Device for the transmission and reproduction of documents by digitized signals sent over telephone lines. Fax machines scan printed text and graphics and convert the image into a digital code: 1 for dark areas, 0 for white areas. The code is transmitted through the telephone network to similar devices, where the documents are reproduced in close to their original form. Though the concepts for fax technology were developed in the 19th century, widespread use did not occur until the 1970s, when inexpensive means of adapting digitized information to telephone circuits became common.

Variants of FAX

fax in full facsimile

This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
For the full entry on fax, visit Britannica.com.

Seen & Heard

What made you look up fax? Please tell us what you were reading, watching or discussing that led you here.