Saturday, November 27, 2010

Faxing Buffalo

Western Union Adds New Facsimile Transmission
Buffalo office of telegraph concern can send facsimile messages to New York

Courier Express November 15, 1935
   Buffalo has the distinction of being the first city to have facilities for facsimile telegraphy, the long awaited development of the telegraph industry. The Western Union Telegraph Company opened it's first regular commercial facsimile circuit between Buffalo and New York at 9 o'clock last night.  And while at present Buffalo may send facsimile messages to New York, Gotham cannot send such messages to this city.  A person may now go to the main office at the Western Union in the Rand Building, ask  instructions for sending a facsimile message, and then write out a message on a typewriter within the type and frame for which the company has facilities for sending such a message.  If this form is adhered to, the message may be sent to New York and it will arrive there exactly as it has been written here, and will be delivered to the addressee in that form.
   Offers Added Facilities
Rand Building, Location of  First
Western Union Facsimile Office in U.S.
   The Western Union added facsimile transmission, however as a supplement to it's own service of sending telegrams, said James L. Brady, superintendent at Buffalo. While the service at present is limited to typewritten messages, it is expected that the natural development of the service will mean that messages written by pen and ink may be sent in the same manner as typewritten messages.  Inauguration of the Western Union facsimile system was announced by Roy B. White, President of the Telegraph Company, as a development of much interest in the communications field.  After a number of official greetings, the new system was placed in regular use in the overnight service from Buffalo to New York.
  No announcement has been made as to how rapidly the new system of telegraphy will extend to other cities, nor as to when the facsimile transmission of drawings, designs, tabulations and manuscripts will be available. It is understood however, that the latter is largely a matter of determining rates and conditions of service, since the system is equally well adapted to such functioning.
  Work Begun In 1920 
   It was not until 1920 that Western Union had any part in actual facsimile operations, and then in a limited way. In that year two Englishmen, H.G. Bartholomew and Capt. M.D. McFarlane, sent the first pictures ever transmitted across the ocean, using western union cables. The pictures were taken at the international yacht races and Sir Thomas Lipton was one of the subjects.  Other pictures were transmitted in following years and regular picture transmission over Western Union cables between New York and London was established in 1925 and has continued ever since.  A group of newspapers headed by the New York Daily News, use this system.  It's name, the Bartlane Process, was created using a part of the name of each inventor and it was patterned to coincide with the method of transmission used on the Western Union cable system.
Buffalo First Again! This time the Queen City shows the
latest step in the progress of electrical communication,
The Facsimile Machine.
   In 1924 and 1925, Western Union co-operated with newspaper interests in development of a facsimile system known as Telepix, for use between American cities. Slowness of the service and lack of great interest on part of the press or public resulted in discontinuance of the Telepix after one year.  Much effort and money has been spent developing facsimile methods in recent years. A trans-Atlantic facsimile service was begun in 1924, and the telephone started a telephone service in 1925.  This latter method of sending pictures, suitably adapted, is now being used by the Associated Press in a wire service by which news photo's are transmitted to certain of it's newspaper members.
   A year and a half ago Western Union engineers, under the stimulus and encouragement of President White, began to develop a facsimile method of transmission which would be fast enough and simple enough for regular commercial telegraph use.  The Western Union facsimile system which now has been placed in regular operation between Buffalo and New York City is the outcome of their work.

Invention of Original Fax Machine

Alexander Bain
Alexander Bain's Improved 1850 Model
   A Scottish inventor, Alexander Bain, began his career as an apprentice to a clockmaker. He actually invented the first electric clock, which had a pendulum powered by an electromagnet. This invention would come in handy when he started to think about transmitting messages. The fax machine he invented actually used clockwork principles and parts to operate. He patented the first primitive fax machine in 1843, some 30 years before the telephone. Called the "recording telegraph," Mr. Bain's invention used a stylus attached to a pendulum, which passed over metal type to sense light or dark spots on the plated "document" being sent. A pendulum on the receiving device made a stain on chemically treated paper when electric charges were sent on a telegraph line.  The chemical he employed to saturate the paper was a solution of ammonia and prussiate of potash, which left a blue stain on being decomposed by the current from an iron contact or stylus. The signals were the short and long, 'dot' and 'dashes' of the Morse code. The speed of marking was so great that hand signaling could not keep up with it.
     The chemical telegraph was tried between Paris and Lille before a committee of the Institute and the Legislative Assembly. The speed of signaling attained was 282 words in fifty-two seconds, a marvelous advance on the Morse electro-magnetic instrument, which only gave about forty words a minute. 



paul said...

I hope that these new equipment can help improve the lifestyle of the people on that place. Thanks for sharing.

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Anita said...

You can really see the evolution of different equipment from telephone, fax machine up to photo copy machine and all. These innovations gave a great comfort and accessibility to every company and its employees.

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