Tuesday, June 26, 2012

fax, fax, who's got the fax?

Had to send a fax today. Remember those? I had to think for a minute to remember how to do it. I remember 1976 (might have been 1977) and my first fax machine. It was amazing.

At the time I was working with offices all over the world in many different time zones and communication was hard. I’d often stay late or get up really early to make phone calls.

The new fax – facsimile back then – was made by Qwip, at the time a subsidiary of Exxon I think (go figure) and it worked on the same principal as drum scanners. I’ve never been in the printing business but in the olden days (I guess) there were these big drum scanners that spun and allowed documents to be copied electronically.

Our little fax machine worked the same way. We wrapped the document face out around the drum, set the quality level for either 3 minutes (which was considered a fast fax but at lower quality) or 6 minutes (considered higher quality) then dialed the number and waited for a connection. After it made the sounds like modems used to do (any one remember modems and dial-up?) so you knew you were connected, you pressed another button and voila! Fax underway!

The only problem I remember was – maybe two problems – the machine had to be turned on overseas to receive and sometimes international connections weren’t always clean and noise or static could end the call and the fax might only make it half-way.

But it was still so much better than early morning or late night phone calls just to share information.

Isn’t (wasn’t) technology grand!

1 comment:

  1. You are old Vince. I remember the first fax I used but it wasn't like this one. Had send one last week but they have become less common.