June 11, 2010

The Mother of All Invention

The most unsung birthday in American business and technological history this year may be the 50th anniversary of the Xerox 914 photocopier. Although it was introduced at New York’s Sherry-Netherland Hotel on September 16, 1959, commercial models were not available until March 1960. The first machine, delivered to a Pennsylvania metal-fastener maker, weighed nearly 650 pounds. It needed a carpenter to uncrate it, an employee with “key operator” training, and its own 20-amp circuit. In an episode of Mad Men, set in 1962, the arrival of the hulking 914 helps get Peggy Olson her own office, after she tells her boss, “It’s hard to do business and be credible when I’m sharing with a Xerox machine.”

The Atlantic