Science and Invention


When was the first fax machine developed?

The fax (facsimile) machine may seem like a recent invention, but it was developed long ago—it took more than 100 years for the machines to become part of everyday life. In 1842 to 1843 Scottish philosopher and psychologist Alexander Bain (1818–1903) invented the first, albeit crude, fax machine. The scanning technology was improved enough by 1924 that newspapers began using the device to transmit photographs. By the 1930s wirephotos were an important component of newspaper reports. It was not until the 1980s that faxes came into widespread use, as manufacturers produced the more compact and affordable machines that are visible in most every place of business today.


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