Chester Carlson's Vision


Enjoy 75 years in 75 seconds: a look at many Xerox milestones.

Seventy-five years ago, Chester Carlson created an easier way to duplicate information on paper. Named “xerography,” his invention revolutionized how information is shared and, ultimately, how office work gets done. Carlson’s invention also launched our company, Xerox.

Carlson’s legacy remains at the heart and soul of today’s Xerox. The genius of his invention and his passion for turning an idea into a business have been passed on to Xerox people over the 75 years since the very first xerographic copy was made.

In celebrating this 75th anniversary, we also celebrate Carlson. While tinkering in his lab in Astoria, Queens, he had one simple objective in mind: “…to make office work a little more productive and a little less tedious.” Fast forward to today: Simplifying how work gets done is core to Xerox and to the value we bring to our customers – in 160 countries and through the support of 140,000 Xerox people.



Did you know?

For 75 years, Xerox has changed the world in which we live and work in surprising ways. Here are a few things you may not know about Xerox.


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Inspired by Chester Carlson

Image Map

There's always a simpler way
This is the founding purpose of Xerox: a practical belief that the way work gets done can always be made simpler. And then even simpler. That's what motivated Carlson to take the world from the age of carbon paper to something much easier. With just a touch of a button, information was duplicated for one or for the masses. This belief in simplicity will continue to inspire our innovations for decades to come.

You don't have to be an inventor to invent
Carlson was a patent attorney, yet that didn't stop him from leading one of the biggest business revolutions in history. His example is a reminder that each of us has something to contribute. We each bring unique insights, ideas, experience and expertise that improve our daily work.

Never give up
Carlson's invention was impressive. But perhaps more important was his decades-long determination to turn xerography into a real business. Carlson "shopped" his invention to dozens of companies, including IBM and Kodak. Everyone said no – not seeing the need for a new duplicating technology. It wasn't until Carlson met Joe Wilson of the Haloid Company that he found a business partner who would share his vision and take a chance on his big idea. Carlson's courage, doggedness, healthy balance of patience and impatience, plus good, old-fashioned grit, should inspire all of us.

Collaboration makes us stronger
As groundbreaking as Carlson's initial invention was, working together with the innovators at the Haloid Company is what brought xerography to life. This reminds us that although individual accomplishment is important, teamwork, collaboration and community are what yield exponential results.

Above all, excel at excellence
As elementary as it sounds, the true magic of Carlson’s invention was that it worked. Again and again. To do so, every equation… every schematic… every nut and bolt… had to be planned, fit together and executed with precision. The Xerox brand today continues to be respected for our integrity and high standards of excellence. Our customers expect nothing less from us. And, they deserve the very best.



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@seanlahman Wow - thanks for sharing, Sean! Technology has certainly come a long way since those early days :)
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