3M Duplicating Products Days According to Pete

The Machines That Made it Possible

Created: Febraury 28, 2015
Last Revised; February 5, 2024

3M Model 22 Secretary Thermofax Copy machine

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Here, I am starting a small (and unofficial) chronical of the Duplicating Products Machines produced by 3M.
It's my intent to overview some of those machines for posterity, from the view of people who dealt with them. I'm one of those people, so you will be hearing from me, for now.

Tattoo artists and Screen printers

From time to time I am asked where to get Thermofax machines these days and I don't have a very good answer.
These folks often use specialized thermofax-type films to produce stencils that transfer to the tattoo patient's skin and polyester mesh screens to make screen printing masters.
Of course, they need a Thermofax machine to copy their original art onto the film materials.

If you, the reader, are into such things, you have probably already noticed that new, refurbished and used Thermofax machines come up on Ebay, etc. from time to time.

Now for the history lesson part:
At one point, the Visual Products division took over a few of the Duplicating (or Copy Products) division's Thermofax line for making overhead projection transparencies,
for producing "spirit masters" and a few other specialized uses. They did some redesign of the machines too. I vaguely remember an 8700 series and maybe a 4000

3M assigned a sequential internal numerical model number for each machine. Then, the marketing department of each manufacturing division assigned a sales name (often a number-name) to it for field use.
I will begin by listing some of them, then I will attempt to write a short essay about some of them.

Model   Name/#             Description
12       ???                   First commercially available Thermo-Fax machine?
17       Thermo-Fax Secretary             First really popular Thermo-Fax copier, used the carrier belt
19       ???             Flat bed Thermo-Fax copier
20       Thermo-Fax "14"             14 inch wide Thermo-Fax copier, the earliest model.
22       Thermo-Fax Secretary            Completely redesigned Secretary Copier with fewer motors
22C     Thermo-Fax Secretary             Same as the 22, but with a front mounted temperature meter.
26       ???            Copier that used a huge "flash"
31       Encore Automatic             Semi Automatic A and B paper (Q system?) Duplicator
44       Secretary???             Redsigned 22 with temperature meter integrated with speed control so operator could match speed with temperature as the machine warmed up.
45A     Secretary????             Heavily redesigned 44 with gold reflector; LAST use of "Friction Wheel" drive system!!!
45B     Secretary???             Upgrade of 45A, with first use of transistors/PCBoard
45C     Secretary???             Upgrade of 45B, streamlined a little.
47       ???             Looked just like the 45 Secretary, but the lamp stayed on, IIRC. Was used for A and B paper statements

48A       Companion         Beginning of the "Dual Spectrum" Copy system. This machine was a Dry Photo
                                        Exposure Unit. Originally designed to be used with the Model 44
                                        Thermofax Secretary for development of the image by sandwiching an
                                        exposed intermediate with a piece of copy paper(in a carrier)
                                        and then passing it through the Thermofax machine for development.
                                        At first it used 606 transparent pink intermediate paper/657 white copy
                                        paper. Later used 655 intermediate (translucent, pink, but like tissue paper) and 657 white copy paper
48B       Dry Photo Exposure Unit             This exposure unit plugged into the front of the 64A or 64B developer unit

50       Thermofax Major             Wide carriage, 14 inches?
57       209 Automatic Dry Photo Copier             Used the exposure film intermediate roll as a carrier for the 658 copy paper
64AG/64BG       Dry Photo Developer Unit             Combined with the 48, you had a complete "Dual Spectrum" Dry Photo copier
107       Dry Photo Manual Copier             Not sure if this combination had its own model number(48 + 64) Used 655/657 papers?
74       A-09 Adherography Duplicator             First machine to use a "toner", I think.
76A,B,CG       Dry Photo copier             Intergration of exposure and development units into one nice package
191/207/215/369/839 ??? VQC Copiers             These were the "Pressure roll" or "Crush Roll" Copiers
235       VHS Copier             First toner-using automatic copier
238       VHS-R Copier             Very much Updated 235
609       Automatic Dry Photo Copier             An upgrade of the Model 57, the "209"
??? Color in Color Copier C-in-C             The first full color copier, introduced in 1968. A direct electrostatic process coupled with a thermal dye transfer system.
400 & 800       Linolex Word Processor
777/787/848       Secretary III Copier
???       6740 Copier             Purchased from SCM, mfr'd by VanDyk Research Corp (67 copies/min., 40 sizes)
???       400, 450, 600, 800             Olivetti Electronic Typewriters
I know I'm missing many of them, but I will be adding additional machines as I get information about them.

If you'd like to contribute an article about any one of these machines, please use the contact link at the top of this page to let me know.