Is it possible to imagine our modern life without a copier? Billions of photocopies are made every day around the world, and it is hard to believe that the inventor of this irreplaceable device took years to launch his “brainchild” into mass production.
Chester Carlson, a graduate of the California Institute of Technology, found himself in a difficult situation: it was not easy to find a job in the United States in the thirties of the last century, the country was in a terrible crisis. With difficulty, the certified physicist was able to get a job as an assistant patent lawyer.
Carlson had to copy a huge amount of documents every day. The necessary page had to be photographed, then taken for a long time to take the picture. Unsurprisingly, the young employee had to stay late at night at work. It was then that he thought about the possibility of making a device with which it would be possible to speed up the process of making copies of documents.
Carlson made the world's first photocopy in a utility room, kindly given to him by his mother-in-law. In this shed, he worked hard on an apparatus that could greatly facilitate the work of any office worker. The first copy bore the inscription: "10-22-38 ASTORIA". This was the date and place of the successful experiment: October 22, 1938. But "Astoria" the inventor called the very room where he conducted the experiments. For the first copy of the image, Carlson used wax paper and a powder with an admixture of sulfur, which, when heated, adhered to the wax.
Carlson was able to obtain a patent for his invention only 4 years later. And then began a long and painful search for a company that could launch the copier into mass production. The young inventor stubbornly argued the need for such a useful thing, but in response he heard only ridicule. Even Linda, the wife of a young scientist, got tired of waiting for "mountains of gold" and filed for divorce.
Only in 1947 the modest company Haloid acquired the right to manufacture copying equipment. The first model came out two years later. This copying process was called "xerography", which literally translated from Greek means "dry letter".
Over time, the little-known company Haloid turned into a large corporation Xerox, whose name is still strongly associated with copying equipment, and Chester Carlson became a millionaire. Interestingly, the inventor spent most of the funds on charity.
The man who gave the world a wonderful device died in 1968 at the age of 62. He died quickly and quietly: he fell asleep during a show in one of the New York cinemas and never woke up.