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Profile America —Wednesday, October 22nd. "10 - 22 - 38 Astoria." That cryptic sequence indicating date and place was the very first photocopied image, created on this date in 1938 in Astoria, New York. A man named Chester Carlson developed a method of making dry copies of documents on plain paper, known as xerography -- which we take for granted in using photocopiers today. Before his invention, copies were made either by using carbon paper when typing or by a mimeograph machine for large numbers of copies. Both were messy and cumbersome. The first commercial copiers became available in 1959. Now, 76 years to the day after the first photocopy, making copiers is a $2.2 billion a year business in the U.S. Profile America is in its17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.
Kane's Famous First Facts, 2372
First photocopy: http://www.cio.com/article/29833/Chester_Floyd_Carlson_Father_of_the_Photocopy
Inventor's biography: http://www.ideafinder.com/history/inventors/carlson.htm
2007 Economic Census data on photocopier manufacturing: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2007_US_00A1&prodType=table