What is the backstory behind the invention of the Xerox machine?

Young Chester Carlson worked as a patent analyser for a manufacturer of electrical components. This required laborious paperwork – he had to submit multiple copies when registering his company’s inventions and ideas at the patent office. Each duplicate had to be written by hand. Carlson suffered from arthritis. He knew there had to be another way of doing his job.

Working in his kitchen during his free time, Carlson discovered that some materials changed their electrical properties when exposed to light called photo-conductivity. After years of research, he came up with a patent in 1942 for a reproduction technique based on this, which he named ‘electric photography. Another 20 years went by before he found a company interested enough to manufacture the machine. He was turned away by the likes of IBM, GE and RCA, until in 1960, the Haloid company finally thought his idea marketable.

The company was later named Xerox. The process became so popular all over the world that the word ‘xeroxing’ (a trademark) is used instead of the correct term-‘photocopying’!

Picture Credit : Google 

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