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Haloid/Xerox - Can You Identify This Equipment? History of copying and faxing

By Crypto Eric | Blockchain Auditor | 21 Oct 2023


Rochester, NY, USA is known for quite a few things. But perhaps, next to "The Flour/Flower City", is the moniker of "The Optical Capital of the World". At one time, many of the biggest names associated with the practical use of optics were there, although most are just a shadow of what they once were.

Eastman Kodak was almost synonymous with Rochester, and George Eastman funded much of Rochester's universities, healthcare, nonprofits, museums, parks, to the point where Kodak was nicknamed "Papa Box" and "The Great Yellow Father" and the city known as "Smugtown" for all it received from its benefactors.

Bausch & Lomb was another industrial giant begun in Rochester in the 1850s and a mainstay until B&L was bought and moved to Laval, Quebec.

And Xerox began as the Haloid Company in Rochester in the 1900s. obtaining the rights to xerography from Chester Carlson in the 1940s. It became Haloid Xerox in 1958, and Xerox Corporation in 1961.

Xerox became a business titan with the release of the Xerox 914 copier.

Note: My pictures that follow were taken at an exhibit on Xerox's history that used to be in the Midtown Plaza, in Rochester, NY. That plaza was torn down; I have not been able to find if the exhibit still exists. The pictures were taken back when digital cameras did not have a lot of pixels (or at least the ones I could afford), so I am not able to enlarge them sufficiently to read them.

Xerox Copiers

Xerox Model 914

 

Xerox 914

Office-ready, commercial plain paper copier

The Model 914 was a revolutionary machine that changed the way documents were copied. It was much faster and more efficient than previous copying methods, such as carbon paper or mimeograph machines.

The Model 914 was a large and complex machine, but it was also very reliable (for the time) and easy too use. It was used by businesses and organizations of all sizes around the world. It was a major success for Xerox, for technology, financing, and marketing, and it helped to establish the company as a leader in the copier industry.

So easy, a chimpanzee could use it. https://youtu.be/YOEM6_JB5CI?si=HqOjwTsTpHI2Q9lY see more at https://www.cbc.ca/radio/undertheinfluence/how-a-chimpanzee-brought-xerox-to-the-masses-1.6756916 

Of course, the 914 built on its successors. One of those was the Xerox Model A.

Xerox Model A

 

Xerox Model A

Commercial xerographic copier

Nicknamed "The Ox Box", the Model A, which came out in 1949, was the first commercial xerographic copier. It was decidedly not easy to use, with many manual steps necessary to make a copy. Smithsonian Magazine says it was "a messy 39-step process"!

But it beat everything else available for making offset printing masters.

Let's keep going back in time. Here is a picture of one of the first xerographic copying machines.

One of the earliest xerographic machines

 

Earliest xerographic copying machine

An enlarged version of the picture in the frame can be found at this link: https://i.insider.com/5265a0c06bb3f7ab5e34d4b8?width=300&format=jpeg&auto=webp or https://images.app.goo.gl/nd3Rp2v8569B2UG96. The picture was even used on a "trading card", available at https://ethw.org/File:Carlsontradecard.jpg.

I have not been able to find a model number or name for this unit. One of the AI's decided to call it the Haloid Xerox Model 100, but I find no evidence of that. Perhaps, as it was pre-commercial, that wasn't important.

Xerox Facsimile Machines

When I took these pictures, people were still using fax machines. The fax machine became popular in the mid-80s. Some say that it was Federal Express introducing their Zapmail service in 1984 that brought attention to technology where .... forget about getting it there overnight, I need it NOW. (More at https://ethw.org/File:Carlsontradecard.jpg).

So some people may be surprised to know that commericial fax machines had been available since 1864 (yes, 18 with an eight). Xerox had come up with a "Long Distance X-Ray Printer (LDX) in 1964.

Xerox LDX System

Xerox Fax 1

Developed in Webster, NY and announced May 5, 1964, the LDX system was the first practical means of transmitting copies between two points using microwave, coax or special phone lines. Users included the US NSA, the White House and (maybe) the Pentagon. Then President Nixon had units at his retreats, all secured by NSA encryption.

Xerox Magnafax Telecopier (left); unknown device (right)

Xerox Fax 2

The Xerox Magnafax Telecopier was released in 1966. It was the first mass produced unit, and some say it was the genesis of the term "fax" (much like Xerox is challenged by people saying "make a Xerox of this for me", instead of "a xerographic copy". It weighed in at around 40 pounds and could send a document in around six minutes.

There's an old joke about the venerable consumer electronics chain called Radio Shack, which had a product line called Tandy. I guess more accurately, the Tandy Leather Company, started in 1919, acquired RadioShack, a small electronics business with a mail order arm, and grew to almost 7,000 stores in the US and thousands outside. Remember the TRS-80, one of the first popular consumer microcomputers. "TRS" = Tandy Radio Shack. Who knew?

But I digress.

The joke is:

Early fax machines were very specialized. If you bought a Tandy Fax machine for one site, you had to get a corresponding unit for the other site, known as a Tandy Co-fax.

And if you know who Sandy Koufax is (one of the greatest pitchers of all time in American baseball), you are one of the few to get that joke.

So that is a little history on (xerographic) copying and the role it played in commercialization of the facsimile (fax) machine, and the role and equipment produced by Xerox Corporation in Rochester, NY.

If you have information on this equipment .. and especially the mystery printer looking device, the network switch in the thumb nail that I found with the batch from the Xerox exhibit, or the location of the Xerox heritage exhibit  .... please provide your thoughts below.

Happy Xerographic copying!

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Blockchain Auditor
Blockchain Auditor

The Blockchain Auditor blog is focused on accounting and audit issues related to blockchain and crypto-assets. There will be content of interest to those with an interest in topics such as accounting for cryptoassets, audit procedures related to blockchain and distributed ledger technologies, blockchain for improving audit processes, taxation of cryptoassets, and trust.

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