modern photocopier as a “Photostat Machine”. This is wrong. The proper name for the machine is a photocopy machine or photocopier. I don’t even know if there ever were any photostat machines in Malaysia – type in “old photostat machine Malaysia” and all you get are pages about photocopiers.
The Malaysian use of the term “photostat machine” is a misnomer – a word or term that is widely used in a wrong way.
Let’s call the machine by its proper name, shall we?