X is for Xerox


Xerography is a dry photocopying technique invented by Chester Carlson in 1938. Here’s an interesting story about Carlson. “It was not until 1959, twenty-one years after Carlson invented xerography, that the first convenient office copier using xerography was unveiled. The Xerox 914 copier could make copies quickly at the touch of a button on plain paper. It was a phenomenal success.”

The company Xerox became synonymous with office copiers. Somewhere I recently read that government in particular was partial to having copies. For before the Xerox copier, data were stored in a single location and people had to go to that location. With the ability to duplicate the information, the individual offices wanted their own version. Many trees died.

Being the industry leader, the company became synonymous with making copies. Inevitably, this meant the term risked becoming genericized.

The Free Dictionary still recognizes the term as Xerox would have it. “A trademark used for a photocopying process or machine employing xerography. This trademark often occurs in print in lowercase as a verb and noun.” Xerox can seem rather pedantic in this process. I dare say they would hate the word’s use as Xeroxing DNA as this article on Polymerase Chain Reaction does.

I can’t help but wonder how many Xeroxing policies actually involve actual Xerox machines.

Xerox logos over the years
Xeroxing quotes
Video: Writing Xerox in Chinese symbols – looks more like writing “copying” in Chinese.
Video: The Xerox Star 8010 graphical user interface (or GUI) presented by Xerox graphical interface designer Dave Smith in the 1981-82 time frame.
The final of the World Championship Xeroxing, held in Roelofarendsveen, Holland

For ABC Wednesday.


Xerography is a dry photocopying technique invented by Chester Carlson in 1938. Here’s an interesting story about Carlson. “It was not until 1959, twenty-one years after Carlson invented xerography, that the first convenient office copier using xerography was unveiled. The Xerox 914 copier could make copies quickly at the touch of a button on plain paper. It was a phenomenal success.”

The company Xerox became synonymous with office copiers. Somewhere I recently read that government in particular was partial to having copies. For before the Xerox copier, data were stored in a single location and people had to go to that location. With the ability to duplicate the information, the individual offices wanted their own version. Many trees died.

Being the industry leader, the company became synonymous with making copies. Inevitably, this meant the term risked becoming genericized.

The Free Dictionary still recognizes the term as Xerox would have it. “A trademark used for a photocopying process or machine employing xerography. This trademark often occurs in print in lowercase as a verb and noun.” Xerox can seem rather pedantic in this process. I dare say they would hate the word’s use as Xeroxing DNA as this article on Polymerase Chain Reaction does.

I can’t help but wonder how many Xeroxing policies actually involve actual Xerox machines.

Xerox logos over the years
Xeroxing quotes
Video: Writing Xerox in Chinese symbols – looks more like writing “copying” in Chinese.
Video: The Xerox Star 8010 graphical user interface (or GUI) presented by Xerox graphical interface designer Dave Smith in the 1981-82 time frame.
The final of the World Championship Xeroxing, held in Roelofarendsveen, Holland

For ABC Wednesday.

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