The Evolution of the Fax Machine Through Time

The Evolution of the Fax Machine Through Time

The Evolution of the Fax Machine Through Time

Fax machines have existed for a lot of years now, but are still considered to be one of the most cumbersome methods of file transfer.  Why is that? This is because using an old fax machine has become very outdated and is considered to be very time consuming as well.

The main reason why fax machines are considered to be so outdated is because of how they work. Imagine that you have to send your documents to the office through the fax machine. Firstly, you have to set up the machine which is a very tedious process in itself.

Now that somehow you have set up the fax machine and are sending the fax, all the pages of the document have to be sent in one go, otherwise you will have to do the whole thing again. This means that if the paperwork consists of 3 pages, then all three pages should have gone through, otherwise you have to send the fax all over again.

This is one of the reasons why we consider fax to be so outdated and unfavorable in any situation. To better understand fax, let’s take a look at its role and significance throughout history.

How it Began

The earliest traces of fax can be traced back to 1842 when Alexander Bain invented the fax machine as a way to send messages. How it worked back then, was that the messages were printed onto a metallic surface and were sent in that manner.

However, the introduction of the fax was not exactly smooth sailing. When launched, it was initially deemed as a failure and Bain had to engage in a number of legal battles due to his patent being similar to some other inventions.

As the years went by, however, government agencies and other organizations started to understand the significance behind this facsimile technology and understood its worth.

The military started to understand that this way of sending information could prove to be very useful when sending over documents or transmitting sensitive information to the front lines in a secure manner. Because of this, the fax machine’s reputation started to change from its previously gained title of being a failure.

The fact that you could send over sensitive information faster than any other method of information transmission at that time proved to be invaluable for the military and newspaper companies alike. Due to the nature of how faxing worked, the information sent over was proven to be protected from any interference from any third party, which was an added benefit to them.

By the latter half of the 1970s, faxing technology started to embed itself into the corporate world. Fax machines became a norm in almost every large-scale corporation and faxing became a common way to send over paperwork and other important documents.

Fax Machine’s Rise to Fame

It was by the 20th century that faxing started to become widespread and that faxing became the norm not only throughout businesses but in daily life as well. As faxing begin to gain traction, their prices started to get slashed as well, and fax machines became affordable for the general public as well.

By the early 1980s, faxing spread like wildfire and a fax machine was available in every household and shop, and there came a time that more machines were in homes than in large organizations.

However, it was only for a few years that faxing was in the limelight, as by the 2000s, things started to change with certain inventions coming into light.

Around the 90s, the landline was invented, and that completely revolutionized communication as we know it. Landlines started to emerge in a number of households as time went by, and they became the primary source of communication as the years progressed.

Households started to steer away from faxing but it was still considered an official channel of communications in a lot of organizations, and other sectors of business including the healthcare sector as well. This was mainly due to the fact that faxing provided a very secure channel for sending sensitive paperwork over and adhered to certain privacy policies as well.

However, as time went by, the existence of faxing diminished in the business world as well. This was largely due to the invention of the internet which provided much more options of communication including the introduction of email or other document transfer services which became the new alternative to fax.

Faxing Nowadays

Around 2010, internet faxing was introduced, and it revolutionized this channel of communication. During this time, the concept of cloud technology and cloud-based sharing was beneficial to a lot of the public, and not just businesses and organizations.

This was due to the fact that fax machines were no longer a necessity in order to send faxes over, and the same could be done through cloud-based servers as time went on, fax sending switched over from machines to the internet and various fax apps which were created keeping this in mind.

However, this innovation did not result in the complete eradication of fax machines from society. There are places where a reliable, fast internet connection is not possible all the time. Additionally, many public firms and businesses like law firms, advertisement agencies, and many other small-scale organizations rely on physical forms of paperwork due to the nature of their businesses.


As the years went by, the use of fax machines and the concept of faxing slowly diminished, and now the use of faxing is only a portion of what it was in its glory days. However, traces of this sort of communication still exist, and faxing is a mode of file transmission which is actively used in a lot of organizations.

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