Facsimile "make similar", "make a copy" was invented in 1843 by Scottish mechanic and inventor Alexander Bain. He received a British patent for “improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs”, and the fax was born, well not entirely.
Alexander Bain's fax machine transmitter scanned a flat metal surface using a stylus mounted on a pendulum. The stylus picked up images from the metal surface. An amateur clock maker, Alexander Bain combined parts from clock mechanisms together with telegraph machines to invent his fax machine.
I can remember one of the main applications for fax was that of military use, when we demonstrated the technology we also spoke of how it was first used by the military. In fact the military adopted faxing in 1943 to transmit maps, orders and weather charts during World War II.
It was not until 1948 that the FCC authorized commercial use of fax technology, Western Union then manufactured 50,000 Deskfax machines for use at their offices.The first users of facsimile were newspapers to transmit and receive photos from around the world. The next user of facsimile were the weather services around the world.
Sixty years have passed since Western Union created the Deskfax. Do you remember these statements? "Fax is dead", and "There's no need for fax when you have email". I'll admit that email has taken some of the fax machines popularity away, however there is still some type of fax in every office, whether its a stand alone product, a modem in a pc or a modem in multi-functional copy machine. The Healthcare Industry still loves faxing!
What would we have done in the eighties without the fax machine? Does anyone remember the Teli Vaxafax (made in Sweden)? We sold these like hotcakes for $2,200 each, no haggling and we were ordering 50 at clip and we were a small dealer!