Zerograph (Kamm, 1895-190?)

(Wireless) Printing Telegraphy

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1. Overview

This is probably mis-filed here (in "typewriters") as it really was intended more as a component in a printing telegraph system. While it seems to have begun as a system for land-line printing telegraphy, by 1903 it was being promoted specifically as a system for wireless telegraphy. This was rather forward-thinking, as Marconi had only achieved the first transatlantic message transmission in 1902.

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(From Scientific American, Vol. 78, No. 13 (1898-03-26): 197. )

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(From Scientific American, Vol. 86, No. 16 (1903-10-17): 273. )

2. Business History

A notice in The Electrical Engineer, Vol. 17, No. 1 (January 3, 1896), p. 25 says:

"Kamm's Zerograph Syndicate, Limited. - This company has been registered by Messrs. Osborn and Osborn, Exchange-chambers, Copthall avenue, E. C., with a capital of GBP 12 000 in GBP 10 shares. Its object is to enter into an agreemen twith L. Kamm, and to carry on business as manufacturers of and dealers in telegraphic apparatus, or any other apparatus to be used for the transmission of messages. The directors are S. Reuschel and L. Kamm. The qualification is GBP 100. Remuneration, GBP 100, divisible; and the registered office 133 and 135 Old-street, E.C."

(This volume has been digitized by Google from the Stanford University copy. Here is an extract of the relevant page: electrical-engineer-london-new-series-v017-n01-1896-01-03-google-p025-img038-014-006-stanford-kamm-zerograph-syndicate.pdf.)

Data reprinted from unpublished materials at the UK National Archives on "The London Project" (for "The birth of the film business in London" - I'm not sure why they're cataloging printing telegraphs) indicates the following:

For "Kamm's Zerograph Syndicate (1895) Ltd." they indicate the following:

(Source: http://londonfilm.bbk.ac.uk/view/business/?id=476)

For "Kamm's Zerograph Syndicate (1905) Ltd." they indicate the following:

(Source: http://londonfilm.bbk.ac.uk/view/business/?id=475)

3. Third-Party Literature

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The Electrician (1897)

"The Zerograph." The Electrician, Vol. 40, No. 4, Whole No. 1018 (Nov. 19, 1897): 114-115.

Digitized by Google from the Princeton University copy. The icon at left links to a PDF-format extract of just this article; the images below are PNG-format extracts of the embedded images at full available (which isn't very good) resolution.

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Pacific Rural Press (1897)

"The Zerograph." The Pacific Rural Press and California Fruit Bulletin, Vol. 54, No. 23 (1897-12-04). (San Francisco, CA)

This news item should not, I think, be taken to suggest that the Zerograph had become significant to rural Californian fruit growers. Rather, it simply indicates the breadth with which the machine was, for a time, promoted in the press. The same news story appeared elsewhere.

This newspaper has been digitized by the California Digital Newspaper Collection at the University of California, Riverside. It is in the public domain, but they request that they be credited as: California Digital Newspaper Collection, Center for Bibliographic Studies and Research, University of California, Riverside, http://cdnc.ucr.edu.

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Scientific American (1897)

"The Zerograph." Scientific American, Vol. 78, No. 13 (1898-03-26): 197.

This has been digitized by Google from the University of Michigan copy. The icon at left links to a PDF-format extract containing just this page. Below are the images from this page extracted at the best-available resolution. Note also that the cut of the machine is an engraving, not a photograph. While it is clearer than the photograph on which it is based (as shown, for example, in The Electrician, above , it still represents an interpretation by the engraver.

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Scientific American (1903)

"The Kamm Typewriter for Use with Wireless Telegraphy." Scientific American, Vol. 89, No. 16 (1903-10-17): 273-274.

This volume of Scientific American has been digitized by Google from the University of Minnesota copy. The icon at left links to an extract, in PDF format, of the two pages from that digitization with this article.

Here are the images from this digitization of this article, extracted at the best possible image quality (which is pretty bad).

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Mares (1909)

The icon at left links to a PDF-format extract of the brief section on The Zerograph (pp. 312-314) from Geo. Carl Mares' The History of the Typewriter (London: G. Pittman, 1909). See the entry for Mares in the "Books and Other Third-Party Histories of the Typewriter for the complete text.


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