Did you know that you can fax papers at the library? It only costs $1 per page and is available at each branch (international faxes are priced differently). You can also receive faxes at the library- incoming faxes are also just $1 per page.
Fax is short for facsimile and faxes work by sending an image over a phone network.
Here’s a short history of the fax machine:
The fax machine was invented before the telephone. Alexander Bain, a clockmaker, was most likely the first person to invent this technology. He managed to send an image over a wire, however, the quality was not great. He patented his idea on May 27, 1843.
Other forms of the fax machine were invented starting around 1865. But the Xerox Corporation is credited with inventing the modern fax machine. Today’s fax machines work by using a photo sensor to look at the paper it’s copying and sending. The photo sensor is able to see the difference between the light and dark areas. It then tells a computer processor how to reproduce the image at a distance location by encoding the information. The encoding is what enables the machine to send the information along by phone line or over the internet (JMRL uses dedicated phone lines to send a fax). At the receiving fax machine, the machine reads the encoded information and remakes the image.
In 1989 there were over 10 million fax machines in the world, today there aren’t quite that many, but they are still in heavy use. Here’s an article from the BBC about why the fax machine is still used today, even with all of our technology.
Visit your local library branch the next time you need to send a fax!