How Does "AutoPen" Work?

The autopen machine is a great marketing tool and every time it hits my mailbox it catches my eye.  It certainly gives a personal touch to the Direct Mail piece. Ever wonder how that machine works?

It all began with President Jefferson and this crude machine


From there, it transformed into what we see today.

An autopen or signing machine is a device used for the automatic signing of a signature. The reason for employing an autopen is typically emotive, intending to form a compromise between making every signature by hand and printing a reproduction of the signature, perceived as impersonal by the recipient.

The autopen uses a plastic matrix of the original signature which is a channel cut into an engraved plate. A stylus driven by two electric motors follows the x and y axis of a profile or shape engraved in the plate (which is why it is called a matrix). The stylus ismechanically connected to an arm which can hold almost any common writing instrument, so the favorite pen and ink can be used to suggest authenticity. The Autopen signature is made with even pressure (and indentation in the paper), which is how these machines are distinguishable from original handwriting where the pressure varies.

Autopen is used most commonly in Direct Mail, but even the president himself has an AutoPen machine.  You can read about Obama’s Autopen machine HERE

Here is a quick youtube video of the machine and how the Autopen machine works

and if you are looking for a closeup of the process – check out this short clip

Imagine a direct mail piece of over 1Million pieces – Can you imagine how long it would take or how many machines you would need?

If you have used one of these machines before, we would love to hear about it below in the comments section.

~Source: Youtube and Wikipedia

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