A mimeo, short for mimeograph, is a machine for printing with ink forced through a wax or plastic stencil cut with a typewriter or stylus. Used extensively for the production of fanzines throughout the early- to mid-20th century, mimeography was an art form that many fans gratefully gave up with the arrival of cheap photocopying and offset printing beginning in the late '70s. Until that time, fanpublishing was as much of a handicraft as it was a literary exercise.
The last holdouts for repro by mimeo included Rich and Nicki Lynch's Mimosa, Dick and Leah Zeldes Smith's STET and the team-produced Science Fiction Five-Yearly. As of 2009, the mimeo machine at The Los Angeles Science Fantasy Society (LASFS) continued to be used to print the table of contents for the weekly APA-L and also to print last-minute submissions to that APA.
|From Fancyclopedia 2 ca 1959|
|A system of reproduction in which ink is forced thru a waxed-fibre stencil; the commonest kind of duplicator used in fandom. The name is applied to any gadget using the method described, even the flatbed models and the contraption Walt Willis rigged up to use with his printing press, which inked a linoleum block and pressed this against the stencil and paper. (Originally only the A. B. Dick rotary machines were "mimeographs", but their trademark appears to be public domain now.)
i hate you little mimograf with gooey cylinder of ink i hate you little mimograf and what is more i think you hate me, too...
Tho not in the same league with the malignant hektograph as an instrument of torture, mimeos have attained notable heights of cruelty to struggling young fans, as Bob Briggs records in the verse above. The number of copies from mimeoing is limited only by the durability of the stencils (somewhere in the thousands; naturally fans don't run off anywhere near that many).
Multicolor mimeoing requires different colored inks, a different pad for each, and a different stencil cut for each color; and each copy sheet must be run — carefully positioned — thru the mimeo once for each color that's to go on it, so that multicolor mimeo work is attempted only rarely. But such folk as the Decker Dillies, Ted White, and Jean Young have produced notable mimeo color work. A special sort of mimeo multicolor work is Vicolor.
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