The Evolution of the Fax Machine

Nov 07, 2016

Fun fact: The fax machine was actually invented about 30 years before the telephone.

As telecom industry leaders, the evolution of the fax machine ceases to amaze us. Since the 19th century, the fax machine has changed the way in which we communicate over long distances. The first facsimile (FAX) system was invented in 1842 by Alexander Bain, a Scottish physicist and clockmaker.

History of the Fax

By 1843, Bain worked on chemical mechanical fax type devices and received a British patent for the Electric Printing Telegraph. Three years later, Bain was able to reproduce graphic signs in laboratory experiments.

In 1880, English inventor Shelford Bidwell constructed the scanning phototelegraph. This was the first telefax machine to scan any two-dimensional original, not requiring manual plotting or drawing.

The invention of the telautograph by Elisha Grey in 1888 marked a further development in fax technology, allowing users to send signatures over long distances.

Making a Connection

On May 19, 1924, scientists of the AT&T Corporation created a new process of transmitting pictures by electricity and sent 15 photographs by telephone from Cleveland to New York City. Previously, photographs had only been sent over radio. With this new process, the fax we know today was born.

Ironically, the first fax machine (pictured) was built by Western Electric and demonstrated at Bell Labs in Holmdel, New Jersey (now known as Bell Works) where our corporate office is located.

Taking Fax Further

etherFAX is proud to work in the same building where so many technology innovations have been developed. Our mission is to revolutionize fax and secure document delivery even further. We change the way enterprise organizations send and receive information by offering a unique solution that extends existing fax solutions to the cloud. Through etherFAX’s infrastructure, faxes are delivered via HTTPS instead of traditional, PSTN-based connectivity.

With etherFAX, sending and receiving unstructured data between devices and applications is our core focus. We will continue to introduce new capabilities that leverage the etherFAX platform, providing enterprise organizations with a secure, ultra-fast network to deliver business-critical data.

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