Friday, March 8, 2013

The Birth of "State of the Art" Copier Technology

There was a recent post on the Print4Pay Hotel forums that was asking members if they inject humor in their copier/mfp demonstrations and if so what were some of those classic wits of humor that we use.  Of course I added by two cents but I also added a paragraph about some of the old technology that was used in copiers before they went digital in the mid nineties.

With one of our Mita (I sold the Adler Royal version), there was a feature that allowed users to white out or black out areas of the copy.  The prospect/user would use a plastic pen to white or black out a section of the document. I would set the user up, give them the pen and state that they need to be very careful with the pen because "inside the pen was the technology that enabled the document to white out or black out" and that if the pen was lost it would cost $300 or so for a replacement. The user then selected the points on the editing board, pressed the copy key and the copy would be edited with either the white out or black out section of the copy. Prospects and users awed when we showed this feature!

This was funny to me because some users actually thought the technology was in the pen and I had a few frantic users calling me that they had lost their pens and needed another. LOL

Another Mita copier had the ability to copy in two colors at the same time. It was always black and another color (green, blue or red), this system also worked with an editing (plastic) pen and the edit board (if I remember correctly) was located on the top cover of the copier.  For all you that didn't sell copiers in the eighties or nineties most copiers did not have an automatic document feeder, in fact most copiers in the 80's still a top that moved back and forth for every copy.  During the demos it was always about trying to find that special feature that the customer would need to save time or help them make copying documents less burdensome.

I can distinctly remember one company back in the eighties a company that manufactured a foil overlay for plain paper copiers. It was a novel idea that allowed users to make a copy of a document and then you could either slide the copy underneath the foil sheet (which was sealed on one side) and then run both the foil and the copy through the by-pass of the copier in one pass.  Presto chango… all of the black image on the page was changed to the color of the foil.  The foil would only stick to the black toner once the media passed through the fusing section.  These foils came in many different colors and the most dramatic was the GOLD foil, we used to tell potential customers that you could turn your copies into GOLD!  You could even get fancy and with the use of removable tape and scissors cut strips of foil to get different colors on the copy.  This was probably the inexpensive and easy way to get a color copy, the foil media was primarily used for certificates and proposals.  It was awesome, walking in with a proposal that had the look of gold print. Check it out you can stick get this stuff, I just may buy a pack just to mess with some of the younger reps in the office.

Many of the features on today's copier were introduced many years ago as "State of the Art Technology" and it's unfortunate that most reps don't use this term to describe their systems anymore.  One such feature was "ZOOM" reduction and enlargement. Minolta introduced the Minolta Beta 450Z in the early eighties, this system had a stationary platen (non moving glass top) and the ability to reduce or enlarge documents in one tenth of 1% from 50%-200%. I was there, I sold the Minolta 450Z and the 450Z gave me my first introduction into the print4pay market which included print shops, copy centers, desktop publishing and news paper publishing companies.  Before the Minolta 450Z came out most if not all users had to take a picture of any art work and then put that picture on white board in order to re size the image.  The first "ZOOM" lens from Minolta changed the industry forever.

I really enjoyed remembering some of the past copier history, maybe next week I write about some of the weekend sales events we had that ran for 72 hours! To view some of the old copier commercials go old copier commercials.

-=Good Selling=-

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We used to take a color original and put a second one in the cassette. When the user ran a "copy" the color page from the cassette would come out (after running through the bath) and make it look like it was a color copier. We all had a good laugh. As a tech I once had a customer place a service call because their copies were comming out misspelled. Laughed at that one too.