Xerox Machine

The world’s first xerox copy, often referred to as the first photocopy, was made on October 22, 1938. This breakthrough achievement was credited to Chester Carlson, an American physicist and inventor. Using a process he developed called electrophotography, Carlson successfully produced the first xerographic copy by hand in his lab in New York City. This marked the beginning of a revolutionary technology that would later be commercialized as the Xerox photocopying machines we are familiar with today.

The Birth of Reproduction: The World’s First Photocopy

The invention of the xerox copy, also known as photocopying, revolutionized the way information is duplicated and shared. The journey of the first xerox copy is an intriguing tale of innovation and scientific ingenuity. In this article, we will explore the story behind the world’s first xerox copy and its impact on the way we document and reproduce information.

The Birth of the Xerox Copy

The world’s first xerox copy was made on October 22, 1938. This momentous achievement can be credited to the brilliant mind of Chester Carlson, an American physicist, and inventor. After years of persistence and experimentation, Carlson successfully developed a process known as electrophotography, which laid the foundation for photocopying.

Chester Carlson - Inventor of First Photocopy Device
Chester Carlson – Inventor of First Photocopy Device. Image Credits – Google.

Chester Carlson’s Electrophotography

Carlson’s groundbreaking invention, electrophotography, involved a combination of optical and electrostatic principles. His process utilized a photoconductive material, typically a sulfur-based substance, to capture and transfer images onto a surface. Through a series of electrostatic charges, the latent image would be developed and then fixed onto paper, creating an exact replica of the original.

The First Xerox Copy

Using an array of complex equipment and a great deal of human effort, on October 22, 1938, Carlson made the first xerox copy entirely by hand in his lab in New York City. Carlson invented a process he called “electrophotography”, which later became known as “xerography”. He made the first successful photocopy in his lab in Astoria, Queens, New York. The document he copied was a simple image that read “10-22-38 Astoria,” marking the date of the historic photocopy. This initial copy was a pivotal moment, demonstrating the viability and potential of the electrophotographic process. Although the process was still in its infancy, this achievement set the stage for the future development of commercial photocopying machines.

World's First Xerox Copy
World’s First Xerox Copy. Image Credits – Google.

Impact and Advancements

The invention of the xerox copy had a profound impact on various industries and everyday life. Prior to this breakthrough, information duplication was often labor-intensive and time-consuming. By providing a simpler, faster, and more efficient method of reproducing documents, the xerox copy revolutionized the way businesses, educational institutions, and individuals handled information.

Commercialization of Photocopying

It took several more years for Carlson’s invention to transform into a commercialized product. In 1959, the Xerox Corporation (formerly known as The Haloid Photographic Company) introduced the first automated dry-process photocopying machine, the Xerox 914. With this machine, photocopying became accessible to businesses and the general public, paving the way for widespread adoption and the rise of the modern photocopying industry.

Xerox 914 by Xerox Corporation
Xerox 914 by Xerox Corporation. Image Credits – Google.

Evolution in Technology

Since the first xerox copy, technology has evolved significantly. Advancements such as digital photocopying, high-speed copying, and multifunction devices have made photocopying faster, more precise, and versatile. Today, you can find a wide range of photocopying machines catering to different needs, from small office settings to large-scale commercial operations.


The world’s first xerox copy, made by Chester Carlson in 1938, marked a transformative moment in history. Through his invention of electrophotography, Carlson laid the foundation for the development of modern photocopying technology. His pioneering work revolutionized the way information is duplicated, making photocopying an essential tool for businesses, institutions, and individuals worldwide. From its humble beginnings to the sophisticated machines of today, the xerox copy continues to shape the way we replicate and share information in our modern world.


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