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The Fax Machine - Research Paper Example

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The Fax Machine

It first became an office workhorse in the 1980s and has continued to appear on business cards ever since! Although threatened by more advanced technologies like scanners, printers and email, the fax machine continues to dodge extinction and to remain attractive to businesses and individuals. Fax Machine’s Share in the History of Communications Alexander Bain, a Scottish mechanic, invented the fax machine or ‘facsimile’ in 1843 in Britain. Bain’s fax machine used a stylus attached to a pendulum that scanned an image or text on a metal surface. The machine used by Bain was a combination of several clock parts that worked in sync with a telegraph machine. It transferred encoded image data via telegraph lines. This machine however did not gain significant ground at the time of its inception, and people soon abandoned it due to its bulky size and limited utility. 1 The invention of the telephone in 1876 revived the use of fax machines, which then used telephone lines for data transmission. Later on, these machines could also transmit data via radio waves. By 1924, journalists faxed photographs to distant newspapers, and by 1955, radio fax enabled the transfer of data across continents. Newspapers and weather services were the earliest users of fax machines for transferring photographs and weather maps across the world.2 By 1980, telephone-based fax machines had gained immense popularity because of their reduced prices and fixed Grade 3 standards of operation. About a million fax machines were sold in 1988 alone, and they became the fastest selling machines adorning homes and office desktops word wide.3 Fax machines proved to be of immense utility to the Japanese. The Japanese alphabet has thousands of characters, and keypads can only afford a limited number of keys. Fax machines provided the Japanese an easy way of transferring their written documents. According to the American facsimile association, about 50% of all calls made in the 1980s to the USA from Japan were to fax machines.4 Frank Vizard, a contributing editor of Popular Mechanics magazine, has suggested that the increasing popularity of fax machines blurred the line between the home and the office, as business documents could easily be faxed to homes within seconds. People dealt with work related documents from the comforts of their homes. Fax machines soon replaced postal mailboxes and reduced the time of delivery of documents. They became a convenient tool for telecommuting before the advent of the email. This was both a convenience as well as an inconvenience, as people felt increasing pressure to work from home.5, 6 Are Fax Machines Becoming Obsolete? – Not Yet! Fax machines, which were at risk of extinction right after their invention, were revived by the invention of the telephone and later by the invention of the radio. After the advent of email, hybrid printers and scanners, fax machines were again under threat of extinction. Yet again, they adapted to changing times by incorporating advanced features like LAN connectivity, LCD displays, and Fax over IP capabilities. Fax machines also doubled up as copiers. Prominent scanner and printer manufactures have also incorporated faxing capabilities in some of their models. Fax machines can now convert paper copies into TIFF and PDF files that can be sent as email attachments. Fax machines today are fully equipped with broadband connection ...Show more


The Fax Machine – A Constantly Evolving Technology Dodging Extinction By Your name Subject Tutor name University Date The Fax Machine – A Constantly Evolving Technology Dodging Extinction Despite the availability of more advanced technologies for transferring documents worldwide, the fax machine, a technology developed way back in 1843, continues to thrive…
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The Fax Machine essay example
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