We just returned from having dinner with some old friends of Janie’s. We exchanged our very belated Christmas gifts and ate Thai food. As we were leaving we had a brief discussion about how you were definitely a child of the 80’s if you can understand what it was like to get a fresh ditto. Our grade school had this old clunker of a ditto machine that teachers would crank in the hallway to make us the purplish-blue copies that no kid these days will ever have the pleasure of knowing. My children will be deprived of the opportunity to press a fresh ditto to his face and inhale the scent of toxic ink.





  1. January 25, 2008

    I remember. There’s a scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High where the teacher hands out papers and all the kids hold them up and sniff them. I always wonder what a teenager watching that movie now thinks that is all about.

  2. January 26, 2008

    I remember that smell to this day! Happy Weekend!

  3. Kate Singleton
    June 4, 2009

    I was just talking to a 23 year old CHILD at work about these machines. She didn’t believe that they were real. And she is almost done with her teaching degree. They should give a class on teacher tools of the past.

  4. July 19, 2009

    heh! i tried explaining one of these things to some younger people, and they kept saying ‘you mean a photocopier’ and when i tried to explain it, they just looked at me like i was mad.

  5. Jason Howe
    July 23, 2009

    Don’t fret! I’m 27 and I remember them using these in Grade school. I miss my purple “copies”.

  6. August 13, 2009

    I totally remember that! As a matter of fact I am linking this post in my own blogpost about sensory reminders of my childhood!

  7. MAD Man
    January 22, 2010

    I recall recall a scene from Animal house where a teachers aid gets through “dittoing” tests and tosses the original blackish-purple original in the garabage that is later on retreived by the Alphas as they replace it with a dud copy for the Animal House guys to find later. I wonder how many young people realize what that scene was really about… Do you recall how you the test when you got them fresh off the ditto were a little damp and if you weren’t careful you could smudge the ink on them… I too still remember that smell – I am saddened my 3 year old will never get to experience that. I never thought I would repeat my Dad’s comment but kid really do have it easier these days.

  8. Jeff
    January 18, 2011

    I do remember those fresh ditto copies. Yes I did sniff em. The very last ditto I was ever handed was my College English class syllabus back in spring 1993. I still have it to date, since dittos are very very rare

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