First Facsimile Machine Invented in 1800’s

Alexander Bain, Scottish psychologist invented the facsimile process in 1843 and received a patent for “improvements in producing and regulating electric currents and improvements in timepieces and in electric printing and signal telegraphs.” The invention used two synchronous pendulums, one for transmission and one for reception, each of which oscillated over a rotating drum. A text message or image created in an electrically conductive material was wrapped around the sending drum. A needle on the sending pendulum picked up impulses only where there was conductive material. The receiving needle made marks on photosensitive paper corresponding to the signals from the sending needle. Bain later proposed the idea of scanning an image into small parts for transmission which became the basis for graphical telecommunications and television. Frederick Blakewell demonstrated a working model at the London Great Exhibition of 1851.

      1843, 1851
      Alexander Bain
      Scotland, England

Additional Information:

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