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The fax turns 50 years

Denmark's largest supplier of fax machines is not affected by age. Brother still sells thousands of faxes to particularly companies, organisations and public authorities that communicate a great deal with foreign countries.

In principle, it was invented 172 years ago in Scotland, but not until many years later – in May 1964 – the first broadly applicable fax machine appeared in the United States. Thus, the other day the fax as we know it turned 50 years.

This doesn't mean that the fax has been sent into retirement. On the contrary, Denmark's largest supplier of fax, Brother Nordic A/S, still sells thousands of faxes each year through its network of dealers throughout the country.

Brother currently has a market share of 100 percent* when it comes to the inexpensive thermal transfer fax machines, and 86.3 percent* of laser faxes. Moreover, Brother sells a large number of all-in-one printers with fax to both professional users in the business world and the public sector, as well as private users with home offices.

Denmark in the fax world top
The history of the fax can be followed in the separate text box. Many will probably be amazed to see that the phone was not invented until more than 30 years after the principle of the fax.

Today, Denmark – and our neighbours Sweden and Norway – belong the world's most fax consuming countries. In 2013, a U.S. analysis** showed that Japan has the most fax users per thousand inhabitants – more specifically 93.3. The United States has 55.3, Germany 45.6, Sweden 41.6, Denmark 39.2 and Norway 36.0 users.

Having sold its first fax machines on the Danish market in 1987, Brother's experiences confirm this:

"Through the years, many have predicted the death of the fax. However, it doesn't seem to happen right away. Our fax sales have decreased slightly, but still we predict the fax machine to be alive for many years to come," says Nordic Marketing Manager Henning Elkjaer from Brother Nordic A/S.

The business world a major fax consumer
The business community, organisations and the public sector ensure that fax machines are still going strong in small and large offices in Denmark.

Many companies use the fax for e.g. receiving orders – and when communicating with foreign countries, the paper receipt that you get from the fax is often a simple necessity.

Finally, many areas in the world are not quite upbeat when it comes to new technology, or the internet connections are not as fast as in our part of the world. In these cases, the fax may still be a good solution.

*According to analysis company DMR, market shares for Q1 2014 in Denmark.
**According to Fax87.com, August 2013.


Milestones in the history of the fax
The fax has come a long way since the mid-1900s when the first inventors began to construct letters that could be sent through wires.

Today, the fax is fully electronic, it can work with documents in colour and is handled equally well by PCs, smartphones, tablets, regular fax machines and all-in-one printers with built-in fax capabilities.

Here are some examples of the long history of the fax:

The first primitive fax-like machine was invented by the Scottish engineer Alexander Bain.
30 years before Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone. Bain got a patent for his invention in 1843.

Giovanni Casselli demonstrated his Pantelegraph which could send messages from Paris to Lyon.

The German Arthur Korn developed the world's first network in which a document was scanned by a photoelectric process and afterwards sent over a wire. Seven years later Korn's network joined Berlin, London and Paris together.

Western Union introduced a coast-to-coast "Faxcimile Telegraphy" service in the United States.

In May this year Xerox presented the world's first commercially usable fax machine in New York. It was called the Long Distance Xerography System.

The famous "red telephone" between the Kremlin in Moscow and the White House in Washington was upgraded with fax capabilities. That same year, the first computer fax – the GammaFax – was introduced.

The first fax machine from Brother was sold on the Danish market – only a few months after Brother launched its first fax in Japan.

May 2014
The fax as we know it today turned 50 years.


For more information please contact
Nordic Marketing Manager Henning Elkjaer, Brother Nordic A/S, phone 43 31 31 31, e-mail: henning.elkjaer@brother.dk