Facsimile (FAX) Machine

Alexander Bain created a telegraph that transmitted light and dark dots that were reproduced on the other side, the fax machine, long before the telephone.

Early faxes were popular with newspapers due to their ability to quickly transmit crude images. Countless modifications and improvements followed over the years.

Despite the obvious differences in the innovation, Morse shut Bain down as a patent infringer.

Note that it’s difficult to believe the FAX machine is this old but the historical record is clear. For whatever reason, it took well over 100 years to create FAX machines for use outside newspapers and other specialized uses of photo transmission.

In 1964, Xerox invented and patented the modern FAX machine; after some early adjustments, the standard remained unchanged until today. However, inexpensive scanners, digital file scans (ex: PDF), and internet transmission disrupted the FAX machine.