Book made using 4 daisy-chained printers spanning 100 years' worth of technology

Xavier Antin's installation piece "Just in Time" uses four devices spanning 100 years of desktop printing to generate a rather lovely book; each printer's output is the input for the next one down the line.
A book printed through a printing chain made of four desktop printers using four different colors and technologies dated from 1880 to 1976. A production process that brings together small scale and large scale production, two sides of the same history.

* MAGENTA (Stencil duplicator, 1880)
* CYAN (Spirit duplicator, 1923)
* BLACK (Laser printer, 1969)
* YELLOW (Inkjet printer, 1976)

Just in Time, or A Short History of Production (via Neatorama)


      1. I only read a description of the film and I think it has scarred me for life. It was the first thing I thought when I saw this picture, too. We are irreparably damaged, I fear. Thank you,
        Tom Six.

  1. Hm.. the last printer doesn’t look like a 1976 model to me. In fact, consumer inkjets were first introduced in the early nineties…

    Same goes for the laser printer.

    The other dates are probably wrong too.


    1. I agree about the dates…not sure about the printing devices, but inkjet was invented in 1976, but didn’t become a commercial product until HP released a model in 1988…

  2. That’s all well and good, but that definitely isn’t a Laser printer. It’s a Xerox Docuprint M750/760, which is an Inkjet printer.

  3. What a cool idea! Too bad there’s no way to improve the registration – it looks like you’d need 3-D glasses to actually read it.

  4. Those dates are screwed up. The technologies might have been conceived then, but not actualized until later. The machine’s production date should be used instead, not the day the invention was invented. If I make an ornithopter, do I label it 1486? No, I label it 2011.

    1. Wait now…would that be an ornithopter made before or after the Butlerian Jihad? For the life of me, I just cannot keep the Pre-Imperium dates straight!

  5. “* BLACK (Laser printer, 1969)
    * YELLOW (Inkjet printer, 1976)”

    Is it just me, or do the last two printers in the chain NOT look like they are from the 60s and 70s? Maybe they meant 1989 and 1996?

  6. Why not add some guy with a quill pen at the beginning. He could write the page number on a blank piece of paper before feeding it into the Stencil Duplicator thingy.

    Then this book would span thousands of years of “technology”… and at least the page number would be legible.

  7. Uh, laser printer 1969? I don’t think so. AFAIK the first laser printer that was anything like that small was the HP LaserJet 1 which came out in the 80s. There were laser printers before that but they were the size of cars. I don’t think they go back to 1969 though.

  8. The house I used to own was kinda like this.

    The water came through 1915 vintage iron, 1940’s vintage copper and 1980’s vintage PVC to get to my bathroom tap.

    The drinkability was about as good as the readability of this book, too.

  9. Er, 1880-1976 is 96 years, not 100. Why do journalists always exaggerate?

    @traalfaz: Xerox made laser printers in the early 1980s that were much smaller than cars; they were more like the size of a big beverage cooler.

  10. Hmm..

    The first machine was still current technology in the late 70s. I had seen a photocopy machine in a school before that, but a gestetner was what I used right up to 79.

  11. That is some seriously terrible registration! As a professional printer, I am aghast.

    But as art, eh.

  12. Great idea for technological art, but as a lot of people have pointed out, authenticity of the machines is more important than using the technology; thus the machine’s underlying technology invention date is as important as when the machine was actually constructed.

    To construct this kind of work, you’ll need to get the earliest possible machine doing the job. And you can extend it back in time to Gutenberg’s original press, and beyond that to the hand copying, and beyond that to the spoken word.

    The history of the “copy machine” is not simple, but today it is most controversially represented by free exchange of information through torrents and sites like Wikileaks.

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