the multigraph

The multigraph was a printing machine designed by typewriter salesman Harry C. Gammeter in 1902.  The machine was so popular that parts were still being sold in 1965.

GAMMETER, HARRY C. (ca. 1870-11 Apr. 1937), the inventor of the modern multigraph and one of the founders the American Multigraph Co., was one of 8 children. Although little is known of his early life, as an adult he worked as a sales engineer for the United Typewriter and Supply Co. of Louisville, Kentucky. On a sales trip to Cleveland he observed a stenographer endlessly copying circular letters and wondered if was possible devise a machine that would print a complete line or page of type with a single stroke. In 1900, he built a crude model of such a machine, demonstrating its feasibility to Clevelander Henry C. Osborn of the Osborn-Morgan Co. consulting engineers. Osborn designed, produced, and financed a duplicating machine based on the rotary drum principle which was patented 10 March 1903.

In the meantime, Gammeter and Osborne had organized the American Multigraph Company in 1902, manufacturing the machine in a small unsightly one-story wooden structure at E. 40th St. and Kelley Ave. Gammeter’s duplicator, often referred to as the “waffle iron,” evolved into a broad line of sophisticated multigraph equipment. Soon after the company was founded Gammeter’s health began to fail, and in an effort to recover, he developed Green Springs, Ohio as a health spa, while maintaining his residence in Cleveland Heights.

Gammeter was married to Maude Fry, and they had two children, Electa and Harry F. He died in Cleveland at age 67 and was buried in Green Springs.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


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