An overview of the history of major developments in fax machines is presented. Fax inventors and entrepreneurs also competed with established and new alternatives for transmitting information: the telegraph, telephone, letter, telex, express delivery, and finally e-mail and the Internet. These served as benchmarks for users to decide whether to use facsimile. A functioning system was only the first step to success. Fax machines also had to prove fast, reliable, comparatively easy to maintain and operate, and financially feasible. In the mid-1960s, American and Japanese firms brought facsimile out of its niche markets and began promoting it for general business purposes. Three factors explain the success of fax after so many false starts. New innovators, like Xerox and Graphic Science, changed the dynamics of the fax world, creating new excitement.