Witty scientists recommend: if your printer is broken, put your screen on the copier. It’s just impossible to imagine how we lived before his invention. It’s high time to recall it today: On October 22, 1938, an American with the fabulous surname Carlson produced world’s first photocopy. The fateful event for scientists and office employees took place in the back room of a beauty parlor located in New York’s Astoria Hotel. The American physicist sent there by his wife for a mess in their kitchen continued his experiments trying to simplify the process of copying different slips of paper. As the result of an experiment with a handkerchief, a zinc plate and lycopodium spores, on that day he produced a sheet of paper with the vague inscription “10.-22. -38 Astoria.” The experimental technology required fine-tuning, while Chester Carlson was short of money. However, finally his search for money was crowned with success when a research institute became interested in his invention, and so a whole group of scientists undertook to complete the device. Simultaneously, they created a copying powder to replace homegrown lycopodium, i.e., those very spores, with a mixture that was a paradise to the eyes. The tested technology was sold to a small company, Haloid. On the same day, ten years after the first triumphant experience in a hotel parlor, the electrographic apparatus was shown to the audience on October 22, 1948. It still required 14 operations from its user, but it could produce a copy in 45 seconds. In 1949, the first portion of copiers went to the store. In this time, the company found a term to name that process: the pseudo-scientific “electrography” being able to scare the buyer away was replaced with the word “xerography” smartly constructed from such Greek roots as “dry” and “letter.” Then “graphy” was rejected, they put the second “x” in the end to imitate “kodak,” and the word consisting of five Latin letters decorated all Haloid devices, starting from the first one. The word became so successful that the company itself was eventually renamed into Xerox. The name turned into a common noun: maliciously violating copyrights, now we call any copying machine a “xerox,” even if it is produced by another company.
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Information provided by the Scientific Russia News Agency. Media outlet’s registration certificate: IA No. FS77-62580 issued by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on July 31, 2015.
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