Cover

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Title page, Series page, Copyright

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Contents

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Preface

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pp. vii-x

My interest in faxing began when my mother purchased a fax machine to communicate with friends in Russia and Thailand. Our family is not the most technically competent (after my father died, we found a closet full of analog answering machines in his office; apparently, when the tape filled, he simply bought a new...

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In an age of instantaneous information and images, it is hard to appreciate the magic that millions in the 1930s experienced upon seeing photographs of distant disasters appear the next day in their newspapers, or the excitement in the 1980s of watching an exact copy of a letter emerge line by line from a machine connected...

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1. First Patent to First World War, 1843–1918

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pp. 9-36

The world’s oldest fax message sits in the quiet archives of the Institution of Engineering and Technology at 2 Savoy Place in London, carefully preserved in a non-acidic envelope. The white lines on a blue background are still sharp since more than 160 years ago when Frederick Bakewell dipped the paper in prussiate...

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2. First Markets, 1918–1939

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pp. 37-72

Viewing an experimental facsimile newspaper broadcast in 1939, an unidentified Californian rhapsodized, “To be granted the permission to see it in operation makes me feel like I had been permitted to ride in the first automobile constructed or in the first airplane that had successfully taken the air.”¹ She was not alone in...

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3. Facsimile, 1939–1965

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pp. 73-104

When hailing the Miami Herald’s fax newspaper broadcasting in 1948—“It will educate, entertain and enlighten, it will increase thinking and reflection, we hope; it will take man from the slums of living to the heights of luxury-living”— the rival Miami Beach Sun envisioned peace, not war.¹ The technology that made...

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4. The Sleeping Giant Stirs, 1965–1980

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pp. 105-144

On January 22, 1973, Texas lawyer Sarah Weddington started receiving calls from newspaper reporters asking for her reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 7-2 Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Not knowing the Court’s reasoning, Weddington, the plaintiff’s lawyer, telephoned a colleague in Washington, D.C., and asked...

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5. The Giant Awakes, 1980–1995

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pp. 145-181

Perhaps nowhere was the fax gap between Japan and America better displayed than in academia in the late 1980s, when fax machines proliferated in Japanese offices and homes, while an American professor “spent countless hours” trying to find a fax machine on his campus to fax a reply to a faxed invitation from...

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6. The Fax and the Computer

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pp. 182-205

Scathingly proclaiming, “The fax machine is a serious blemish on the information landscape, a step backward, whose ramifications will be felt for a long time,” Nicholas Negroponte, founder of MIT’s Media Lab, seemed oblivious in 1995 to faxing’s popularity.¹ Usage had grown enormously, comprising approximately 15...

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Conclusion

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pp. 206-214

Intelsat executive Joseph Pelton probably did not think of facsimile in 1981 when he wrote, “Communications development has been a process of trying to send an ever more densely packed collection of information over electronic channels with broader bandwidth and at higher power. Put that way, it seems dreadfully...

Notes

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pp. 215-290

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Essay on Sources

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pp. 291-298

Ranging around the world and over the decades, fax’s history intertwines with many threads in economic and technological history. Seas, if not oceans, of ink have been written about the information revolution, information technology (IT), and information and communications technologies (ICT). Indeed, the changing names are worthy of a...

Index

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pp. 299-308