Where technology brought us 

Southeast National Bank
3535 23rd Ave
Moline, IL 61265

State Bank of Orion
1114 4th St
Orion, IL 61273

3900 26 Ave
Moline, IL 61265

United Way of the Quad Cities Area
3247 E 35 St Ct
Davenport, IA 52807

Bornhoeft Heating & Air Conditioning
620 15 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Dans Automotive
1504 16 St
East Moline, IL 61244

Derbytech Computer Works
700 16 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Achor Do-It Center
1505 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Bobb Chiropractic Center
813 1 Ave
Silvis, IL 61282

Ricks Lawn & Garden
1844 42 Ave
East Moline, IL 61244

Documents travel in seconds by fax

By Lydia Sage, Dispatch/Argus Staff writer

``I'll fax that to you,'' is likely heard around the world millions of times a day.

Instead of waiting hours or days for a document to arrive, people now can receive them in seconds via a telephone line or satellite.

Many people believe the facsimilie, or ``fax,'' machine is the product of more recent technology, transmitting written and picture images actually dates back to the late 1800s.

Charles Blanford, a service technician with SBM Business Equipment Center in Sterling said the ability to send facsimilies came with the advent of the telephone and telegraph.

Back then, it was called ``FM'' and generally was used by the military and law enforcement agencies.

``They've been around many, many years,'' said Mr. Blanford, who has worked in the business machines retail trade since 1965, as a salesman and service technician.

``If you think back to the old television police shows, they would always send pictures of the bad guy on some of those early machines,'' he said. ``It just took a lot longer than it does now.''

Early fax machines were large standalone units. A telephone handset was positioned to transmit the images, he said. ``The old FM's would take six minutes to send one page, but that was fast for them when they were sending a page from New York to Los Angeles,'' he said.

By the late 1970s and early '80s, technological advances cut transmission time in half. ``Instead of six minutes, that was cut down to three minutes a page. That was really super duper,'' Mr. Blanford said.

Now, state-of-the-art fax machines can transmit 12 pages of text in just over a minute, when the sending and receiving units have the same capabilities and telephone service is in optimum condition, he said.

Often, transmission problems are caused by problems with telephone lines, such as a cut line or even heavy rains, he said. ``Static on a telephone line cuts the speed, because the machine slows down to adjust for the static.''

Those problems soon may be a thing of the past, as fiber optic cables become more common and satellites are used to transmit the signals, Mr. Blanford said. ``Even I can't believe how far, we've come. The faxes will be going a lot faster in the future.''

Fax machines have become almost indispensible in every industry or professional office, he said, as the world continues to move at a faster pace every day. ``Everybody needs something now, or sooner.''

Although many personal computer systems have built-in fax capabilities, Mr. Blanford said he believes there always will be a niche for the stand-alone fax machine because it is easy to operate and reasonably priced.

Copyright 1999, Moline Dispatch Publishing Co.