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The History of the Fax Machine - Alexander Bain
We owe the development of the fax machine to Alexander Bain, who received a patent for his invention in 1843.
Fax Machine and Alexander Bain
The History of the Fax Machine
The fax machine was invented by Alexander Bain. Also see Facsimile
Facsimile & SSTV History
Facsimile (Fax Machine) a method of encoding data, transmitting it over the telephone lines or radio broadcast, and receiving hard (text) copy, line drawings, or photographs.
Fax Machine
Alexander Bain invented a fax machine capable of receiving signals from a telegraph wire and translating them into images on paper.
Facsimile (Fax Machines)
The fax machine was invented in 1842 by Alexander Bain, who used clock mechanisms to transfer an image from one sheet of electrically conductive paper to another.
Related Innovations
Office Innovations
Telegraph and Telegraphy
By Mary Bellis

Facsimile transmission over wires or faxing was invented by Alexander Bain, a Scottish mechanic who in 1843 received a British patent for “improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs.” Seven years earlier, Samuel Morse invented the telegraph and the fax machine evolved from the telegraph technology. 

Alexander Bain had created a fax machine transmitter that was designed to scan a flat surface (made of metal) using a stylus mounted on a pendulum and the stylus picked up the images on the surface. An amateur clock maker, Alexander Bain adapted parts from clock mechanisms combined with telegraph technology to invent his fax machine.

Firsts in Fax Machine History

  • In 1902, Dr Arthur Korn invented an improved and practical fax, the photoelectric system.
  • In 1914, Edouard Belin established the concept for remote fax photo/news reporting. 
  • The American Telephone & Telegraph Company (AT&T) worked to improve telephone facsimile technology, and in 1924, the telephotography machine was used to send political convention photos long distance for newspaper publication. 
  • On March 4, 1955, the first radio facsimile transmission was sent across the continent. 
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