Xerox 914 Copier

Carroll Gantz
Balmer, James G.
Xerox 914 image--1946

The first automatic office copier to make copies on plain paper, the 914, is introduced by Haloid Xerox. A floor-mounted device, it was designed by James G. Balmer of Armstrong-Balmer & Associates, in collaboration with Don Shepardson, John Rutkus and Hal Bogdenoff of Xerox, who had developed an engineering prototype. Balmer had recently left Harley Earl, Inc., where he had been director since 1945, to establish Armstrong-Balmer & Associates in 1958. At Earl, Balmer had been involved in the Secretary copy machine designed for Thermofax and introduced by 3M in 1958, and Haloid Xerox had been impressed with the design, engaging Balmer to consult on the final design of the 914. Xerography, a process of producing images using electricity, was invented in 1938 by physicist-lawyer Chester Floyd "Chet" Carlson (1906-1968), and an engineering friend, Otto Kornei. Carlson entered into a research agreement with the Batelle Memorial Institute in 1944, when he and Kornei produced the first operable copy machine. He sold his rights in 1947 to the Haloid Company, a wet-chemical photocopy machine manufacturer, founded in 1906 in Rochester, NY. The first commercial xerographic copier, the Xerox Model A, was introduced in 1949 by Haloid, which had the previous year announced the refined development of xerography in collaboration with Battelle Development Corporation, of Columbus, OH. Manually operated, it was also known as the Ox Box. An improved version, Camera #1, was introduced in 1950. Haloid had been re-named Haloid Xerox in 1958, and, after the instant success of the 914, when the name Xerox soon became synonymous with "copy", would become the Xerox Corporation. In 1963, Xerox introduced the first desktop copier to make copies on plain paper, the 813. It also was designed by Jim Balmer of Armstrong-Balmer & Associates, and won a 1964 Certificate of Design Merit from the Industrial Designers Institute (IDI).

100 Years of Design consists of excerpts from a book by Carroll M. Gantz, FIDSA, entitled, Design Chronicles: Significant Mass-produced Designs of the 20th Century, published August 2005 by Schiffer Publications, Ltd.
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