University of Virginia Library


In 1963, Johnson told William B. Todd that Hinman had transferred the patent for the collator to him (Johnson, Letter to William B. Todd, 18 Oct. 1963). I have been unable to confirm this in the patent records. In 1968, Johnson paid Hinman $1000.00 to “release Arthur M. Johnson personally, Corporation [sic], or any other person, persons, or manufacturing firm of any further obligation in the way of royalties, patents, or commissions on all future sales of the Hinman Collator” (Johnson, Typescript). Despite this agreement, however, for some years thereafter Johnson voluntarily paid Hinman a $100.00 commission on each collator sold for “rare book use” (Johnson, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 21 Apr. 1972). These payments were made in recognition of Hinman's “fair and liberal treatment” in the early days of their relationship and to acknowledge the many inquiries that Hinman had passed on to Johnson over the years. Johnson lost money early on, and thus Hinman waived any royalty or payment on the first few machines (Johnson, Letter to Charlton Hinman, 19 Feb. 1970).


Johnson states in this letter that the “silent” electronic circuit board had been in place for about nine years. This would indicate that the first “non-clicking” machine was produced around 1964. Since I have not been able to examine each collator personally, I cannot say which was the first machine to feature this improvement. Whether a Hinman “clicked” in operation, however, was an important distinction for many who used the machine. The non-clicking models were considered more up-to-date, and thus preferable to the earlier machines.


John Manning provided invaluable assistance in tracking down the details on this matter. A script for the film survives in the Department of Special Collections at Ohio State University (Boyce). In the 1960s, OSU maintained an ambitious film program for promotional purposes. The Department of News and Information Services produced scripts highlighting various campus programs and offered them for production to local news stations. Sometimes the scripts were picked up and made into short films and sometimes not. This seems to have been the impetus for the Hinman script, which indicates a running time of less than three minutes. Robert Boyce was one of its authors. He does not remember whether the film was ever made. I have been unable to locate a copy in the OSU archives or at any of the local news stations. John Manning, again, did all of the on the ground searching for me at OSU. I am very grateful to him for his efforts. It now seems unlikely that the film was produced. No one that we have located remembers it. However, whether or not the film was made, the fact that OSU went as far as to write and circulate a script shows that institutions were interested in making the most of the Hinman for promotional purposes.


Despite numerous attempts, I have been unable to extract any information from the CIA about their use of this machine. No doubt such information is classified. Robert Michel, who worked for Johnson building collators and later took over their manufacture under the company name MICO Engineering, told me an interesting story about this machine. Apparently the CIA instructed Johnson to deliver its order to an inconspicuous loading dock, where an anonymous individual paid him in cash and, instead of having Johnson unload the collator, instructed him to merely detach and leave the U-haul trailer with the machine still on it. Though Johnson had rented the trailer himself, he was never asked to return it or settle the bill; apparently these details were resolved for him (Michel, 15 July 2000). According to Johnson's relatives, a few years later he heard from the CIA again. As Johnson told the story, they were inquiring about the purchase of a new machine because the first one had been stored in a location so secret that even the CIA could not find it (Arthur Juniewicz, 29 Sept. 2000).


[Hinman Collators in current use]; “Hinman Collators: Present Locations”; “Locations of Hinman Collators.”