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CIDX Newsletter – 1960’s Gestetner Memories


Today, your club newsletter is a PDF or web page. Back in the 1960’s, we made them using a Gestetner. It took hours to produce and print.

Over the years, many of us have belonged to clubs. A few of us volunteered to help publish the club newsletter. You might have some memories of such activities.

My first association membership was the Canadian International DX Club, or CIDX. I joined shortly after CIDX was formed by some Winnipeg radio listeners in 1962. The CIDX Messenger started as a single page newsletter in August of that year, quickly expanding to 20-30 pages in short order.

Our membership meetings were held once a month, on Monday evenings, at St. Matthews’ Anglican Church on Maryland Street in downtown Winnipeg. Afterwards, we would walk a short block to Harman’s Drugs on Portage Avenue for a snack at the lunch counter. Good memories.

My friend and neighbor Lorne Jennings became CIDX President in 1966, a role he continued for fifteen years. Shortly after I joined, Lorne convinced me help edit and publish the Messenger.

Back in those days, publishing a newsletter was hard work. No computers, word processors or laser printers. Just the mechanical mimeograph machine made by Gestetner.

Gestetner – Ink, Stencils and a Crank

Our Gestetner worked by pushing ink through a stencil onto paper. Each page required a stencil, which would last for 40-50 pages. Stencils were cut on a mechanical typewriter with its ribbon removed. With a hard strike, my typewriter keys would remove the wax cover of the stencil forming each letter. If I made a mistake, I could fix it with nail lacquer and typing the correct letter over top.

In the photo above, you can see a typical 1960’s Gestetner machine on the left, and a cut stencil on the right. You can get a sense of how the Gestetner and similar mimeograph machines worked in this video.

Plus, the ink really smelled bad!

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