Thomas Paine Ditto works began when our family discovered an old duplicating machine in the barn. Ditto machines worked with something called a spirit master (aha!) on a hand-cranked cylinder. They produced copies, usually purple, which smelled like alcohol. We took the machine to a company which once made Dittos and they reassembled it and sold us a can of duplicator fluid.
We started a little monthly magazine called the House Organ, laboriously hand-lettering every page, running it off on the Ditto machine, collating, stapling, and mailing it out to our friends. We named our small (very small) press for Thomas Paine, who was best known as a publisher of pamphlets urging the young American colonies to declare their independence.
In the first birthday issue of the House Organ, we tried to connect Thomas Paine to music, since one issue of the magazine was a music book. Tradition said that one of the first of Paine's Crisis Letters was written on a drum head. "Thomas Paine," our article said, "might have been speaking of music when he wrote 'The creation speaketh a universal language. It is an ever-existing original which every (person) can read. It cannot be suppressed.'"
We had about 50 subscribers by the time we gave up the magazine. The last copy, which would have been Volume 3, No. 4, was never printed. The only survivor of the Ditto Works was the music book, A Workbook for Organic Playing, which went into a dozen private printings of a few hundred copies each and which is still in use by a few devotees.