Did you know? Englishman John Isaac Hawkins is credited with developing and introducing the first autopen-like device in 1803. Thomas Jefferson is recognized as the first person to routinely use the device in his day to day activities. Later, in the 1930’s, the Robot Pen was introduced and became commercially available. The first widely commercially successful autopen was introduced by Robert De Shazo Jr. in 1942. A lucrative deal was struck with the United States Navy and his device soon began appearing in the offices of Congress, the Senate and other Executive branches. Soon more than 500 autopens were in use just in our capitol. Today autopen devices are commonly used by politicians, athletes, celebrities and other public figures for accurately reproducing signatures without the signer actually having a hand in it. Modern high-tech autopens use smart cards and flash drives to store signatures and can even replicate entire pages of writing in a subject’s handwriting. Believe it or not, there actually is a book entitled “The Robot That Helped to Make a President” about the ways in which President John F. Kennedy utilized the machine! Autopens currently range in cost from approximately $2,000 to $10,000.
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