The Rise of the Copy Machine: 1940-1975
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On November 22nd, 1940, an obscure article in the New York Times announced “a new method of photography, in which the image is recorded electrically instead of chemically and from which prints can be produced immediately without the usual development, is the subject of Patent 2,221,776, just granted to Chester F. Carlson.”36 Whether or not any academic librarians took note of this particular event, we do not know, but even if some did, it seems unlikely that they could have foreseen all the changes that the invention would bring to their profession. The introduction of an actual commercial copy machine based on this patent was still nearly twenty years away. The Haloid Xerox Corporation did not begin marketing its 914 model until 1959.The forces that would contribute to America’s enthusiastic embrace of this new technology when it finally did arrive were surely already at work, not only in society but also in libraries. There was a desire for faster access to information and consequently for better ways of distributing that information, which in some sense can be seen as the primary focus of course reserves operations since their inception. In retrospect, the romance between the reserve room and the photocopy machine seems inevitable, even though there is little in the literature of the era that predicts it. The entire body of literature on the topic of reserves is slight during this period from 1940-1960, with barely twenty articles published in twenty
[Haworth co-indexing entry note]: “The Rise of the Copy Machine: 1940-1975.” Austin, Brice. Co-published simultaneously in Journal of Interlibrary Loan, Document Delivery & Electronic Reserve (The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc.) Vol. 15, No. 2, 2004, pp. 9-12; and: Reserves, Electronic Reserves, and Copyright: The Past and the Future (Brice Austin) The Haworth Information Press, an imprint of The Haworth Press, Inc., 2004, pp. 9-12. Single or multiple copies of this article are available for a fee from The Haworth Document Delivery Service [1-800-HAWORTH, 9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. (EST). E-mail address: [email protected]].