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Copy Holder


This instrument consists of a metal plate roughly the shape of a standard piece of paper, held vertically in a ‘portrait’ orientation. At the top of this plate, there is a slightly broader metal piece with five ridged rollers spaced evenly along a metal rod. This rod is held tightly against the plate by means of springs. Beneath this, located about halfway down the plate when it’s in its lowered position is a narrower metal strip that covers the width of the plate. This is on a hinge at either side and can be raised slightly from the plate.

On the rear of the plate, there is a mechanism consisting of pulley wheels. This is connected to a rod that sticks out perpendicularly from the plate. The rod is supported by a bracket and a round rubber foot. At the end of this, there is a silver-coloured handle attached to a mechanism that when the handle is depressed, it rotates the rod a set amount; this motion is transmitted along the rod to the pulley mechanism and raises the metal plate. Also at this end, there is a handle that permits the free rotation of the rod and raising of the plate by any amount.

Most of the instrument is painted dark green.

Accession Number: 2019.ast.227

Alternative Name: Document Holder

Primary Materials: Metal: Iron Alloy, Rubber.


On a transfer in the middle of the front of the plate: “ERROR? NO”

On a torn transfer at the bottom right of the front of the plate: “UND[???]
TORONTO, CA[?????]”

On a transfer on the base of the stand for the plate: “MODEL 12”

On a transfer label on the rear of the plate: “DAWN MFG. CORP

On a transfer label on the rear of the plate: “PATENTED
This machine is covered by one or more of the following patents:
1,261,888 1,262,728
1,262,729 1,390,723
Other patents pending

Dimensions (cm): Height = 6.5, Width =34, Length = 41.


This object supports a document vertically so it can easily be read by a typist for copying. The handles advance the document so it can be read comfortably and quickly.


Excellent: The surface of the instrument is dusty but in excellent condition, with few scratches or marks in the paint surface. The unpainted metal surfaces are dulled but not corroded. There is a moving sticker stuck to the rear of the object, and one of the transfers has partially broken off and the rest is very loose. The disconnected piece is stored in a plastic bag.

Associated Instruments:

Manufacturer: Dawn Manufacturing Corporation

Date of Manufacture: After 1921-1930s


This copyholder was likely purchased for use at the David Dunlap Observatory in the 1930s and used there. It was kept at the David Dunlap Observatory until 2009. Upon the sale of the Observatory, it was moved to the University of Toronto’s Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the St George Campus. In 2017 it was moved to a new storage location in McLennan Physical Laboratories.

Additional Information and References:

Historical Notes: