The History of the Fax Machine

The History of the Fax Machine

The history of the fax machine is a rather interesting one. Nowadays, the fax machine is not considered to be the revolutionary machine that it was when it was first introduced onto the market. In fact, some people’s machines for sending and receiving fax messages are sitting gathering dust. If you know the history of the fax machine, you might be more inclined to have another look at the old machine stuck in the corner.

The fax machine dates back hundreds of years. In fact, the idea for the machine was based on that of a telegraph. The problem was that no one had the opportunity to send information quickly to one another. Originally, if you needed to speak to someone or transfer information, it had to be done via post. Therefore, it became necessary to find a way in which to do this, so that important information could get to people faster. In some cases, this information could mean the difference between life and death!

The first recorded machine for sending fax messages was invented by Alexander Bain in 1843. This machine was a simple version of the current fax machine and was invented before the telephone! Bain based his construction of the fax machine on the basic principles of electrochemistry, mechanics and the foundation of the telegraph. At first, Bain simply invented a chemical telegraph, which would send long and short lines of information, he was then able to use the same principles to create images via telegraph. According to How Stuff Works, Bain then used a solution of nitrate ammonia and prussiate of potash to treat the paper. When this was combined with an electrical impulse, it created the first fax pages.

The machine was modified a number of different times before it became the fax machine that we use today. When its final form was released to the market, it was marvelled by most and was a necessity for every office, big or small. It was the first time that people were able to send information to one another and get a response or modifications in a matter of minutes. The machine helped to improve the quality and productivity of most businesses around the world and was the number one way in which to communicate until the much later invention of email.

When email and the internet were first introduced to the market, many people believed that there would no longer be a use for the fax machine. This could have been true were it not for another expansion to the functionality of the fax machine. Fax to email provided a service whereby fax messages could be converted into email format. This was essential in keeping businesses with the most modern technology in contact with businesses in rural areas. In fact, fax to email is still used today.

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