A Brief History of The Fax Machine

The fax machine has been an important part of life for decades and while their use might be waning due to newer technologies, they are still used in many offices to send material over on quick notice, but where did the use of fax machines begin and who invented them?


While the machines were most commonly used during the seventies and eighties, most people probably won’t be aware that fax machines have been about since the 1800s. They were invented by Alistair Bain in 1843 and the first model was a pretty simple device consisting of two pens connected via a wire. While this sounds like a rather rudimentary design, it allowed messages to be written by using an electrically conductive surface.


In 1862, there was to be a further advancement in the creation of fax machines when a man named Giovanni Caselli, a physicist  from Italy, invented a machine that he called the Pantelegraph. The Pantelegraph used Alistair Bain’s creation as a model, but also had some  synchronizing equipment to enable it to work that bit better. This early version of the fax machine was soon put to use in the offices of the  French Post & Telegraph, where it would be used up until 1870.


There were many other versions of the fax in the years in between, however, it would be the French inventor Edouard Beeline, who would invent the Belinograph. The invention used an electrical beam and many of today’s modern fax machines would not be possible if it was not for this invention as they use the same technology to make them function.


Moving on to more modern times, It would be Xerox – known now for its range of state-of-the-art printers, copiers and software – that would make the fax machine affordable for the buying public.


Fax machines continued to grow in popularity throughout the eighties and at one time it was seen to be one of the most important pieces of equipment for sending information, letters, documents and other written work through to colleagues or friends awaiting the information.


By using a fax machine, information could be sent anywhere in the world just by pressing in the appropriate number and clicking send. It was a truly remarkable invention of its time and made offices and homes the world over far more efficient than they were before.


Modern Times


The sales of individual fax machines have declined in recent years, largely because of the all in one systems and because of modern technology. Email communications are by far the most popular now and do everything the fax used to do in terms of allowing people to send information anywhere at the click of a few buttons.


However, the fax machine still has a part in many offices and modern day life and is still used as a way of sending information in addition to the more modern means.  For some of the latest and most up-to-date models, click here.


Image attributed to: Danilo FreeDigitalPhotos.net Rizzutiht



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