As 2016 comes to a close, we are thankful for what a great year it has been for our company and the industry as a whole. As we were thinking back on everything this year has brought us, we also began to think about the origin of fax technology and how it became the amazing industry that it is today.
That’s why we have decided to take a look back in time and share with our readers a brief history of faxing.
Starting at the Beginning
Long before companies like ours began offering enterprise fax solutions to businesses, fax technology was still in its most simple of forms. The first fax ever was sent in by Alexander Bain, a Scottish philosopher, inventor and educator. He patented the technology, known then as the “Electric Printing Telegraph,” in 1843.
The way Bain’s technology worked was by synchronizing the movement of two pendulums with a clock. This synchronization allowed the image to be scanned line by line. The image would then be transferred onto a cylinder, which would reproduce it by syncing with the pendulums.
Improvements Were Made
Unfortunately for Bain, whose discovery was ingenious, no one found his machine to be very useful. In 1851, English physicist, Frederick Bakewell improved the machine by replacing the pendulums with rotating cylinders and using a stylus to draw out the transmitted images.
No one used his machine either, mostly because it was rather useless to own one when there was no one else in the world to send a fax to.
By the 1860s, people were beginning to recognize the usefulness of the technology. This was because an Italian physicist by the name of Giovanni Caselli commercialized the technology. He created a device known as the pantelegraph, which could transmit data anywhere a telegraph wire could be laid.
About ten years later, Alexander Graham Bell was credited for inventing the telephone, and so fax by phone was invented.
Fast Forward to Modern Fax
Over the next 100 years or so, many variations of fax machines were created:
- 1888: Elisha Grey increased the range of fax transmissions, allowing them to be sent over long distances.
- 1902: Arthur Korn of Germany invented telephotography, allowing photographs to be sent via telephone wires.
- 1924: Richard H. Ranger, a designer for Radio Corporation America (RCA), makes faxes wireless by transmitting them over radio waves.
- 1942: Herbert E. Ives, an American scientist, transmitted the first color fax.
- 1964: Xerox Corporation patents and introduces the first commercialized modern fax machine, the Long Distance Xerography (LDX). This was followed quickly (in 1966) by their Magnafax Telecopiers, which weighed only 46 pounds.
- 1998: Dynamic Solutions Group (which would later become The Fax Guys!), opens their doors.
The Fax Revolution
By the 1980s, Japanese companies had entered the industry and began competing in what was now a global industry. Between 1973-1983, the number of fax machines in the US increased from 30,000 to 300,000.
This was the golden age of fax technology, which some people thought would end once another technology crept onto the market: the Internet.
Fax Meets the Internet
Today, fax is alive and well, and it has even moved to the cloud. The technology is still used by Fortune 500 companies, the healthcare industry and many other organizations that need a fast, easy and secure was to send private documents across the world.
At The Fax Guys, we have made it our mission to create custom fax solutions for businesses everywhere. We have installed over 1,000 fax servers and currently support over 800 RightFax environments in the US. We take the guesswork out of faxing, and we are proud to keep this amazing technology working for those who use it.
To learn more about how we help our customers with their fax needs, contact our team today.