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But trillions of documents later, his invention is the biggest thing in printing since Gutenburg By David Owen Smithsonian Magazine Subscribe August Copying is the engine of civilization: The oldest copier invented by people is language, by which an idea of yours becomes an idea of mine.
The second great copying machine was writing. When the Sumerians transposed spoken words into stylus marks on clay tablets more than 5, years ago, they hugely extended the human network that language had created.
Writing freed copying from the chain of living contact. It made ideas permanent, portable and endlessly reproducible. Until Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press in the mids, producing a book in an edition of more than one generally meant writing it out again.
Printing with moveable type was not copying, however. The first true mechanical copier was manufactured inwhen James Watt, who is better known as the inventor of the modern steam engine, created the copying press.
Few people today know what a copying press was, but you may have seen one in an antiques store, where it was perhaps called a book press. A user took a document freshly written in special ink, placed a moistened sheet of translucent paper against the inked surface and squeezed the two sheets together in the press, causing some of the ink from the original to penetrate the second sheet, which could then be read by turning it over and looking through its back.
Copying presses were standard equipment in offices for nearly a century and a half. Thomas Jefferson used one, and the last president whose official correspondence was copied on one was Calvin Coolidge.
The machines were displaced, beginning in the late s, by a combination of two 19thcentury inventions: Among the first modern copying machines, introduced in by 3M, was the Thermo-Fax, and it made a copy by shining infrared light through an original document and a sheet of paper that had been coated with heat-sensitive chemicals.
Competing manufacturers soon introduced other copying technologies and marketed machines called Dupliton, Dial- A-Matic Autostat, Verifax, Copease and Copymation. These machines and their successors were welcomed by secretaries, who had no other means of reproducing documents in hand, but each had serious drawbacks.
All required expensive chemically treated papers. None of those machines are still manufactured today.
They were all made obsolete by a radically different machine, which had been developed by an obscure photographic-supply company. That company had been founded in as the Haloid Company and is known today as the Xerox Corporation. Init introduced an office copier called the Haloid Xeroxa machine that, unlike its numerous competitors, made sharp, permanent copies on ordinary paper—a huge breakthrough.
Remarkably, xerography was conceived by one person— Chester Carlson, a shy, soft-spoken patent attorney, who grew up in almost unspeakable poverty and worked his way through junior college and the California Institute of Technology.
Essentially overnight, people began making copies at a rate that was orders of magnitude higher than anyone had believed possible. And the rate is still growing. In fact, most documents handled by a typical American office worker today are produced xerographically, either on copiers manufactured by Xerox and its competitors or on laser printers, which employ the same process and were invented, in the s, by a Xerox researcher.
This year, the world will produce more than three trillion xerographic copies and laser-printed pages—about for every human on earth.
Xerography eventually made Carlson a very wealthy man. His royalties amounted to something like a 16th of a cent for every Xerox copy made, worldwide, through Nevertheless, he lived simply. He never owned a second home or a second car, and his wife had to urge him not to buy thirdclass train tickets when he traveled in Europe.
People who knew him casually seldom suspected that he was rich or even well-to-do; when Carlson told an acquaintance he worked at Xerox, the man assumed he was a factory worker and asked if he belonged to a union. He spent the last years of his life quietly giving most of his fortune away.
When he died inamong the eulogizers was the secretary-general of the United Nations. Chester Carlson was born in Seattle in Olof was a barber.
He suffered severely from arthritis in his spine, and he developed tuberculosis in his 30s.History and Library Statistics L The second regional library to be built in Prince William County, the Bull Run Regional Library was officially dedicated and opened to the public on Saturday, June 25, Dumfries has seven internet stations, fax services and a photo-copying machine for public use.
History of Eastman Kodak Company. Upon becoming president, Chandler faced a challenge to Eastman Kodak's dominance in the photographic paper market from several Japanese competitors and U.S.
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