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TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
Gestetner's Former Home
This is where photocopying pioneer David Gestetner lived.
Location: 124 Highbury New Park, Highbury
Description: This is the former home of David Gestetner, the pioneer who invented the stencil duplicator which allowed businesses to copy numerous documents. He lived here from 1898 up until his death in 1939.
Known as DG, David Gestetner was born in Hungary in 1854 and moved to London where in 1881 he invented a pen with a tiny sharp-toothed rotating wheel that was used to make a perforated stencil, through which ink was forced to make copies. A trained operator could produce a good-quality copy every 10 seconds, and the innovation soon transformed clerical work.
Gestetner applied the same formula for typewriters and opened a local factory nearby in Cross Street, and the company remained under family ownership until the 1980s.
English Heritage blue plaque historian Howard Spencer said: David Gestetner is an outstanding example of a London immigrant success story, having built up an internationally successful business from nothing more than a sharp idea. The advances he made in mechanised copying revolutionised office life all over the world.
David Gestetner was married to Sophie and they brought up seven children here.