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Encyclopedia > Autopen
US Government employees operate a check-signing machine.

An Autopen is a machine for automatically signing a signature as an autograph. Image File history File links Size of this preview: 799 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (926 × 695 pixel, file size: 92 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) From http://www. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 799 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (926 × 695 pixel, file size: 92 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) From http://www. ... The tone or style of this article or section may not be appropriate for Wikipedia. ...



The first autopens were developed by an Englishman named John Isaac Hawkins. Hawkins received a US patent for his device in 1803. In 1804, Thomas Jefferson began using the device extensively. This early device was known at the time as a polygraph—an abstracted version of the pantograph—bearing little resemblance to today's autopens in design or operation. For other uses, see Patent (disambiguation). ... Thomas Jefferson (13 April 1743 N.S.–4 July 1826) was the third President of the United States (1801–09), the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776), and one of the most influential Founding Fathers for his promotion of the ideals of Republicanism in the United States. ... Polygraph results are sometimes recorded on a chart recorder A polygraph (commonly yet incorrectly referred to as a lie detector) is a device that measures and records several physiological variables such as blood pressure, pulse, respiration and skin conductivity while the subject is asked and answers a series of questions. ... This page is about the duplication instrument. ...

Harry Truman is believed to have been the first United States President to use the autopen as a way of responding to mail and signing checks. Autopen devices are used today by politicians and fundraisers to sign letters to constituents written by administrative assistants and clerical staff, and by celebrities such as movie stars, music stars and astronauts to sign photographs. A company named Studio Fanmail uses autopens to reproduce celebrity autographs onto pictures of the celebrity. For the victim of Mt. ... The presidential seal is a well-known symbol of the presidency. ...

Today's autopens are often used to allow someone to be in two places at once. A politician can be travelling while his staff sign letters on his behalf. Donald Rumsfeld admitted using an autopen to sign letters to the family of people killed in action. When questioned on the subject, he stated it was inappropriate and began to sign the letters personally. Donald Henry Rumsfeld (born July 9, 1932) is a U.S. politician and businessman, who was the 13th Secretary of Defense under President Gerald Ford from 1975 to 1977, and the 21st Secretary of Defense under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2006. ...

Further developing the class of devices known as autopens, Canadian author Margaret Atwood developed a device called the Longpen, which allows audio and video conversation between the fan and author while a book is being signed remotely. Margaret Eleanor Atwood, OC (born November 18, 1939) is a Canadian writer. ... The LongPen is the first long distance, real pen and ink signing device. ...


The first step in using an autopen machine is to have a metal "matrix" of the signature made. This matrix is then loaded into the machine and signing can commence. Some claim that celebrity matrices are bought and sold by autograph vendors to sign photos without the consent of the original celebrity.

Is it an autopen autograph or not?

Many celebrities answer fan mail by sending autographs back. Because of existence of the autopen, many fans may question the authenticity of an autograph if unable to witness it being made. Image File history File links Information. ... Wikibooks logo Wikibooks, previously called Wikimedia Free Textbook Project and Wikimedia-Textbooks, is a wiki for the creation of books. ...

There are several telling characteristics which may reveal whether an autograph was made with an autopen:

  • Celebrities using autopen machines usually do not change their signature for one particular fan. Therefore, if the autograph is personalized (as in "To James, cheers, John Smith"), then it is probable that an autopen was not used. (However some celebrities get an assistant to personalize autopenned photos, such as golfer Greg Norman)
  • Because autopen operators generally use only a single template, variation with other signature samples indicates non-autopen use. Stephen Beck has published many astronauts' autopens on the internet.1
  • An autopen's signature is slightly shaky as the autopen vibrates.
  • Autopens come to abrupt halt at the end and may leave a noticeable spot of ink.
  • Autopens do not always create an identical signature due to the machine moving accidentally.
  • Curved letters tend to look 'scratchy'
  • The signature is imprinted in the photo, the ink usually matte

External links

  Results from FactBites:
Autopen - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (479 words)
The first autopens were used during the late 19th century.
Harry Truman is believed to have been the first United States President to use the autopen as a way of responding to mail.
This was due in large part to the fact that most superstars receive a very large volume of letters each day from their fans, therefore, it could become impossible for them to send personally written autographs through the mail to those admirers that write to them.
Autopen - encyclopedia article about Autopen. (800 words)
An Autopen is a machine used to create fake autographs autograph is a document written entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one transcribed by an amanuensis or a copyist (see allography).
During the Truman era, autopen machines could use up to eight pens in a row to forge a President or celebrity's signature into a document, photo or piece of paper.
Because of the autopen, many fans may question the authenticity of their autograph received by postal mail.
  More results at FactBites »



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