Christopher H. Sterling
Facsimile, or the wired or wireless transmission of text, graphics, and photographs, has developed over more than a century into the office machines widely used by the 1970s. For a time before and after World War II, publishing newspapers with facsimile technology was a subject of extensive interest and many experiments. By the early twenty-first century, “fax” machines were in widespread office (and some home) use but were increasingly being supplanted by Internet-based services. The basic notion of sending graphic material long distance is as old as the telegraph. In the early 1840s, Scottish physicist Alexander Bain introduced the first primitive facsimile machine and patented it in 1843. Frederick Bakewell, an English physicist, was the first actually to demonstrate facsimile transmission, in 1851 at the London exposition. His system differed from Bain's in that images were received and printed on cylinders (a method commonly used as late as the 1960s). ...