A New Word In Our Lexicon: Facsimile – February 8, 1938 – Past Daily Reference Room

The future was overflowing with Wow Factor.

The future was overflowing with Wow Factor.

. . . or click on the link here for Audio Player – WOR – first Facsimile transmission – February 9, 1938 – Gordon Skene Sound Collection.

For all that the world was teetering on the brink of World War and possible extinction, there were still glimpses to be had that we were indeed bracing ourselves for a fascinating future – if we survived that long.

One of those major discoveries, coming hot on the heels of Television and hints at a Longer Playing record for consumers, along with FM Radio, came this new discovery; Facsimile transmission. It wasn’t like Wirephoto, which was pretty crude and it wasn’t like Television, which had no moving images. This was something else – an exact reproduction of text and print transmitted around the country to stations equipped to receive this data, within minutes of it first being sent.

It would eventually morph into what became the Fax machine. But in 1938 this was huge, even though it wasn’t exactly clear what it was going to be used for at the time. It has been development for several years and it had finally been perfected so that it could be used and marketed to the public. When it would finally be introduced to the consumer, a receiver would cost around $125.00 (roughly $2,000.00 in 2015 money). But with mass production, it was anticipated the cost would be around $20.00 ($325.00 in 2015 money).

A steep price to pay for something most people weren’t quite sure of at the time. But still – it was an invention that would show up later in our history and have different a whole different use and meaning.

But it got started someplace. Here is that broadcast, and a discussion with the engineers of the Facsimile Machine as it was first heard on February 9, 1938.

If you care about history – are curious about why certain things happen over and over again, or are interested in hearing how things got started (like this story about the Facsimile Machine), then I would urge you to please consider making your tax-deductible contribution, in what ever amount, to our Past Daily Emergency Fundraiser, going on now and until the end of the month. We’re in grave danger of losing our archive and subsequently losing Past Daily because we’re slated for eviction by the end of February. You can help prevent that from happening by chipping in just a few dollars in order to keep us up and functioning and offering you historic tidbits like this every day. So please, consider a contribution and tell your friends. We need all the support and love we can get. Click on the link below and help keep us safe from the Wrecking Ball!

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