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The History of Xerox

From Mary Bellis,
Your Guide to Inventors.
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Xerox Photocopiers and Chester Carlson

In 1937, the process called Xerography was invented by American law student Chester Carlson. Carlson had invented a copying process based on electrostatic energy. Xerography became commercially available in 1950 by the Xerox Corporation. Xerography comes from the Greek for "dry writing".

Chester Carlson's Frustrations

Chester Carlson had been frustrated with the slow mimeograph machine and the cost of photography and that lead him to inventing a new way of copying. He invented an electrostatic process that reproduced words on a page in just minutes.

Selling the Xerox Photocopier

Carlson had a hard time finding investors in his new invention. He was turned down by IBM and the U.S. Army Signal Corps, it took him eight years to find an investor, which was the Haloid Company later to become the Xerox Corporation.

Patenting and Trademarking Xerox

Chester Carlson was both a research engineer and a patent attorney. He filed a patent application in April, 1939, stating, "I knew I had a very big tiger by the tail." The Xerox Corporation trademarked the name "Xerox" and has protected the name carefully.

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