When the fax machine was introduced, it was a true revolution. Forms no longer needed to be sent via snail mail. Finally, information could be sent over telephone lines and be almost instantly received by the recipient. It was a huge deal, and businesses across the country and the globe were scrambling to get fax machines and fax lines set up in their offices. This was during the 1980s, but did you know that faxes have essentially been around for over a century?
Back in 1881, an inventor England named Shelford Bidwell invented what he called the scanning phototelegraph. Around 1900, the Bildtelegraph was introduced and was used to distribute pictures of known criminals to places across Europe. It was in 1924 that the radiofax was introduced, becoming widely distributed two years later. This machine was impressive in its ability to send information over the ocean as demonstrated when a picture of President Calvin Coolidge was sent from New York to London.
Over the years, the fax machine evolved to what we know it as today. Many companies still maintain fax machines, but for the most part, it’s been moved to online fax services, which allow the Internet to be used to send information rather than phone lines. These faxes can be sent to a fax machine from a typical computer or can be sent to another computer. When receiving faxes, the fax shows up on computers as a file, typically a PDF or JPG, and is only printed if needed.