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Faxing Buffalo
Business, News

Courier Express November 15, 1935

    Buffalo has the distinction of being the first city to have facilities for facsimile telegraphy, the long awaited development of the telegraph industry. The Western Union Telegraph Company opened its first regular commercial facsimile circuit between Buffalo and New York at 9 o'clock last night. And while at present Buffalo may send facsimile messages to New York, Gotham cannot send such messages to this city.

A person may now go to the main office at the Western Union in the Rand Building, ask  instructions for sending a facsimile message, and then write out a message on a typewriter within the type and frame for which the company has facilities for sending such a message.  If this form is adhered to, the message may be sent to New York and it will arrive there exactly as it has been written here, and will be delivered to the addressee in that form.

Offers Added Facilities

    The Western Union added facsimile transmission, however as a supplement to its own service of sending telegrams, said James L. Brady, superintendent at Buffalo. While the service at present is limited to typewritten messages, it is expected that the natural development of the service will mean that messages written by pen and ink may be sent in the same manner as typewritten messages.  Inauguration of the Western Union facsimile system was announced by Roy B. White, President of the Telegraph Company, as a development of much interest in the communications field.  After a number of official greetings, the new system was placed in regular use in the overnight service from Buffalo to New York.

Work Begun In 1920 

   It was not until 1920 that Western Union had any part in actual facsimile operations, and then in a limited way. In that year two Englishmen, H.G. Bartholomew and Capt. M.D. McFarlane, sent the first pictures ever transmitted across the ocean, using western union cables. The pictures were taken at the international yacht races and Sir Thomas Lipton was one of the subjects.  Other pictures were transmitted in following years and regular picture transmission over Western Union cables between New York and London was established in 1925 and has continued ever since.  A group of newspapers headed by the New York Daily News, use this system.  Its name, the Bartlane Process, was created using a part of the name of each inventor and it was patterned to coincide with the method of transmission used on the Western Union cable system.

    In 1924 and 1925, Western Union co-operated with newspaper interests in development of a facsimile system known as Telepix, for use between American cities. Slowness of the service and lack of great interest on part of the press or public resulted in discontinuance of the Telepix after one year.  Much effort and money has been spent developing facsimile methods in recent years. A trans-Atlantic facsimile service was begun in 1924, and the telephone started a telephone service in 1925.  This latter method of sending pictures, suitably adapted, is now being used by the Associated Press in a wire service by which news photos are transmitted to certain of its newspaper members.

   A year and a half ago Western Union engineers, under the stimulus and encouragement of President White, began to develop a facsimile method of transmission which would be fast enough and simple enough for regular commercial telegraph use.  The Western Union facsimile system which now has been placed in regular operation between Buffalo and New York City is the outcome of their work.  

This story continues in THE BUFFALO HISTORY GAZETTE, and answers the question, when was the "FAX MACHINE" first patented: 1843,1883 or 1903? 

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