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7 thoughts on “What the Hectograph?!?!

  1. This is marvelous! Can agar stand in for the gelatin? I know some vegan zinesters who would rather not use a copying method that involves animal products.

    1. I’m not sure if agar can stand in. As long as the gelatin-like texture is smooth and sturdy, I think it should work. Since agar tends to be a bit firmer than gelatin it might work quite well. I’ll definitely look into to it and post back.

  2. It is amazing, I really do not know at all what it was called Hectograph. Interesting post Andrea Kohashi once, at least I understand the general idea of this technique.

  3. I have fond memories of press-runs of “The Neighborhood Gossip” when I was in elementary school back in the 1950s. We set up the hectograph on my parents dining room table, where at least one fresh copy was accidentally set face down on the table, leaving a permanent imprint on the hardwood that is still faintly visible to this day. Commercial hectograph pans were very shallow, perhaps only 1/4 inch deep, and had close-fitting lids. After a press run, you’d warm the pan to melt the gelatine before reuse — this destroyed the previous image, and after a few cycles of use, the gelatine was a uniform (but non-printing) blue.

    1. I would love to see a picture of the imprint off the paper on the table! I actually melted the gelatin down recently to reuse the pans and the gelatine turned a bit blue. I’m going to melt them down again for more prints – I wonder how many times the gelatin could be melted down before it would be over-saturated with ink. After use, I wipe down the gelatin with a wet sponge to keep it conditioned then cover with paper. I’ve been storing them with a piece of paper over the surface and I think that has helped to soak up some of the excess ink. I’ve heard that you can store the pan with the paper and eventually just print over what used to exist, but I’d rather have a fresh new surface and melt the gelatin down! It’s nice that they can be used over and over again. I’m thinking about investing in some wider shallow metal pans and making some more “permanent” hecto trays – I think 1/4 of an inch would be just fine with this gelatin.

  4. I always assumed it was called a Hectograph after Hector, which means mocker, because you could express your views all over the place with flyers made this way. Every man his own printing press.

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