A Short History of Fax Part 2: Finding Fax Online

Today we continue our look from last week at the interesting and somewhat surprising history of the fax machine and the road that led to today’s digital fax service. In case you missed it, check out A Short History of Fax Part 1.

Fax and the news

Over the course of the 1900s, as newspapers became the primary method of sharing news and other information, the fax was the ideal tool for the transmission of photographs and other images, and better quality images made a newspaper publication more competitive and more successful.

1924 was the first time fax became wireless. RCA (Radio Corporation of America) was the first business to use radio facsimile. The first wireless photograph of the US President was sent in this manner from New York to London for publication in a local newspaper. Radio fax was also used to quickly send weather charts to ships.

Fax on the ground… and in the home

In 1935, Western Union introduced facsimile telegraphy for companies to easily send signatures, drawings, and other material over long distances almost instantly.

Alexander Muirhead successfully developed a fax machine in 1947 that used a rotating drum scanner – a precursor to the fax machines most people were familiar with in the following decades.

By 1939, some wealthier people were investing in fax machines for their homes, allowing people to print newspapers at home rather than going out to buy them. The modern fax machine of the 1980s and 1990s used photosensors and thermal paper, replacing the rotating drums and cylinders of decades prior.

Goodbye hard fax; taking it online

Internet fax is the evolution of fax that we see today. Through this, and the ability to send fax online with email to fax capabilities, fax has never been more efficient. Today it doesn’t even require paper and ink.

Short history of fax part 2 infographic

Download a PDF version of infographic here: History Of Fax Part 2

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