An office place anniversary has given the folks at CNN an excuse to trot out a photo of Rob Schneider and his very old SNL catch phrase.
It was 50 years ago this month that Haloid Xerox sent the first copying machine to a paying customer. There have been a lot of jammed copying machines since then. Chester Carlson, a lawyer in New York, came up with the idea during the Depression, but it took him a heck of long time to get his idea off the ground. But after a failed marriage, a lot of hours put in by engineers and a pot-load of money, they got plain paper copying to work, dooming the mimeograph to the dustbin of history (which was a shame, ’cause I think you could get a buzz sniffing mimeo forms).
The first machines were so expensive, Xerox leased them to customers and took a fee for anything over 2,000 copies. Needless to say, the money started rolling in. The stories about the anniversary seem to be leaving a little something out. When I was growing up in Columbus, Ohio, we’d always hear stories about research institute near the Ohio State campus and how it played a major role in the development of the workable copier.
Battelle Memorial Institute developed the first nuclear fuel rods, advances that helped lead to the compact disc and a couple of their engineers started working with Carlson in 1944. Their efforts led to the first commercial xerography. The fees they picked up from Xerox have made Battelle a very rich non-profit applied science and technology development company.