History of the Fax Machine
Even though the use of the fax machine to transmit images via telephone lines did not become common in American businesses until the late 1980s, the technology dates back to the nineteenth century. Facsimile is today's fastest-growing area of office automation and business communication. To the nontechnical observer, the fax machine seems to send a photocopy to another fax machine over the telephone lines: you dial a number, place the pages you want to send in the machine, press "start," and off they go, at less than a minute a page.
Alexander Bain (1818-1903) devised an apparatus comprised of two pens connected to two pendulums, which in turn were joined to a wire, that was able to reproduce writing on an electrically conductive surface. Bain, a Scottish clockmaker from Edenbugh who was staying in England at that time, used clock mechanisms to transfer an image from one sheet of electrically conductive paper to another. In 1843, Bain received a British patent for “improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs”, in laymen's terms a fax machine. At that time, Bain patented the "automatic electrochemical recording telegraph" also known as the "chemical telegraph", which bears his name. Various machines using Bain's technology have been in use for many years.
He recognised that the Morse and other telegraph instruments in use were comparatively slow in speed, owing to the mechanical inertia of the parts; and he saw that if the signal currents were made to pass through a band of travelling paper soaked in a solution which would decompose under their action, and leave a legible mark, a very high speed could be obtained. This process was later modified to create the first facsimilie.
In England, the telegraph of Bain was used on the lines of the old Electric Telegraph Company to a limited extent, and in America about the year 1850 it was taken up by the energetic Mr. Henry O'Reilly, and widely introduced. But it incurred the hostility of Morse, who obtained an injunction against it on the slender ground that the running paper and alphabet used were covered by his patent.
In 1850, a London inventor named F. C. Blakewell received a patent what he called a "copying telegraph".
By 1859, there was only one line in America on which the Bain system was in use, namely, that from Boston to Montreal. Since those days of rivalry the apparatus has never become general, and it is not easy to understand why, considering its very high speed, the chemical telegraph has not become a greater favourite.
In 1862, the Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli built a machine he called a pantelegraph (implying a hybrid of pantograph and telegraph), which was based on Bain’s invention but also included a synchronizing apparatus. The Pantelegraph sent its first fax between Paris and Lyon. Caselli's pantelegraph was used by the French Post & Telegraph agency between Paris and Marseilles from 1856 to 1870.
Elisha Gray (1835-1901), American inventor, born in Barnesville, Ohio invented and patented many electrical devices, including a facsimile transmission system. He also organized a company that later became the Western Electric Company.
In 1876 Elisha Gray filed an unsuccessful claim for the invention of the telephone, just hours after American inventor Alexander Graham Bell filed his successful patent for its invention.
In 1895, a watchmaker from St. Paul, Minnesota named Ernest Hummel invented his competing device called the Telediagraph.
In 1902, Arthur Korn (1870-1945) in Germany invented telephotography, a means for manually breaking down and transmitting still photographs by means of electrical wires. In 1907, Korn sent the first inter-city fax when he transmitted a photograph from Munich to Berlin. Dr Arthur Korn's improved and practical fax was called the the "photoelectric system".
In 1914, Edouard Belin established the concept for remote fax photo/news reporting.
Between 1920 and 1923 the American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) worked on telephone facsimile technology, and in 1924 the telephotography machine was used to send pictures from political conventions in Cleveland, Ohio, and Chicago to New York City for publication in newspapers.
In 1925, Edouard Belin (1876-1963) in France constructed the Belinograph. His invention involved placing an image on a cylinder and scanning it with a powerful light beam that had a photoelectric cell which could convert light, or the absence of light, into transmittable electrical impulses. The Belinograph process used the basic principle upon which all subsequent facsimile transmission machines would be based.
In 1926, RCA invented the Radiophoto that faxed by using radio broadcasting technology
In 1934 the Associated Press began to use "wirephoto" to transmit photographs. But then television brought a news revolution--people could see live or same-day footage of events rather than one or two photographs.
In 1947, Alexander Muirhead invented a very successful fax machine.
On March 4, 1955, the first radio facsimile transmission was sent across the continent.
For many years, facsimile machines remained cumbersome, expensive and difficult to operate, but in 1964, the Xerox Corporation introduced Long Distance Xerography (LDX).
Then in 1966 Xerox introduced the Magnafax Telecopier, a smaller, 46-pound facsimile machine that was easier to use and could be connected to any telephone line. Using this machine, a letter-sized document took about six minutes to transmit. The process was slow, but it represented a major technological step.
In the late 1970s, Japanese companies entered the market, and soon a new generation of faster, smaller and more efficient fax machines became available.
Between 1973 and 1983, the number of fax machines in the United States increased from 30,000 to 300,000, but by 1989 the number had jumped to four million.
By the late 1980s, compact fax machines had revolutionized everyday communications around the world.
Only recently has "fax" become a household word. The current facsimile revolution has come about because of digital technology (the same technology that lets us play video games), which has increased the speed, compactness, and reliability of the machines, as well as brought down prices. And, like Sholes's typewriter, this technology has found its real market in the business world, where efficiency and fast communication have been necessary since the days of the railroads.
Fax machines make it possible to send anything that can be printed on a page to anywhere in the world in not much more time than it would take to hand the page to someone across the top of your desk.
HOW IT WORKS:
The essential parts of a fax system are a transmitting device that translates the graphic material into electrical impulses according to a set pattern, and a synchronized receiving device that retranslates these impulses and prints a facsimile copy.
In a typical system the fax scanner consists of a rotating cylinder, a source projecting a narrow beam of light, and a photoelectric cell. The copy to be transmitted is wrapped around the cylinder and is scanned by the light beam, which moves along the cylinder as it revolves.
The output of the photoelectric cell is amplified and transmitted to the receiving end, where a similar cylinder, covered with specially impregnated paper, revolves in synchronism with the transmitting cylinder. A light of varying intensity moves along the rotation cylinder and darkens the paper by chemically reproducing the pattern of the original.
What is a FAX?
Facsimile is used by news services to send news and photos to newspapers and television stations, by banks, airlines, and railroads to transmit the content of documents, and by many other businesses as an aid in data handling and record keeping. Facsimile systems involve optical scanning, signal encoding, modulation, signal transmission, demodulation, decoding, and copy making.
What is Scanning?
A single such device may be used to cover one pixel after another in a row, row after row from top to bottom until the entire image has been translated into electric impulses. This is rectilinear scanning. Scanning may also be done a row at a time by a battery of devices; this is array scanning. In multispot scanning, a vertical array of photodevices moves across the image, examining the pixels column by column. As the array passes down the copy, it produces a set of current pulses from each photodevice. The separate currents, however produced, are then transmitted successively over a single circuit to the distant receiver.
To secure fine detail in the reproduced image it is necessary to use very small pixels. In one standard, Group 3 of the International Telegraph and Telephone Consultative Committee ( CCITT ), each pixel is a rectangle 0.12 by 0.13 mm ( 1 inch=25.4 mm ). On this standard, subject copy measuring 8 by 11 inches ( 20 x 28 cm ) is divided into 3.6 million pixels.
This compares with about 200,000 pixels for televised images. The pixels used in high-resolution facsimile systems have dimensions one-fifth those of the CCITT standard mentioned above, whereas in low-definition systems the dimensions may be twice as great.
The image may be illuminated as in rectilinear scanning, or a relatively large area of the image may be illuminated, the photodevice viewing the image through a lens aperture that restricts its field to a single pixel at a time.
In a commonly used facsimile scanning system ( invented by Frederick Bakewell in 1848 and based on Alexander Bain's work of 1842 ) the subject copy is wrapped around a drum. A finely focused spot of light falls on the copy and the light reflected from that pixel is picked up by the photodevice.
The drum is rotated so that the light spot traces a line across the copy, examining each pixel in turn. As the drum rotates, the light source is moved slowly on a carriage parallel to the drum axis, tracing out a spiral of adjacent lines until the entire area of the copy has been scanned. At least once in each rotation of the drum a signal transmitted to the recorder keeps the scanner and the recorder in step.
In drum scanning, the copy may also be illuminated broadly and examined by a photodevice fitted with a lens aperture. Copy cannot always be conveniently wrapped around a drum. In such cases, flat copy may be scanned by a spot of light directed across its surface by a moving mirror. Mirror scanning may also be used when the copy is wrapped on a drum, or while it is being pulled from a roller. Laser light produces a very fine beam that travels across the copy, row by row, as the copy moves vertically.
In one arrangement the mirror is rocked back and forth, moving the beam across the copy. In another, a rotating polygonal mirror is used. This mirror typically has 18 flat mirror surfaces on its periphery, each capable of scanning a row of pixels.
Very fast scanning can be achieved by rapid rotation of the mirror and corresponding vertical motion of the copy. The beam is reflected from each pixel into a photodevice that converts successive light values into corresponding currents. Electronic scanning of flat copy may also be done by arrays of photodiodes or charge-coupled devices.
For scanning rates higher than about 6 rows per second laser beams with polygonal mirrors and arrays of photodevices are favored. Facsimile (Fax) is a method of encoding data, transmitting it over the telephone lines or radio broadcast, and receiving hard (text) copy, line drawings, or photographs.
What is a fax switch?
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The BIG fax machine line sharing device Question?
"Why should I buy a high quality
fax machine line sharing device from faxswitch.com rather than a cheaper one?"
Long Answer: One of the main problems with fax machine line sharing devices (and all computers) is system failure. You may have experienced it on your PC when it "locks up" and you have to "reboot" your computer to get it going again. fax machine line sharing devices are basically small computers and the same thing happens only it sounds like you are not home (or answering your phone anyway) in other words the phone sounds like it's ringing to the caller but you hear nothing. To the calling party it just rings and rings. On your end, you hear nothing. Someone has to come by or call you on another line and say "hey why aren't you answering your phone?" and you say, "Oh! it's that cheap fax machine line sharing device again. Let me go turn it off and back on." It will work for a while but eventually it will happen again. Very frustrating and not very good for business.
Rest assured that this will never happen with any of our equipment. We invented "watchdog®" circuitry and other features so this would never happen. What "watchdog®" circuitry does, is constantly monitor your phone line. If there is ever a system failure (and eventually there always is) the box is smart enough to know it and reboots itself. It takes less than a second and your phones always work. This is only one example of some of the "extra features" we include to make our products truly "business quality." We know your business is worth it.
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