Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Chester Carlson and Xerography

Some of the basics from wikipedia:

Carlson was motivated in part by his work as a patent attorney: While doing patent work, Carlson often thought of how convenient it would be to have easily made copies of patent specifications. His job required the preparation of multiple copies for submission to the U.S. Patent Office, and they often took many tedious hours of drawing and re-typing. Photostats, while an alternative, were too expensive. Carlson knew there had to be a better way. He knew there had to be a quicker method and with time he would find it.

None of the big companies were interested in Carlson's invention: Years of work and disappointment followed, and years of trying to convince organizations like General Electric, IBM, RCA and the U.S. Army Signal Corps to invest in the invention. No one was interested.

In 1944 he finally struck a deal with Battelle Corporation, a Columbus, Ohio-based non-profit organization dedicated to sponsoring new inventions. That was the turning point. Battelle soon got the Haloid Company to further develop the concept. Haloid named the process xerography, and coined the name XeroX (as it was originally spelled). In 1961, Haloid changed its name to the Xerox Corporation.

IPBiz notes that suggesting Carlson was trying to design around Kodak's silver halide processes is like saying the Wright Brothers were trying to design around powered balloons.


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