February 8, 1938 – A New Word In Our Lexicon: Facsimile
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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.
The Facsimile 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.