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this day in history 1959

First Xerox machine goes on sale

Setting the Toner

If you are, as I imagine, currently hovering over a functioning photocopier, trousers down, buttocks bared, about to liven up a particularly boring sales event or staff meeting in your own inimitable way, then today is a day to celebrate. It was on the 16th September in 1959 that the Xerox 914 photocopying device was launched on an unsuspecting American public, presumably with fevered cries of ‘HOW?’ and ‘SORCERY’ as for the first time words on one piece of paper were ‘copied’ onto a further piece of paper. Actually, that’s not quite true. Photocopying had been around since the 1930s, but the 914 was the first successful commercial machine and it revolutionised the industry.In fact, it was such a momentous event that the first copies to roll through the 914’s taut, blocky, exciting body were shown on live television to an audience that was almost certainly agog. I don’t know if live photocopying displays were a staple of early American television broadcasts, but they could certainly liven up ITV’s Saturday night output. Someone tell Ant and Dec.

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