close
The price comparison tools on this website require you to disable Adblock for full functionality. Please consider disabling your ad blocker on our website in order to best take advantage of our tools.
Home > History Fax

History Of Fax

Did you know that the fax machine was invented before the telephone? Alexander Bain invented the first fax machine in 1843; Alexander Graham Bell, the inventor of the telephone, didn't even start working on his first phone until the 1870s.

How fax works

Bain's fax machine translated telegraph signals into images on paper. Fax machines have worked pretty much the same way since the beginning. And while the first faxed pictures weren't photo-quality, the basic idea — the coding and transmission of images — remains the same today.

A modern fax machine scans an area of an image and reads the space as either white or black. Each color is either a 1 or a 0. On a traditional fax machine, these "numbers" are transmitted as alternating tones over a phone line. The coded document is then "read" and "drawn" by the fax machine on the receiving end. With Internet fax, these numbers are transmitted as packets of data, just like data over the internet. That's all there is to it.

Growth of Commercial Fax

Commercial fax machines didn't take off until the 70s and 80s. Although fax technology was authorized for civilian use in 1948 (previously, the military closely guarded fax technology), it took twenty years for the industry to develop. Fax machines, apparently, have always been temperamental, and you had to have the exact same model of machine to transmit documents from one machine to another. In 1968, the Consultative Committee for International Telephone and Telegraph (now the International Telecommunications Union) solved this communication problem. It mandated the first industry standard for fax machine transmissions.

Once the format was standardized, the growth of fax machines was inevitable. Not only did costs drop, but exploding telephone service expansion meant that the market for faxing grew along with it. In addition to the growth of the telephone network and the customization of that faxing format, there were two important contributors to faxing's growth: Japan and the newspaper industry.

In Japan, it was faster to handwrite a document than to type it — it took a little bit of software innovation to allow all 10,000 characters or so to be typed quickly. So, Japanese businesses turned to fax machines for quick communication. That's why Japan was the first country to develop a massive fax machine market.

Newspapers also used fax machines, even before they were cheap, to transmit images to different newsrooms around the globe. They also used their fax lines to solicit stories and receive other photographs. Many faxing milestones were established by newspapers before 1968.

Computerizing Fax

In 1985, GammaLink produced the first computer fax board, called GammaFax. In the mid-nineties, various not-for-profit services pioneered unreliable email-to-fax and fax-to-email services. The fax industry splintered. Now, the majority of faxing is done online, by for-profit email-to-fax services. Investment and technology development have allowed Internet faxing's functionality to grow — and become cheaper and cheaper.

Faxes continue to be used heavily today, but through a variety of methods: traditional phone lines, radio fax, computer faxing, VoIP faxing, and Internet faxing. Whatever faxing service you use, it will transmit your documents cheaply and when you want.

 

Find out how much you can save today on Business VoIP

Compare top Business VoIP providers in the table below

Provider Plan Features Rate/min. Trial Period Setup Fees Monthly Fees Details
Award-winning Business VoIP Phone System
  • Unlimited Calling, Video Conferencing, & Faxing
  • 24/7 Customer Support Based in the U.S.
  • Extremely Reliable and Simple to Use
Pricing includes multi-line discount and applies to new customers only.

$0.00

No trial period available

Free

$ 19.99 /mo. *

4.45

65 reviews

Cloud Phone Service. Built for Business.
  • 50+ business class features
  • Professional installation and simple set-up
  • Get CRM integration

$0.00

30 day money back guarantee

Free

$ 19.95 /mo.

Get a Free Phone Today
  • Powerful Unified Communication Features
  • Fast, Easy, Free Setup & Install
  • Trusted by 50,000+ Companies in 100 Countries

$0.00

Demo account available.

Free

Click for Details
Upgrade your phone service with Jive Voice
  • Very simple to use for admins and users
  • Get your first month free
  • No fees for upgrades, features or add-ons
Price is per month per device.

$0.00

30 days

Free

$ 19.95 /mo. *

*Rates shown do not include E-911 charges, taxes, and surcharges. Most providers offering unlimited calling have restrictions and some rates shown are promotional rates based on term contracts or promotional periods. Be sure to read individual providers terms and conditions before you buy. Rates and features displayed for each provider have been sourced from provider's site and other online sources. While we strive to display current information, be sure to check directly with each provider as their plans, pricing, and features are subject to change.

Recent Reviews

lingo logo
1
Lingo

They add services for free without asking if you want them, then they start charging for them and won't remove them. Months of calls (including...

December 7th, 2018 - J. Jackson
ringcentral logo
1
RingCentral

I signed up with Ring Central under a year ago. In that time span, I've had four major outages with phone service and calling for technical support...

December 7th, 2018 - Yellow Music Company

Most Recent Blog Posts

voip phone and headset in contact centers
TCN Exec Shares Insights on Contact Center Trends and P...

Customers want and expect exceptional services from every brand interaction. This is why today’s contact centers are helping businesses across the world deliver excellent customer experiences to...

Dec 13, 2018
business phone system voip
This Month in Telecom: November 2018

This Month in Telecom is a monthly news round-up on VoipReview.org that aims to give our readers a fast and easy way to catch up on the latest news and top stories that are trending in the voice and...

Dec 03, 2018