|Xerox 914 plus contemporary advertising|
Pretty much ever since human beings invented paper, they’ve wanted an easy way to copy what was written, printed or drawn on that paper. One Wednesday in September 1958 – about 2000 years after paper was invented – there was finally a solution.
The Xerox 914 was the fruit of a two-decade development of a dry copy processes called xerography, a technology that had been acquired by the Haloid Company of New York. Able to copy full-sized documents onto plain paper, the 914 was a significant technological advance over the slower, messier methods that had gone before.
Weighing nearly 300 kilograms and with a large footprint as well, the 914 was pretty big but still quite usable as a departmental copier. With an ability to copy 100,000 pages per month at 7 sheets per minute, the 914 is still pretty competitive by modern standards.
If you wanted to buy one it was phenomenally expensive at $27,500 (roughly equivalent to a quarter of a million dollars today) or apparently you could rent one for just $95 a month plus a charge for each copy made.
It has its problems though, notably paper jams could result in a small fire which later models of 914 dealt with by including a small fire extinguishers euphemistically called a “scorch guard”. Despite this the Xerox 914 was a huge success, shipping 200,000 units until the end of production in 1976. Haloid even changed its name to Xerox after its best-known line of products.
A behemoth such as the Xerox 914 is hardly a collectable item, and given that probably most of them were rented you are probably unlikely to stumble across one. But perhaps there are still a few gathering dust in basements and store rooms…
Image credit: Xerox