Office automation in the pre-digital era ranged from the beautiful to the brilliant to the bizarre. People invented some curious things to make office work easier—a deep sea diver-type helmet that blocks out noise, desks attached to rotating file cabinets and many others.

I combed through the archives of, my favorite site for historical photography, and made some fascinating discoveries. Mainly, that people have long been driven by the pursuit of productivity, modernity and plugging things into other things.

Enjoy a quick trip through office automation history in this week’s SlideShare.

To learn more about how process automation software can help you automate routine tasks, such as data entry, routing information between parties, organizing documents and more, check out our process automation buyer’s guide.

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