By John Hertz: The only current annual fanziners’ convention I know of is Corflu. Another called Ditto having run two decades, not always annually, fell asleep. An attempt at another called Toner lasted, if memory serves, two years.
Corflu is mimeograph correction fluid, once indispensable. The Mimeograph was a 19th Century invention for making inexpensive copies by forcing ink through stencils held on a rotating drum. In the United States, “Mimeograph” was a registered trademark of A.B. Dick Co., but was allowed to become generic.
Gestetner-brand machines appeared a few years later. With Roneo-brand machines you could change drums to change the color of ink. Rex Rotary was another brand. I’m not sure how widely mimeograph or mimeo was used as a generic term outside the U.S.
Many thought this the Grade A technology for fanzine publication until cheap photocopying arrived. Corflu was essential so as to cure misteaks.
Spirit duplication, which always sounded to me like something out of a fantasy story, was a 1920s tech. Writing on a master sheet pressed the master against a second, inked sheet; the master, duly inked on its back side, and attached to a drum, was rolled over a wick holding an alcohol-based solvent that transferred ink onto paper.
The Ditto brand was best known; another was Heyer. You could correct errors with skillful use of a razor blade, or an X-Acto knife, and rewriting (or even retyping).
Each of these had various advantages, disadvantages, and know-how. Generally mimeo could reproduce more copies, spirit duplication was cheaper.
Toner is the powdery ink used in laser printers and many photocopiers.
As Paul Skelton recently quoted from Marshall McLuhan in Raucous Caucus 7, when technology becomes obsolete it reshapes into an art form. Actually McLuhan also said obsolescence isn’t an ending, it’s a beginning. Speaking for myself I’m big on Right tool for right task.
Corflu XXXVII was March 13-15, 2020, at College Station, Texas, U.S.A. (some cons get names; this one was “Corflu Heatwave”). Corflu XXXVIII is scheduled for March 26-28, 2021, at Bristol, England, U.K. (“Corflu Concorde”). Seldom able to attend in person, I’ve been a faithful Supporting Member, and happily recommend membership in either kind.
If you’re electronic you can start here; or you can always write to me, 236 S. Coronado St., No. 409, Los Angeles, CA 90057, U.S.A.