Brief History of the Xerox Company

In 1906, the Xerox Company was founded in Rochester, New York. First known as The Haloid Company, it specialized in manufacturing photographic equipment and paper. It became “Haloid Xerox” in 1958 and then “Xerox” in 1961.

Its name is so ubiquitous that to “Xerox” something has become a verb and part of American vernacular instead of just a company name. And in fact, its claim to fame is as the manufacturer of the first plain paper photocopier, introduced in 1959. By 1961, Xerox had made almost $60 million in revenue, and by 1965, revenues jumped to over $500 million. Its burgeoning profits were very welcome news for the investors who had believed in and helped finance the research and development of the product in question, which finally made them wealthy. In fact, some of them became millionaires.

Xerox introduced desktop copying in 1963, laser printing in 1969, and color copying in 1973. However, its product line didn’t just stop there. In 1970, it opened a new research facility in Palo Alto, California and developed such innovative products and techniques as the graphical user interface and the mouse. However, its developments remained focused on its basis for household recognition, Xeroxing — that is to say, photocopying.

To that end, after a brief foray into computer products that weren’t particularly successful, Xerox returned its focus to photocopying and improving design and quality of its product line in the 1980s and 1990s. It regained a technical lead over competition by revamping its product line to include high-end laser printers with scanners attached that could be connected to computer networks. This gave its customers ease of use by giving them a complete service in regard to document handling, including user support, configuration, supply and maintenance.

An acquisition of the Tektronix color printing and imaging division in Wilsonville, Oregon further gave a Xerox of leading edge with its new focus on the Xerox Phaser product line and its printing technology in solid ink.

New lease on life

As of 2000, Xerox completed its turnaround and is once again a solidly established company with a leading edge in the marketplace. Xerox continues its dominance in the photocopy and document-managing sector of the industry with its current line of printers. Currently, the major players in the photocopying and printing sector include printers that function in multiple ways, Xerox Phaser printers, photocopiers, and new workflow software under a new strategy called “FreeFlow.” FreeFlow in particular has brought Xerox into the graphic arts market and the print industry. The company has also begun to sell selling digital scanners and printers.

In addition, it continues to sell the “legacy” products that made it a household name — but those, too, have been revamped for the 21st century. Xerox still specializes in printer sales, selling both black and white and color printers. It also sells digital presses (the newest, the Xerox iGen 4, was launched in May of 2008).

It also continues to sell professional printers, black and white copiers and fax machines, among other products. Xerox has also recently branched into selling office supplies.

What’s perhaps most notable about Xerox, though, is that its products cover the gamut, from commercial to home use. Several of its products, for example, are priced for the average consumer and yet produce high-quality results regardless. For example, the Phaser 6110MFP is priced quite reasonably for its abilities, with some models under $600. Various Phaser models include the ability to print, copy, fax or scan; another model copies, prints or scans. Both will do so in either color or black and white. Put very simply, this is very high quality for a very reasonable price.

In conclusion, Xerox is a company that’s been around for more than a century. It revolutionized business with its ability to inexpensively and quickly make copies, and has since gone on to become so ubiquitous that its name has become part of the vernacular. It remains top-of-the-line in the 21st century as it adjusts its product line to meet the changing needs of consumers and businesses alike.

Ed Terran

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