We must thank whoever invented the photocopier, as this ingenuity revolutionized the world and human knowledge. In ancient times making a copy of a document was a slow and tedious task.

we explain the history of the photocopying machine, what its origin is, and how it has evolved over time.

Who Invented The Photocopier

The photocopying machine was invented by the American Chester Carlson on October 22, 1938, in New York, in a small apartment in the Astoria building. That is why the first photocopy in History was that of a text that said: “10-22-38 Astoria.”

When was the Photocopier invented?

In December 1940, Carlson obtained a patent for another invention: the automatic copy machine.

Before, he’d had to go through a series of setbacks; the disappointment was tremendous when trying to commercialize the invention the photocopier was rejected by a score of companies whose executives seemed foolish to have duplicates of the same writing.

In 1944 a philanthropic society took over the invention and in 1947 the family business Haloid Company, of Rochester, New York, bought the patent and founded the Xerox Corporation, which in 1959 began to sell the first photocopier: the X- 914.

  • It was one of the most successful commercial ventures in history. A patent that gave millions of dollars was bought for a minimal amount of money.
  • Carlson’s intention was to place the folio to be reproduced on a glass where an electrically charged plate acted, so that the light areas of the paper destroyed the positive charge, leaving it only in the places where there was writing.
  • In this way, the plate is sprayed with a negatively charged powder that adheres to the positively charged; the powder is transferred to the blank sheet, where the text of the writing is fixed by heat. A bit complex, but it worked.
  • Everyone started talking about ‘dry writing’, which is what the Greek adjective xeros and the Greek verb graphein mean.
  • The success came when its effectiveness was proven, and it was sudden since its use became universal in the 1960s.

Origin of the photocopier

Before the Xerox machine was invented, getting a copy of any writing or drawing was equivalent to doing it or writing it again. Thus, before the invention of the printing press. The duplication of a Bible cost a year of work to a specialized scribe. Today it can be done in a couple of hours.

When the Englishman R. Wedgwood invented carbon paper in 1806, the finding was enthusiastically received because a simple, very thin folio impregnated in ink, left to dry, allowed double writing, and many thought that a magical dream had been fulfilled. : being able to write the same text several times at the same time and makeup to eight copies or copies in one sitting.

And it was true, although that first carbon paper left stains, was cumbersome, made hands dirty, demanded extreme care and great concentration on the part of the clerk. Wedgwood’s ingenious invention was followed by the duplication of originals by means of stamping or stenciling, which in fact was not much better than inked paper, and that was the idea of ​​the great Thomas Alva Edison, who presented it in 1877 as a novelty.

However, Edison’s idea served the Hungarian D. Gestetner in 1881 to invent his machine based on the cyclostyle. It worked, but it was a slow, unclean and heavy procedure. It was clear that the great invention in this area was yet to come.

GC Beidler in 1903 invented the predecessor of the photocopier. After a series of failures and failed trials, Beidler’s ingenuity was based on the instant development of photographic negatives.

But although the path was successful, the results were too expensive and the final product cumbersome and impractical. Another equally unsuccessful attempt was that of the American company Rectigraph.

It was sought everywhere, time was short, and it was known that whoever did it would win a great fortune. The possibility of making a photocopier that would make dry copies was an idea, but it was yet to be captured.

Carl Miller, in 1944, invented dry-print copying after watching snowmelt under fallen leaves from trees. He found that the snow under the sheet melted first because dark color absorbs more radiant energy than snow white, from which he deduced the thermo-fax technique.

Evolution of the copier

Color photocopying has been a reality since it was launched in 1973 by the Japanese firm Canon. Since then the accumulation of innovations has been extraordinary:

The application of the laser beam

Faithful reproduction in four colors.

The possibility of enlarging or reducing the original, and even deforming it.

In 1986, the Panasonic company invented the pocket copier, sixteen centimeters long by seven wide, rechargeable with batteries, and capable of reproducing any document.

That same year, the Japanese company Kiso Chemical created anti-photocopy, that is, a special paper that made it impossible to reproduce an original as it was treated with red or dark orange polyester that, when passed through the photocopier, gave a black copy.

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