The Commodore DryCopy Thermographic copying machine

Commodore DryCopy

In early 1962, Commodore expanded into the field of copying machines by creating two new subsidiaries: Commodore Drycopy, Inc. (New York) and Commodore Drycopy, Ltd. (Toronto). Commodore studied the three major copying technologies of the day: diffusion transfer, electrostatic and thermographic, and decided to enter the thermographic market. There were already over 100 different manufacturers of diffusion transfer copying machines so competition would be fierce in that market and the electrostatic method was considered to be too expensive for the small to medium sized business customers that Commodore was targeting. Further, the thermographic machines required special thermal-sensitive transfer sheets which Commodore saw as a recurring revenue source well beyond the initial sale of the copying machine.

In April 1963, Commodore hired the Conti Advertising Agency of New York to create an advertising campaign for the DryCopy machines.

Beginnings as an OEM product

Eichner DryCopy Machine

Eichner DryCopy Machine

Commodore self-described as a marketing company at its inception.  Everything from their typewriters, adding machines and office furniture was, at least initially, an OEM deal.  That is, some other company manufactured the products and Commodore put their name on it.  Commodore’s role in putting products in customers hands was primarily in sales and marketing.  In the case of the DryCopy machines, the original equipment manufacturer was EICHNER Organisation GmbH of Frankfurt, Germany.

Commodore Begins Manufacturing DryCopy machines

In 1963 Commodore purchased a 49.34% interest in Analogue Controls, Inc, a manufacturing company located at 200 Frank Road in Hicksville, New York, and began to manufacture the DryCopy machines at the Analogue plant.  For reasons that are unknown to me, in October 1964 Commodore sold their stake in Analogue Controls, Inc.  It was a brilliant move by Commodore in that they sold their stake at a net profit over what they paid for it, and they left the company saddled with debt owed to Commodore Factors and Baronet Associates which were two other Tramiel/Kapp companies.

Exiting the copying machine market

Commodore never made a formal announcement of their exiting the copying machine market, but all mentions of the DryCopy machine appear to have ceased in 1967.  The US-based Commodore Drycopy corporate entity was legally merged into Commodore Business Machines, Inc on June 27, 1967.





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1 Response

  1. D. Schmudde says:

    This is a great writeup on a product that really shows the direction that Commodore was heading. There is also one small detail that pulls a few things together for me

    > In the case of the DryCopy machines, the original equipment manufacturer was EICHNER Organisation GmbH of Frankfurt, Germany.

    I had not been able to trace the OEM of this copier. In sworn testimony to the Royal Commission, Tramiel mentions that he had to fly to Frankfurt for business. This is after he met Erik Markus, who may have been instrumental in the deal with Zbrojovka Brno. IIRC, Markus also may have been in Frankfurt.

    Tramiel makes the deal with EICHNER in Frankfurt and would then return to Germany again to strike the deal with Markus’ father-in-law Willi Feiler.

    This Eichner deal is sort of the “missing link” between the two.

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