The photocopier machine was invented by Chester Carlson in 1937, I think It has had a vast office tasks, In todays world many of the tasks are based on paper work. You may say that his invention kick started the office automation business by proving that many tedious tasks can be handed over to machine.
As with all inventions of its type though, it took a while for them to be accepted and it was a decade before they became common in offices America. It took even longer to allow them to make their way to the UK where we have sometimes lagged behind our colonial friends when it comes to accepting new methods and options for working. Considering we were the birthplace of the industrial revolution, it seems odd that we should be so adverse to taking on new ideas these days.
However, they're now popular almost worldwide (certainly all Western countries and the East) and they are almost essential in today's office. But what did we do before them? Well, the most common method of duplicating any kind of work was through the use of carbon copy paper. This was an extremely efficient and efficient way of having an exact duplicate of the document you were currently working on, but only one copy. You could try multiple bits of carbon paper but eventually the thickness made it impossible for the pressure of the hammer to get through to the bottom. It was quite common to see three or four times copied documents that were unreadable.
So many places (including places like schools and colleges) took to using lithograph duplicators. For example If you were at school in the 70s and 80s you may remember the smell from these machines that seemed capable of only creating copies in a feint purple colour. They were bulky machines that were operated by hand and if you'd been playing around in class one day - it was probably you that had to do it.
There was one issue - it wasn't an instant copy!. You first had to make a `plate' which was the master from which all other copies were made. This wasn't a difficult task, but it also wasn't a doddle and meant a plate had to be made for each page. So, when photocopiers came along, they were seen as the ultimate in convenience, but there was one big problem with them - they were expensive.
You have to remember - things that are useful don't stay pricey for too long due to the laws of supply and demand which made it easier for everyone to get one. This was simply down to the fact that during the `desk top publishing' boom of the 80s and 90s, lots of people wanted good quality printers and that meant laser printers. As the innards of a photocopier was essentially a laser printer, the two technologies could be developed together and so the cost of them came down drastically.
However, when scanners became popular, they started to be attached to printers themselves and so suddenly ink jet printers were able to copy. Why scan and print when you could simply copy with one press of the button? Photocopiers are now incredibly popular in all offices and also very cheap to run. Luckily we've embraced technology and the office has become and easier place to work.
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