SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHEILA TERRY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The pantelegraph was an early form of facsimile machine based on the 1843 patent of the Scottish clockmaker Alexander Bain. He had discovered a way to transmit a two-dimensional image as a series of electrical pulses across two wires. An electrically-conductive swinging pendulum acted as a scanning stylus by moving back and forth and line by line across a copper plate containing a raised image. This generated electrical pulses which were transmitted by telegraph wires to the receiver equipped with a similar pendulum, synchronised with that on the sending device, which could generate an exact replica of the original image. The 6-ft high pantelegraph of 1865 developed by Abbe Giovanni Caselli, an Italian priest and professor of physics, became the first practicable fax machine able to go into commercial service by overcoming the synchronisation deficiencies of Bain's design.
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