Rochester, NY: Kodak Company, c. 1950's-60's. Kodak’s Verifax machine was a duplicating machine that used a wet colloidal diffusion transfer technique to make reproduction. The machine utilized special chemical paper, and was marketed to offices, being a cheaper technology than the photostat. However, the multiple step process, the expense of the chemical paper the machine utilized and the instability of the printed images over time meant that the technology was not widely used, and became quickly obsolete, to be replaced with the machine that the Verifax laid the technical ground- work for, the xerox photocopier, which launched the era of immediacy in print culture which the Verifax could only suggest.
The Verifax was utilized by a handful of artists, including Wallace Berman, who used a Verifax which he had been given by Billy Jahrmarkt –who had already incorporated the machine into his own, neglected artworks. These machines are an important part of the rapid technological changes in printing processes of the Mimeograph Revolution, and are now quite uncommon – it seems likely that few were saved due to their rapid obsolescence and bulk.
This example of the machine appears to be complete, though the power cord is severed and frayed and would have to be rewired for testing. This Verifax comes with a small sheaf of the chemical paper used in the reproductive process, the only such cache we’ve encountered, and which is likely even scarcer then the machines themselves. The paper is heavily darkened, and we doubt it could still be used. However, since preservation of Verifax is an unknown science, this paper could be of interest to conservators or to students of reproductive technology, or to determine the chemical makeup of the paper. Item #24979