JLS Mail Museum
The Addressograph Company was first formed in 1892 by Joesph S. Duncan in Sioux City, Iowa. Working as a miller, Joesph had the idea to invent a machine that would address the envelopes of the grain bids he had to send out. At first all the machine did was imprint names and addresses from rubber type glued on a block of wood onto an envelope. But after some improvements, he finally got it patented in April of 1896. The machine that he patented was said to address up to 2,000 envelopes an hour until about 1903 when the company introduced the new foot‐powered addressing machine making it possible to print up to 3,000 envelopes, tags, and checks an hour.
The original company that manufactured this machine was called Addressograph International until its merge with American Multigraph of Cleveland Ohio to form the Addressograph‐Multigraph Corporation. These addressing machines were mainly used to print names and addresses on newpapers, mailing labels, envelopes, and other items. The Addressograph printing machines ranged from around $35 which was hand operated $190 for a foot‐operated machine, or $1,500 for a large automatic‐feed electric machine which could produce about 9,600 addresses per hour.