The History of Xerox

The phrase 10-22-38 ASTORIA holds a special place in printing history. This humble caption was the is the text of the first xerographic image ever fashioned. It was created in a makeshift laboratory in Queens, NY. by a patent attorney named Chester Carlson, who believed that the world was ready for an easier and less costly way to make copies. Carlson was proved right only after a discouraging ten-year search for a company that would develop his invention into a useful product. It was the Haloid Company, a small photo-paper maker in Rochester, N.Y. which finally took on the challenge and the promise of xerography and thus became, in a breathtakingly short time, the giant multinational company now known to the world as Xerox Corporation.

It was not until 1959, twenty-one years after Carlson invented xerography, that the first convenient office copier using xerography was unveiled. The Xerox 914could make copies quickly at the touch of a button on plain paper. It was a phenomenal success. The technology used was xerography, which is also called electro-photography. The popularity of the 914 increased leaps and bounds and by the end of the year 1961, the revenue of Xerox was lifted to $60 million. In the following years the rise in revenue was huge and by the end of 1965 Xerox was richer by $500 million.

Throughout the 1960s the company continued to expand at a fast pace. Investors who served the company in through its rough phase of slow research and development soon turned millionaires. In 1960, a research institute for xerography came into existence named “Wilson Center for Research and Technology” in Webster, New York. In the following year the company changes its name to “Xerox Corporation” which was also listed in NYSE.

In 1963, Xerox announced its first desktop plain paper copier. Ten years later in 1973, a color copier was introduced. In 1971, Gary Starkweather a researcher tried to modify a Xerox copier, which resulted in the evolution of the first laser printer in 1977.

Xerox was revived in the 1980s and 1990s with better quality in design and enhanced product line. It was in the 1980s that Apple considered purchasing Xerox. However, not able to strike a deal, Apple copied the GUI idea of Xerox for its own personal computers. Xerox’s case was dismissed as it had passed the three-year statute of limitation and was too late to file the suit. The 1990s saw a complete new look to its product line. High quality printers and scanners made Xerox a market leader.

In 2000, Xerox bought Tektronix color printing and imaging division for $925 million. Four years later in September 2004, Xerox proudly celebrated the 45th anniversary of Xerox 914. After selling over 200,000 units across the globe from 1959 to 1976, the production was finally called off by the end of 1976. Today, Xerox 914 is a part of American History.