Theory

The Creation of the Copier

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It hasn’t always been so easy to make copies. We now can just walk up to a photocopier machine and press the print button and we instantly receive perfectly replicated copies of our original. Just forty seven years ago the copy machine was a pen and some sheets of carbon paper. Instead of pushing a button you had to write and write and then write some more! Just before the 60’s this was a reality and carbon paper was a big seller. Chester Carlson, a patent attorney knew how much of a pain it was to continue rewriting everything by hand because Carlson had arthritis. Carlson had an idea of designing a machine that would automatically make copies, so he didn’t have to do all of that copying by hand.Think about doing your job without a copier. You probably will have a hard time imagining it. Did you know that most manufacturers didn’t think that a copier would be of much use? Chester tried for years to get people to catch his vision but nobody was interested. Between 1939 and 1944, Carlson got the thumbs down by many corporations, including IBM, Kodak, General Electric, and RCA.

In 1937 Chester invented a process called electrophotography. They renamed it Xerography in 1938. He figured out that if the image of an original document was projected onto a photoconductive surface, current would flow only in the areas where the light shined on it. The first copy was made with a sulfur coating on a zinc plate. He took a glass microscope slide and wrote on it 10-22-38 ASTORIA with ink. He then pulled down the shade to darken the room. He built an electrostatic charge buy rubbing the sulfur surface with a handkerchief. Then the slide was placed on the surface and a light was shined on it for few seconds. He then sprinkled lycopodium powder on the sulfur coating. Gently blowing on the surface, the loose powder blew off and all that was left was the inscription, 10-22-38 ASTORIA. 10-22-38 is the date that the first photocopy was made. Astoria was the location.
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The Birth of Xerox The company that decided to take a chance on Carlson’s dream was the Haloid Company. Haloid was a photo-paper manufacturer in New York. Guess what they came to be known as? Yes, the Xerox Corporation. In 1960 the first office copier was produced. It was the Xerox model 914. It was the first office copier that could make copies on plain paper.

Being a copier repairman for over twenty years I have seen the good copiers with the bad copiers. I began working on copiers in 1983. The copiers that I began working with were messy and they would not last long in between servicing. The prices for the machines were very high especially for higher volume copiers. There were some interesting ways of transporting the paper through the machine like the Sharp SF-740. It grabbed the paper with two gripper devices that were driven with chains. This machine fused the toner to the paper with a toaster oven type device.

Some people may even remember having to pour toner into the copier from a bottle. But today’s copiers have a cartridge system that works well. They keep most of the toner inside the copier, not on you best pair of slacks or your dress. They have rollers for fusing the toner to the paper and have very sophisticated paper feed and transport systems that help reduce jamming problems. Digital copiers are now on the market. Now you can not only copy, but print, scan and even fax with them. Perhaps the most revolutionary change in the industry is the full color copier. The sales of full color copiers have really started to explode. There are a lot of new and exciting products being introduced and the quality is really quite good. We have come along way from Carlson’s ’10-22-38 ASTORIA. I just can’t help to think what the future will bring us. What will the copier of the year 2020 look like?

Chestor F. Carlson (1906-1968). Chester F. Carlson was born on February 8, 1906 in city of Seattle. His father was a barber and they came to live in San Bernardino, California. He was a bright young man and was curious of how things worked. Carlson’s mom died when he was seventeen years old. They say that Carlson donated $100 million to charity before he passed away in 1968.

Theory

A Quick History of “The Evolution of Thermal to Plain Paper Fax Machines”

Fax machines have gone through some changes but most would agree that the biggest change has been the change from thermal paper to plain paper.

Many years ago, businesses were leasing thermal fax machines that were priced at $1,500.00 to $2,500.00. Now you can buy a plain paper fax machine for under $150.00. Times sure have changed.

Thermal fax machines were the ones with the long roll of paper and each fax would be cut to the size that is transmitted. You could make some cool banners with those things because you could set them to not cut and it would continue to spit out the paper!  They were pretty much bullet proof. The major problem was the paper. It would curl and you had a hard time working with it. If it was exposed to the sun or heat it would turn a dark black and all of the information was lost. They were very economical compared to laser or ink jet fax machines. The only supply that you were required to purchase was rolls of paper.

At the time of transformation most people didn’t rush out and buy plain paper faxes. They waited until either there fax machines went on the blink or the prices came down quite a bit. Up until several years ago you could still find a few still chugging away but now I believe they have completely vanished.
Plain paper faxes now have saturated the market and the prices have dropped so low that anyone can afford one. With rebates you may even get one for free. The only problem may be that you may not be able to afford the supplies that go into them. Laser, inkjet, and thermal transfer rolls are the options that you have. The cost per page varies but believe me when I say that the money is not in selling machines, it is in selling supplies. You can shop smart though and look at the cost per page. This is the price of the toner or supply divided by the supply yield. Spending a little more on the machine for a lower CPP can save you a bundle of money.

Some of the younger people that read this probably can’t even imagine using thermal roll fax machines.  If fact right now many people do not even use fax machines.   They seem like a dying breed in the technology of today. What does the future hold for the fax machine?  Death perhaps or a re-emergence…Nah !

Izzy Kilman

Do-It-Yourself Office, Theory

HP Laser Printers versus HP Inkjet Printers

Using the right printer for the right job is the key to effective print management.

292310-hp-laserjet-600-enterprise-printer-m601dnThese two different types of printers achieve the same thing. They both print, but they go about it in a very different manner. There are major differences in the engines that drive them and the work they are required to do. Laser printers are designed to be used in a heavy work load environment. The cost per print is much less expensive compared to Inkjet models. Laser printers use a dry mono-component toner cartridge and a laser that shoots the image onto a drum inside the toner cartridge.

Inkjet printers are designed for a different work load. They are designed more for a work station such as an individual’s desk or for low volume type work. The toner or ink is quite expensive. Most are slow, so using them in a high volume application would drive a person crazy waiting for a hundred page report. Let me say something about the cost of Inkjet cartridges. I read an article that said that Inkjet cartridges are more expensive per weight than imported Russian Caviar. Inkjets use a liquid ink that is sprayed onto the paper. They all have a scanner rail that goes back and forth, carrying the Ink cartridges distributing the ink.

I read a post that several people commented on. They said that Hewlett Packard has really gone down hill lately with the quality of their printers. They were commenting on the HP LaserJet 4, a very popular laser printer of the past. It is about ten to years old, but it is a very dependable printer. I still use one in my office!

They were comparing it to several new HP Inkjet Printers. These are completely different machines for completely different applications. If you want to compare this machine to another HP product use the HP laser jet 4250. You really can’t compare these either. The memory, speed and options are made for the latest printing applications. Remember that the HP LJ- 4 was built around 386 computers. By the way, my HP LJ-4 works great with XP.

The price of Inkjet printers is driven by consumers that want something cheap. You get what you pay for. It is the market that creates cheap Inkjet printers. They do work well, but if they break they are not designed to repair. They are known as disposable printers. Not all Inkjet printers are disposable printers. The Inkjet is really progressing and will continue to fill more of the market place. Speed has been an issue but now they have designed some that keep up with the speed of laser printers. HP color Inkjets also make terrific color prints. Even a person with a limited budget can make great presentations, photos and flyers.

When you purchase a printer, you should always consider the type of application that it will be used for. Don’t buy an Inkjet when you’re going to be printing hundreds of reports. Don’t buy a laser printer if you print two or three jobs a day. If you look at cost per print and monthly volume you can’t go wrong. Hewlett Packard printers are some of the best you can buy, but you need to use them in the proper application.

Do-It-Yourself Office, Parts, Theory

Fix Your Copier With Google!

Many problems with office equipment are universal. Each machine has its own quirks and flaws. With so much information on the World Wide Web, chances are that the solution to the problem with your copier, printer or most other office equipment will be waiting for you to find with the click of a mouse. If I have a problem that I can’t figure out or I need to know what an error code is or even a part number, I use google to find it. Google is my search engine of choice but any good search engine will do the trick. The keywords that you use to search for this information are the keys to success.

Here is an example of a problem that I had the other day. I was working on a Ricoh Fax 3310 fax machine that had a SC 544 error code. I just googled “SC 544 error” and Google came up with several results and they all were pointing to the fuser assembly. I tested the fuser and replaced the thermistor. This model won’t just reset itself even if you fix the problem and unplug it. You must use a reset procedure. I then googled “Ricoh fax 3310 reset” and again I had many results and I found the entire reset procedure. Normally I have all the service guides for each machine, but I was without my laptop and rather than go back to the office I just googled it.

Key words are very important. If you are searching for a part, using the part number as your keyword will help you come up with more accurate results. So, if I need a drum unit for a Ricoh fax 3310, use “Ricoh, fax, 3310, drum for the key words. You will have many results, but to increase the results look through those results and find the part number, “411113” then use it as a keyword.

If you’re not that mechanically inclined you can also use the web to find out important information. To see if your repair technician is in the ballpark with their estimate. Are their repairs or even their diagnosis correct? You don’t have to be a repair person to look these things up it’s so simple. Many times I’ve searched using just the make, model and error code and presto I have my answer and you can do the same. The internet is a wonderful thing!