Facsimile machines have gone a long way since their original developers first envisioned them. Here's how the faxing changed and how it changed the world over the course of history. For more details, you can check out our page dedicated to fax history.

Sometimes just reading about a subject can be so boring. So instead of just giving you the data, here is the history of the fax as an infographic.

Fax History

fax history infographic

From Fultographs to Online Faxing Services (text version)

1843Alexander Bain starts his work on an experimental facsimile machine, his first working mechanical fax-type device is demonstrated in a lab environment in 1846. This is the first practically demonstrated facsimile machine.

1865 – Italian physicist Giovanni Caselli developed Pantelegraph, a form of facsimile machine that could transmit signals through regular telegraph wires. His invention was used commercially in the 1860's, connecting Paris and Lyon, and could transmit one 25 words message at a time.

1881 – This is the first point where the facsimile machines stopped just tracing the original document, but started using early forms of optical 2D scanning. The improvement of the original concept was done by a British inventor Shelford Bidwell, who called his facsimile machine the Phototelegraph.

1910 – German inventor Arthur Korn developed the fax machine further, improving the possibilities of sending photography and telephotography during his attempts to develop the version of practical mechanical TV. His phototelautograph transmitted the image of Pope Pius XI across the Atlantic Ocean, to Maine, a first scientific feat of that caliber. Germans use Bildtelegraph to transfer the very first “wanted person” fax, and Hellschreiber gets wide commercial use across Europe.

1920Fultograph is developed, an early, clockwork driven device which functions as a fax machine for transferring images. It's an upgraded form of phototeleaugtograph which allows for much higher details being transferred over much longer distances. The machine was very complex and expensive, and saw very little commercial use, but it was a precursor to fax machines and TV machines.

1924 – Radiofax gets wide commercial use as a weather facsimile, it's an analogue mode for wireless transmission of black and white images and blocks of text. While the speed was not impressive, the range was and weather charts were being transmitted across the US, mainly used for marine and aviation purposes. This method of wireless communication still attracts amateurs around the world.

1985 – Dr Hank Magnuski produced the first fax board, which would set the path for modern multipurpose devices which and PC's which can handle sending and receiving fax messages.

2000 – First online faxing services become available, slowly taking over the popularity of physical fax copies.

You can also check out our infographic overview of the history of facsimile machines and infographic of men who changed the fax machines.

If you need to send a fax, no problem… you can do so using this link or visit our Online Fax Services page for current reviews.

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Matt Gerchow is an author, marketer, inventor, husband, father and yoga enthusiast. He enjoys travel to distant lands , fine wine, time with his family and dinner with friends.

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