What do Xerox, arthritis and the Smithsonian Channel have in common you ask well more than you think. On Sunday June 21 the Smithsonian Channel will air the second chapter in their series My Million Dollar Invention entitled The Vision Thing. This episode will feature Chester Carlson, the father of xerography. Mr. Carlson’s story is fascinating and demonstrates how necessity is the mother of invention. Mr. Carlson’s struggle with arthritis and copying documents at his job spurred his search for a solution that eventually led to the copier you probably have at your office or even in your home. Seventy-seven years ago the first xerographic image was produced and Xerography began. It is amazing to think how far the xerographic technology has come in that time. The Chester Carlson story will be featured in the Smithsonian show which will be aired at 8 pm ET/PT on Sunday June 21 with repeat airings at 11pm ET/PT Sunday and 6 pm ET/PT Monday June 22nd. Check your local listings for times in your area.
You can watch a sneak peek of the segment below. Through dramatization and interviews with Xerox archivists, technology engineers and academics, the Smithsonian tells the story of how the dreams of a patent attorney evolved to create the $20 billion company today known as Xerox. You can navigate over to the Smithsonian Channel webpage for more information about the show.
In 1985 Xerox Corp. donated a Xerox 914 Copier to the Smithsonian. One of the most successful Xerox products ever, the 914 model could make 100,000 copies per month. It weighs 648 pounds and measures 42″ high x 46″ wide x 45″ deep. If Carlson were still alive he might be surprised to learn his invention began an information revolution that has continued to this day, making information readily available and expanding the world’s total knowledge. Infotrends, an independent industry consultancy, estimates that over 3 trillion copies and prints were made around the world last year on products fathered by Carlson’s invention.
Enjoy the show and let us know your thoughts on Chester Carlson and his work.