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You’ve probably used a copier many times in your daily lives, but have you ever wondered how this innovative machine that sits at the heart of the office came to be? It all started when Chester Carlson, a patent attorney, started looking for ways to make his job easier due to suffering from painfully unbearable arthritis. To think one man’s pain has resulted in millions of hours of time saved across many businesses globally.

You probably don’t think there are many things about the copier that could surprise you and to be honest, you’re probably right. Yet there are still a few fun facts that might just take you by surprise. Here are ten of the most interesting ones:

    1. Bulgarian ingenuity and painful arthritis created the copier

In 1937, Bulgarian physicist Georgi Nadjakov discovered that electric polarization can be used to adhere objects to other objects. In 1938, Chester Carlson started performing experiments with photoconductivity. He had arthritis and hand copying documents for his job as a patent authority was causing excruciating pain. He was eventually successful with creating a transfer process.

    2. Nobody thought photocopiers would make it big

Chester Carlson invented the process of copying, but at first it was not refined. In fact, he took his process to several companies such as General Electric and IBM where his work was rejected as they could not see a need for Carlson’s product. After several years of perfecting the process, Haloid Corporation (now Xerox) obtained a license to market a machine with this technology.

    3. The photocopying process was originally called electrophotography

The Haloid Corporation decided to change the name of the process to xerography, meaning ‘dry writing.’ Their machines were called Xerox machine, which rapidly became a household name in the following years.

    4. The first photocopier demonstration was aired live on TV

The copier was introduced to the general public on September 16, 1959, in a live demonstration at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in New York that was actually shown on live television at the time.

    5. Safety hazard

The first popular photocopier took the business world by storm in 1959 which was the Xerox 914. Unfortunately, if it was released today however, it would never get past health and safety. Not only did over-use of the device risk overheating, the device would commonly burst into flames after one too many copies. In fact, this was such a problem that Xerox had to supply free fire extinguishers with each machine!

    6. Colour copiers helped in the making of 101 Dalmatians

In the late 1950’s the Haloid Corporation (now Xerox) sent 7 colour copy machines to Disney. These machines were used in the production of 101 Dalmatians.

    7. The modern multifunctional photocopier cannot copy currency

Modern photocopiers are equipped with an embedded-pattern-recognition feature, which makes it impossible to copy currency. The machines have been designed to leave small dots on the media when copying currency, so agents can identify the source of the counterfeit print to the device itself.

    8. Remember to wipe

Did you know that 60% of all discarded hard drives from digital document systems, including copiers, faxes or MFDs still contain data? When you consider the amount of highly sensitive information that runs through the average office on a daily basis, the potential danger should quickly become apparent. It’s always good to remember to make sure you erase all images and files from the device before getting rid of it.

    9. Photocopiers don’t use ink

Traditional laser photocopiers use toner, which is a mixture of plastic granules, rust, pigment, and wax. The granules accept a photostatic charge and are attracted to a photosensitive drum which then transfers images to paper. The toner is then sealed to the paper using a heat process.

On the other hand, Ink is used in a range of Inkjet devices, it is placed on the paper through the use of tiny jets which push the liquid in a series of pulses.

    10. Speed in the office

The world’s fastest Multifunctional photocopier developed for office use is the Canon OCE Varioprint 6320 Ultra+. This machine is capable of printing & copying at speeds of 314 pages per minute and with a huge capacity of 24,000 sheet capacity means it can print continuously for 4 hours.


Before the invention of photocopying, people had to rely on the tedious use of carbon paper and hand sketching to make copies of documents, so Chester Carlson’s invention was revolutionary in changing the landscape of businesses today.

For the best industry advice when choosing your next office print equipment make sure to contact STORM on 01908 272729 or email sales@stormofficesolutions.com.

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