How do fax machines work?


Like a cross between a phone and a printer, fax machines copy paperwork in a single location and print them out in one other — even hundreds of miles aside. Earlier than the ubiquity of computer systems and high-speed web and when the opposite choices had been snail mail or a courier, a fax may comparatively rapidly transmit medical information to docs, pictures to newspapers and invoices to purchasers. However how do fax machines work?

“Mainly, a fax machine scans a picture or a doc line by line, then transmits that scan to a receiver the place it is printed out and reproduced,” mentioned Jonathan Coopersmith, writer of “Faxed: The Rise and Fall of the Fax Machine” (Johns Hopkins College Press, 2015) and professor of historical past at Texas A&M College. Faxes function on phone strains right now, however early faxes (brief for facsimile machines) used telegraph strains, which transmitted textual content messages utilizing codes of lengthy and brief pulses, equivalent to Morse code. In actual fact, the fax was invented in 1843, three many years earlier than the phone. Faxes have stored the identical basic design and performance since that point, however the mechanics have modified, Coopersmith mentioned.

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