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Technology Object of the Day – Banda Machine

DUNUC 3487, equipment, Duplicator. Physiology Collection.

Donated to Museum services in 1996 by the Department on Physiology & Anatomy, the Spirit Duplicator (or Banda Machine as it is known in the UK) was commonly used in schools, churches and other small organisations to copy documents. The term “spirit duplicator” refers to the alcohols which were a major component of the solvents used as “inks” in these machines. The amount of copies one could make from the original was limited and the copies were very low quality, however the low cost was very appealing. The spirit duplicator was invented in 1923 by Wilhelm Ritzerfeld and this particular one was manufactured by the Block & Anderson Company, under their “Banda” brand.

The unique aroma of pages fresh off the duplicator was a memorable feature of school life in the spirit-duplicator era and references to the machine can be found in the 1982 film Fast Times At Ridgemont High as well as the blues band Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women in their song “School Teacher’s Blues,” which has the lines, “My fingers have turned purple, My master’s like I chewed it, My mind is getting warped from inhaling Ditto fluid.”

Reference 1

Credit: Copyright University of Dundee Museum Services,