5 Facts About Photocopy Machine History

Tech Over Time: 5 Facts About Photocopy Machine History| HTR

They've been used for record keeping, legal issues, and art. And, yes, every so often some cheeky individual uses one to capture his or her rear end. 

But did you know these admittedly diverse machines didn't enter the picture until 1959? And that there are many kinds of copiers? 

If you think photocopy machine history is boring, we'll prove you wrong.

We guarantee some of these facts will astonish you.  

1. Making Photocopy Machine History

The first official photocopier wasn't made with a Frankenstein-esque machine and a cackling scientist. It was made with a zinc plate, some sulfur, and a cotton handkerchief. 

In a small apartment in Queens, New York, Chester Carlson realized the combination of electric conductivity and light duplicated images. 

The very first successful xerox image read "10-22-38 ASTORIA." This was the start of electrophotography, which led to the first Xerox machine. 

2. The Xerox 914 

A monster if ever there was one, the Xerox 914 was the first marketed Xerox machine. 

It... worked. Except it weighed 648 pounds and was 42" high x 46" wide x 45" deep.

This machine could print a whopping 100,000 copies per month in black and white, making it the first monochrome-type copier

How's that for photocopy machine history? 

Its more advanced cousin, the color copier, didn't come along until many years later. 

3. Some Machines Acted as Spies

One particularly interesting use of photocopier machines occurred during the Cold War. At that time, the US decided these devices would make excellent spies. 

Photocopiers act as radios by emitting electromagnetic and acoustic energy. Anyone skilled enough and close enough to find the right frequency could tap into the "station." 

Although many types were used for this purpose, during much of this era, Canon copiers rose to fame due to Xerox's lack of autonomy and new advances. Smaller devices, which led to desktop copiers, made the eavesdropping process easier. 

4. Thank Analog Printers for the Pentagon Papers

Until the early 2000s, most desktop photocopiers were analog printers. Analog copiers require individuals to copy papers one at a time. 

It was this type of copier that Daniel Ellsberg used to share the Pentagon Papers with the world. He brought a briefcase full of papers into an advertising shop to copy for several weeks. 

His children went with him, although they didn't realize the importance of what they were doing. 

5. Today, Making a Booklet Is Easy

Once upon a time, copier machines could do nothing except copy. Today, we're lucky enough to enjoy multifunctional copiers

Multifunctional copiers seem like old news, but they still hold a surprising variety of options most don't realize exist. 

Sure, they can print, email, scan, copy, save and more... but did you know some multifunctional copiers can also fold papers for you? 

Hello, origami. 

They can also create:

  • Booklets
  • Stationary
  • Cards
  • Photos
  • Stickers

And then there's the fact that many hole punch, staple and more.

Have a trade show coming up? A multifunctional copier is your answer. 

Not Just Equipment...Hartford Technology Rental

See? Photocopy machine history isn't boring. 

Chances are, now you're itching to try one of these copiers out for yourself. Unfortunately, the digital age means fewer people have access to these machines.

Do you have an upcoming project? Perhaps you need copies for a meeting? 

With all the different types of copiers currently available on the market, why not give one of our rental copiers a try. At Hartford Technology Rental, we're not just about equipment. We're here to make your life easier and will make sure that the copier you rent suits your printing needs and budget.

So try that origami or copier-stapling. Enjoy your coffee and let the machine do the work.