What is Fax?

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What is Fax?
Fax refers to the technology in which one document can be reproduced electronically at a remote place through a machine. A fax could also refer to the actual document that is being sent to another place through a telephone line. Documents that are sent out in a “fax machine” could either contain basic text, maps, various images, and drawings. On the other end, the receiving machine will produce some sort of duplicate of the original document.

Fax is actually a short version of the word “Fascimile”. This technology is attributed to Alexander Bain, a Scottish inventor. With his fax invention, Bain got his patent back in 1843. The main concept of this technology, as invented by Alexander Bain, still forms the basis of newer versions of fax. Many other people worked on Bain’s original concept and made enhancements to the fax technology. A man named Giovanni Caselli was the first one to introduce a commercial telefax back in 1865. By the 1920s, documents are sent remotely via “radio fascimile”. Also in the 1920s, AT&T was able to send the first colored fax document.

Older fax technology involved analogue signals. Each line that was being scanned was transmitted via an analogue signal which depended on the quality of the printer, the transmission line, and the scanner itself. Newer fax machines use digital compression of scanned documents to reduce the time of sending from the source machine to the recipient. There’s also a version called Fax Over IP which allows “fax sending” through the IP network. In the past, the only way to have a document reproduced in the recipient machine is through a thermal paper, in which the printout doesn’t last long. But with digital technology, faxed documents can now be sent through the email system and the documents received may now be printed on regular office printers.

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