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Anyone Faxing these days?

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  • Anyone Faxing these days?

    This caught my eye & I thought I would pass it along. I have fond memories of proofing my monthly magazine pages via curled up thermal faxes, holding them flat with weights. Faxes, at that time, were faster than waiting for blue line proofs to arrive.

    Once at the communications forefront, Faxing has mostly disappeared. But, its use persists in law-enforcement, real estate and health care. A mix of regulatory confusion, digital-security concerns and “Old habits die hard” have kept fax machines in use.

    Faxes have an old, long and interesting history:
    • An early fax was sent over telegraph lines in London in 1847,
    • Inventors, including Bain in the UK and Edison & Bell in the USA, sought to father facsimile technology,
    • Jules Verne, writing in 1863, imagined Paris in the 1960s would be replete with fax machines, referring to them as “picture-telegraphs”—transmitting copies of messages & images instantly over wires was a dream.
    Law and medicine still rely on the device. Maybe they shouldn’t. An Object Lesson.

  • #2
    We still fax quite a bit. We have a lot of orders come in by fax and send black and white proofs by fax.

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    • #3
      One time in the mid 80s while I was in Seattle doing the tourist thing a Soviet ship was docked at the port. I noticed that the sailors on shore leave were carrying boxes of fax paper back to the ship. Apparently, with a fax machine, paper (hard to get at home), and a computer capable of desktop publishing (I.e. the MAC) Soviet citizens could bypass government newspaper propaganda and publish “real” news and information and distribute it widely creating an informed citizenry. As a result, some pundits credit faxes (and MACs) as a key factor in the dissolution of the Soviet Republic.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by prwhite View Post
        This caught my eye & I thought I would pass it along. I have fond memories of proofing my monthly magazine pages via curled up thermal faxes, holding them flat with weights. Faxes, at that time, were faster than waiting for blue line proofs to arrive....
        Faxes are great and I think they definitely still have their uses, but you just mentioned Blue Lines. Now there's something I haven't thought about in many, many years - the burning, the clearing....and then the smell.

        It doesn't seem like too long ago, but those were the days.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by alibryan View Post

          Blue Lines. Now there's something I haven't thought about in many, many years - the burning, the clearing....and then the smell.
          Aah yes, the SMELL. Days of yore!

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          • #6
            If I may be pedantic, that picture is not of fax machines. Those are Siemens T100 50Baud Teleprinters (Telex machines), fitted with tape punches and punch tape readers. Magnificent machines. I worked for the South African Post Office (Telkom these days) during the heydays of those machines. I could strip one of those machines down to components, wash every single part, replace the worn parts and re-assemble it, to factory specifications, in one day. Then they were upgraded to 100Baud rate. Identical in every way, but some of the mechanics were modified. Then came the 150Baud and 200Baud daisy-wheel teleprinters, also Siemens. Soon thereafter, fax machines made their appearance and within around 9 months, the teleprinter was made obsolete. How I wish I had "stolen" a few of those 50Baud machines. I remember "the old guys" (I was around 20 years old at the time) talking about the British equivalent Creed teleprinters. I am now 64. MAN!!! What a lot of water has flowed under the bridge.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by GeraldSA View Post
              that picture is not of fax machines. Those are Siemens T100 50Baud Teleprinters (Telex machines), fitted with tape punches and punch tape readers.
              Apparently The Atlantic's photograph chooser is older than we think!
              I remember those machines and the punched tapes that extended across our large office floor waiting to run overnight when trans Atlantic rates were their lowest between the US and Europe—in the 1970's—the good old days, indeed!

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              • #8
                Originally posted by prwhite View Post


                I remember those machines and the punched tapes that extended across our large office floor waiting to run overnight when trans Atlantic rates were their lowest between the US and Europe—in the 1970's—the good old days, indeed!
                LOL... Good old days - in a way, yes. I started working directly out of school in 1974. Thinking about large offices containing many machines, I remember the main CTO (Central Telegraph Office, which handled all telegrams) in Johannesburg where I was stationed for around 3 0r 4 months during my training period. The overseer/supervisor had a direct line connecting the main CTOs throughout the country and the supervisors used to communicate on this by Morse Code. Imagine.... If I remember, there were 6 CTOs in total. The punched tape, I still have about 20 rolls of that tape. The tapes make up pictures. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. I really wish I could find a machine to reproduce those pictures. I'm going to stop reminiscing, or else I will be here for the rest of the day.... LOL...

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                • #9
                  When I order cutting dies, I fax the paperwork to the vendor.

                  pd

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                  • #10
                    We disposed off our fax a few years back. We weren't receiving any.

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                    • #11
                      Our fax is running as I am typing this right now.

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                      • #12
                        We were just discussing this in our office. We hardly use our fax anymore but just can't quite get rid of it. There are a few customers who still fax in their orders and it would just not be worth the time to try and move them off. Why risk unsettling them? The only time that I've faxed something in the last year is when I had a pet insurance claim and all they provided to submit it was a fax number or postal address.

                        Still if I was starting a new shop out I'd probably not have a fax machine and get all customers used to email from the start.

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                        • #13
                          Some VoIP services offer e-fax, which is basically a service that receives and sends faxes but converts them into digital email attachments. Faxes you get come in as emailed PDFs. You send faxes as PDF attachments to a special email address which will convert it to analog and fax it. Saves you the cost of a separate fax line as you can set your main number up to receive faxes this way.

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