The Ditto Machine or the Mimeograph Machine was a low tech xerox machine. It was a cheap way for schools to copy assignments or papers. It was a small hand cranked machine that would copy or print papers. You could hear the office worker cranking away in there all day.
Our school had one machine for the whole school. I remember our teacher would have to plan her classes to the latest batch of dittos. When she didn’t, we would have to wait and become restless. Those pages could make for a bad morning if they weren’t cranked fast enough.
When they were brought in, my teacher would stand there in front of each row, count the students, and hand a stack to the first row kid and we would have to “take one and pass it back”.
The pages were a pale blue color and sometimes they wouldn’t print dark enough or words would be missing. They kinda had a distant scent too.
You had to be careful, if you would handle enough of them or they wouldn’t be dry, your hands would get covered in blue ink.