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WikiProject Telecommunications (Rated C-class, High-importance)
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edit·history·watch·refresh Stock post message.svg To-do list for Fax:

Here are some tasks awaiting attention:
  • Expand : Add section on usage/prevalence (currently covered a bit in a paragraph in lead) --Chealer (talk) 19:57, 29 April 2012 (UTC)


Please place new talk items as sections at the bottom.

Very old comments[edit]

The alternative histories on this need to be reconciled! Mark Richards 21:31, 14 May 2004 (UTC)

How about some information on online faxing and fax servers that many businesses are using these days to send and receive faxes.

I understand that the fax machine was developed by the Japanese, as the teletyper machines could not be adapted to their script. Is this true?

Only covers electronic faxes.[edit]

The fax is far older the then the electronic fax in this article. It came out the same time paper for thermal printing did. The first faxes were not digital. Basically a sensor was synchronized with the print head on a remote machine and the head printed when the remote sensor detected a dark part of the page.

I know what you mean; I remember coming across an article on the history of analog fax technology back when I was an undergraduate. However, I don't really have the time or energy to do the research and dig up the citations, especially since I'm trying to think of a better way to clean up the Lawyer article (I suggested the current breakup of the article now in progress and then someone else went and did it all wrong). --Coolcaesar 02:59, 9 September 2005 (UTC)


Why does facsimile redirect to this article? While facsimile is the root of the modern word fax, it would be worthy its own article. Just think of facsimile reproductions of medieval books! That type of facsimile has nothing at all to do with faxes! Lupo 08:44, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

Proposed merge of Facsimile in to this article[edit]

  • Oppose The two are different. Faxes are so called because they make a facsimile of the document being transfered, and as the Facsimile article makes clear, books are occaisionally published in facsimile editions, whihc have nothing to do with fax machine. WLD 11:42, 15 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Neutral, leaning to merge. I would think that if there was a merger of the articles that "fax" would merge into "facsimile", if only because "fax" is derived from "facsimile" and the latter is the precursor to the former. Agent 86 18:51, 23 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I agree that the two are different. Facsimile is a more general concept in publishing while fax is the shorthand name for a telecom device that drew its name from the larger concept. --Coolcaesar 03:17, 25 June 2006 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Fax is about the technology; facsimile about the term from which the former derives its name. However, as things stand, facsimile looks more like a candidate for moving to Wiktionary. I've "stubbed" it, which may help. --JennyRad 23:39, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Over a month later, the clear consensus is not to merge, so I'm removing the merge tags. 11:01, 20 July 2006 (UTC)

Hi guys sorry i just **had** to update the image to a 'modern' fax machine :D hope every1 likes it

Fax article[edit]

I found this article in an old Australian magazine called MAN, from the July, 1949 edition. The article is by Ray Heath, and constitutes the science section, I didn't finish copying out the article but this is the bulk of the relevant section and the rest is mostly concerned with imagining the ramifications and future developments of this technology. But I found it interesting, especially in regards to the information on this wikipedia article, for it's early date, it's claims that the technology was being utilised commercially in this fashion, and the fairly detailed descriptions of the technology. I'm not expert in the subject myself but thought that it might be useful to someone in regards to expanding this wikipedia page.Number36 04:01, 29 December 2006 (UTC)

News Is Still Hard "Fax"

A gramophone machine in the corner of the lounge can print your own private newspaper faster than you can read it.

In the U.S.A. (Yes again) you can get a newspaper delivered right into your living room without the newsboy putting his muddy boots onto the carpet. You can lift up the lid of your radio, and there it is.
It is about a quarter the size of your usual newspaper; it is complete with headlines, photographs, comic strips, and all the whirligigs that go to make a newspaper of today -only it happens to be a newspaper of tomorrow -the "fax," which is short for "faximile," which is a trade name for a facsimile, or a complete reproduction of a "master sheet." It is, like most things in this modern age, a radio production.
Actually you start the ball rolling by investing 500 dollars (£A165) in a home Facsimile set. This turns out a radio reproduction of your newspaper for a cost of four cents (about 3½d). The trade believes that soon radio-minded Americans will buy the home newspaper machine for 100 dollars (£A35) and get a single copy for a penny.
Each page of the Fax takes about three minutes to be printed in your own home : but your don't have to wait. The receiver turns itself on and off, and, unlike any conventional newspaper which has four or five editions a day, you can have an edition of Fax hourly, if you feel that the news is as good as all that.
The biggest appeal is to convenience: you don't have to wait for the newsboy to call; you don't go down to the newsagency; you don't get your paper left out in the rain until it's too sodden to read. When you want it, you just walk into the living room and get it.
Next appeal in this age of swift-moving is that you get the news hours faster. You might sit down to breakfast at 7:30 and casually read in your Fax about something that happened in town half an hour before -and even see pictures of it happening.
This is the sort of modern radio-engineered miracle which is happening now in the United States. There are citizens who get their news this way; who can, if they like, get a newspaper an hour.
To Australians today it reads much as stories of television used to read and still read. We used to regard television as one of those scientific dreams for Sometime. Now we realise that English and American homes enjoy the amenity, while we are just planning to do something about it.
Fax seems to be as far off now as television seemed to us twenty years ago, when it was a fairy word.
But fax is fact to many Americans. The well-known Philadelphia Enquirer has its "Facsimile Edition" carrying in the "ear" of the front page "Broadcast over WFIL/FM." It looks like something run off on a roneo, with radio-photographs. It is easily read.
In the States they do not believe this is a body-blow at the newspaper industry. It was a body of newspaper and radio interests which in 1937, began experimenting with radio facsimile for sending news directly into the home.
The method they have now evolved, and which works now in the U.S.A., churns out four pages in a quarter hour; the pages are 8-inches wide by 11½-inches deep. An edition of the Philadelphia Enquirer contains front-page news, sports, woman's page, comics, advertisements.
In appearance the job is good; and it looks like a newspaper. But the resemblance ends about there. For the reading matter of a Fax is not set in metal type, and there are no metal blocks (engravings) made of the photographs. Typists copy out the news on electromatic typewriters, which produce lettering which looks like newspaper printing. Headings are set from individual printed letters and jointed together with transparent Scotch tape. Headings, reading-matter and photographs ate pasted down on the page -and that's your newspaper, made up and ready to be sent into the home! All the mechanical processes between writing the news and taking the newspaper out onto the streets are eliminated in the Fax edition.
The pasted up page of the Fax is taken to the broadcasting station and then put on a scanner (transmitter). The electric eye of the scanner runs over the page, which revolves on a drum. Electric impulses are sent out across the ether, and these vary in power according to the density of the ray reflected. In short, the pasted up newspaper page is "televised" -not onto a television screen, but onto a "negative" -a photographic, sensitised paper.
At your end, in your lounge room, no presses rumble. A roll of paper, specially sensitised to pick up the impulses of the transmitter, unrolls in your living room recorder, and passes through two thin metal bars. When the signals from the transmitter arrive, they flow through the top bar, through the paper, to the bottom bar. As they flow they take small fragments of iron iron from the top bar and deposit them on the paper. These iron fragments fall into the patterns of the letters, headings, photographs -and in between them leave the white space of the background!

Here's a similar article from the US:,9171,794158,00.html —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 12:24, 15 September 2007 (UTC)

fax security[edit]

Fax communications cannot be hacked,

OK, that is an absurd statement. How about something more reasonable. Such as, "less susceptible" to interception. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 23:54, 11 April 2007 (UTC).


Might be worth mentioning this word specifically, since it's used (admittedly in passing) in the original novel version of Casino Royale. 22:29, 24 April 2007 (UTC)

Doubts about this article - History section[edit]

There are apparent inaccuracies in the History section. I can find no reference elsewhere to "the Xerox Qyx in the mid-1970s," Qyx was an electronic typewriter made by an Exxon subsidiary. Also, I find no other source for "mechanical movement of a pen or pencil to reproduce the image on a blank sheet of paper," early fax machines used chemically treated paper, later thermal paper. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Should refer to the Exxon Qwip; not Qyx, as that was an Exxon electronic typewriter. refDicklyon 06:17, 5 June 2007 (UTC)

The Exxon facsimile machine was definitely the Qwip, used mostly by Fortune 1000 companies, law firms, government agencies, and financial services companies. As a footnote to the wider adoption of fax machines in the 1980s, when the prices dropped down to the sub-$300 range, by 1985 it was very common for one business person to ask another, "Do you have access to a fax machine?" By 1986, it was "do you have a fax machine?" And by 1987, it was simply "What is your fax number?" Ehsventnor (talk) 01:21, 16 February 2009 (UTC)

I am old enough to remember the introduction of fax machines in our office, but I do not recall the date exactly. Was in in the early 1980s or the mid 1980s? I recall that IBM had a machine the size (and weight) of a small refrigerator called "Scanmaster" that actually provided the fax functionality. And I recall that the introduction of fax machines is actually an interesting case study for marketing people, as an example of a technology that was available for at least a decade, and only became a commercial success due to some event unknown to me. No, it was not the improving price/performance ratio due to technology development. I heard the story that the sidden rise of fax machiens started in Japan, as a means to transmit Asien script text. But this was neither an argument to wait when basically the technology was there, nor to use this technology in Europe and the US. Could anyone help? Rbakels (talk) 11:56, 18 September 2013 (UTC)
The sudden widespread use of faxes was a combination of price/performance and critical mass. Earlier faxes used electro-sensitive paper and were not widely used, and hence expensive. The introduction of faxes with thermal heads, using rolls of thermal paper, made them considerably cheaper, and it suddenly started to become embarrassing if your business did not have a fax. (In the same way in a previous generation, a company without a telex machine was not much of a company, especially if they had anything to do with imports and exports). Once lots of companies started having faxes, both the capital cost and the consumable cost dropped fast. Subsequently there was a change to plain-paper sheet-fed faxes, and thermal rolls were no longer wanted, but this happened after the fax was already nearly ubiquitous.
Gravuritas (talk) 15:59, 18 September 2013 (UTC)

Color FAXing?[edit]

What's the standard for color FAX transmissions? I have a Brother MFC 5440CN all in one machine that can scan (or send from the computer) color images via FAX if the recieving FAX is also color capable.

Standard for color faxing: see ITU T.30 Annex E, look at [1] 322 pages, look for »colour« in British spelling! You’ll find: – » ITU-T Recommendation T.30 was approved on 13 September 2005 by ITU-T Study Group 16 (2005-2008) under the ITU-T Recommendation A.8 procedure.« Annex E (Procedure for the Group 3 document facsimile transmission of continuous-tone colour images) on page 162 of the PDF-document. Fritz@Joern.De —Preceding unsigned comment added by Fritz Jörn (talkcontribs) 07:38, 9 October 2007 (UTC)

Hmmm does all seem a bit up in the air as of 2005, doesn't it. Mostly speculative stuff, perhaps over-ambitious also (if I wanted to send a 12-bit, no subsampling, 1200x1200 resolution picture... I'd just attach it to an email, as it'll take about fifteen minutes to send a regular photograph at that resolution and 33.6kbit/s...). Plus my head now hurts.
Also if I was, as I suspect, the original question asker, I put 'color' as a deference to the presumed-mainly-USA population on wiki... figures the one time I remember to do that I'm linked back to something with British/International spelling :) (talk) 14:54, 24 February 2008 (UTC)

Frequency Activated Xerography?[edit]

Looking for an answer... Back in about 1995 a junior co-worker of mine arrogantly informed a senior co-worker that "Fax" is shorthand for "facsimile." The senior co-worker replied that the Fax was invented long ago, 1930s or 1940s, and that FAX was actually an acronym for something like "Frequency Activated Xerography." (I don't remember exactly.) Since then I have heard only references for Fax as a "facsimile." Yesterday when I read some instructions regarding an order, I was reminded of this 1995 conversation, as the instructions pedantically stated, "Please send us the information by Fax, which stands for facsimile, to the following number..." Now I am wondering about the true derivation of the word Fax. Could it really be an acronym? Does anyone have an answer? Maureen47 19:22, 19 October 2007 (UTC)

The Online Etymology Dictionary has it's first recorded appearance as 1948 as an abbreviation of facsimile. First attested use as a verb from 1979.Number36 03:53, 5 November 2007 (UTC)

What happened to "facsimile"?[edit]

Facsimile was used long before fax machines. It was and still is used to reprint books cheaply. --Una Smith (talk) 17:46, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Call me crazy, but isn't that the same thing as a fax? I wonder if maybe you're thinking of a memeograph or ditto machine? --Shubopshadangalang (talk) 19:13, 18 March 2008 (UTC)

Okay, I'll bite. You're crazy (just kidding, I'm a nice guy and am not really being confrontational). But I really don't think that the original poster was thinking of just some machine that makes copies. I started a skeleton of an article just to fill the void since so many pages were linking to facsimile and being redirect to the fancy, and almost obsolete, telephone-modem that is the fax machine. It needs some work, but hopefully some experts on the subject will finally take a look and help expand it properly. --Stomme (talk) 08:52, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Pre-FAX machines[edit]

I just saw the rapidly spinning drum described in the article on an episode of Adam-12 from late '68; they were using it to transmit fingerprints, and the show was pretty good about accurately representing the LAPD. Does anyone know any more about actual uses of this technology? (talk) 03:18, 19 March 2008 (UTC)

this was an analog "facsimile machine". The term later shortened itself to the now common term "fax" machine. It used an external dial up modem. One called on the phone and inserted hand set into the cradle on modem. The drum spun around, and a needle traversed the page, line by line, and actually burned the surface of the paper to create the image. The more of of a black area on the item sent, the more of an ozone-ish odor at receiving end., even actual smoke. This was not a mimeo or a ditto machine. Those made local copies, no communications involved. The facsimile machine was just the original name for a fax. It did not make a local copy. There was one that at least by 1980 was marketed by EXXON Office Systems. This was used by government offices and was in prevalent use between locations such as car dealerships and banks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:13, 20 January 2014 (UTC)

Couldn't find that standard[edit]

I tried to look up the standards for digital fax machines. ITU's site doesn't have any note of T.72 at all. Perhaps the list of related standards needs to be checked. (And I know too little about fax standards to do it myself.) TobiF (talk) 06:02, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

advantages and disadvantages needed to be added —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:50, 9 May 2008 (UTC)

Cover Sheet[edit]

I couldn't find any mention of fax cover sheets, and Cover sheet covers an entirely different topic. Mathiastck (talk) 20:29, 12 June 2008 (UTC)

Is it really notable enough? It's not something unique to faxes after all ... books, magazines, documents sent by mail all have them, and the email to which DOCs and PDFs are attached to could be viewed as such... (talk) 13:41, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


I believe the horizontal resolution of a fax or facsimile transmission is 8 lines per millimeter, or 203.2 dots per inch -- not 204 -- and is generally rounded to 203 dpi. User spencerdr 18:05, 16 February 2009 —Preceding unsigned comment added by Spencerdr (talkcontribs)

Between this and the "1728 pixels" dimension mentioned, what's the truth? 210mm x 8 = 1680 pixels... so there's 48 pixels (or 3mm each side) going begging! Even though the top/bottom of the page seems to have a bit of an unscanned border whether at 100 or 98 lpi. Does the scanning resolution vary per region, btw? (I would expect its fixed in hardware, but possibly european / other A-series using countries have 8 pixels/mil and 98 lpi to suit the narrower/taller pages, and american-standard regions use 200 ppi / 100 lpi to suit both squarer letter-standard paper (giving roughly 1700 x 1150 pixels) and the leftover measuring systems of yesteryear ;) (talk) 13:40, 12 June 2009 (UTC)


The article mentions that analogue faxes are obsolete, but perhaps it should mention that faxing is an obsolete process itself. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:00, 25 February 2009 (UTC)

That would be fair comment if it were correct, but it's not. I've sent two of them today myself. They didn't catch on well in the home but are still a common business tool where mucking about with scanners, emails, attachments, printing and the subsequent delays and storage issues are just too much when all you're doing is, e.g., sending an urgent purchase order to a supplier who themselves need a legally valid hardcopy for their tax records. Drop the document in the fax, tap in the number, press go, optionally do something else for a couple minutes while it sends, job done. Think about the palaver involved if you're wanting to do similar with emailing it. (talk) 13:01, 12 June 2009 (UTC)
Depends on the country. In some countries where Broadband hasn't taken as strong of the foothold (to the home), faxing is indeed still viable in some places. It might also be worth mentioning that VoIP is causing faxing to be phased out a bit faster since many Voice Over IP providers do not support faxing services. Essentially, the very act of being able to fax over a VoIP phone line is still very hit-or-miss due to a number of variables. (Latency, total speed availability at the premises, equipment age, service provider's equipment, and the like. CaribDigita (talk) 20:13, 5 November 2009 (UTC)

Article order[edit]

An encyclopedic article wouldn't start out talking about the technology - capabilities, resolution, "class", etc. This should really have a brief summary and the history, then be more specific as needed. (talk) 23:27, 1 June 2009 (UTC)


This article omits a discussion of CIFAX (enciphered facsimile). Nageh (talk) 19:26, 8 April 2010 (UTC)

help requested: note on legal status[edit]

AIUI a faxed (signed) document carries legal validity much the same as a signed letter, is delivered instantly, and comes with the added advantage of a free delivery receipt. Which is why the daily receipts printout was religiously saved in some companies I dealt with. And since it's carried over voice circuits it's under the same rules that govern voice wire tapping. (There are still countries where those rules are pretty important.) Point is: I don't have good references, but since these are obvious reasons why fax will be around for a while (and why businesses push their VoIP providers to get fax going too) I'd like to request references for various countries. And/or work on the writeup so it can be integrated into the main article. Ask your lawyer if you keep one; they tend to use fax a lot too, especially to talk to courts when deadlines loom. (talk) 19:55, 11 June 2010 (UTC)


It seems that phototelegraph is an old term fror fax, I've seen it in old ITU-T recommendations, and in an old encyclopedia. (talk) 09:43, 28 April 2012 (UTC)

Title of the article[edit]

Shouldn't we retitle this article "Telefax", which is, after all (as far as I'm aware) the "official" name of the instrument? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Maelli (talkcontribs) 12:03, 16 December 2012 (UTC)

What happened to Quip?[edit]

When I was a child in the 1970's, a device called "Quip" was heavily advertized on WBBM radio in Chicago. The device was described exactly like a Fax machine. In the eighties when Fax machines became available from other manufacturers, they were marketed as if they were a new technology that hadn't existed before, and when I do a web search for Quip, it seems to have been erased from history. The only mention I can find are in the reader comments (not the main article) on this page. From the comments, it seems that many people that don't create informational web sites also remember this brand of fax machine, and it may possibly have been around as early as the 1960's. One reader comment mentions the smell of the machine, which to me brings mimeograph technology to mind.--Drvanthorp (talk) 17:05, 13 February 2013 (UTC)

Fax confirmation[edit]

Is there a universal method to determine if a fax has been delivered? The article mentions handshakes, but a section that explains confirmation would be welcome. Fotoguzzi (talk) 05:42, 15 March 2013 (UTC)

Vague sentence[edit]

"In Japan, faxes are still used extensively for cultural reasons."

Does that just mean "because people quite like them"? Is that really a reason? - IMSoP (talk) 22:13, 5 May 2014 (UTC)

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