Working Knowledge; October 1996; Scientific American Magazine; by Holt; 1 Page(s)
The term "xerography," the use of photoelectric phenomena to transfer an image from one sheet of paper to another, comes from the Greek words for "dry" and "writing." Chester F. Carlson, a New York City patent attorney who had studied chemistry at the California Institute of Technology, first demonstrated this technique 58 years ago in a makeshift laboratory above a bar in Astoria, Queens, N.Y.
Over the next six years, more than 20 companies turned down Carlson¿s proposals to develop the technology. In 1944 Battelle Memorial Institute, a nonprofit research organization, entered into a royalty-sharing arrangement with Carlson. Battelle eventually signed a development contract in 1947 with Haloid Company, a Rochester, N.Y., firm that produced photographic paper and later became Xerox Corporation. The first xerographic machine came onto the market in 1949, but it was slow, dirty and hard to use. Not until 1959 did Xerox introduce an office copier, the 914, which became the basis for the current multibillion-dollar industry.