The office copier turns the big 5-0!

January 22, 2010: 10:16 AM ET

Lessons from one of the earliest information technologies.

Long before digital tools such as listservs, e-mail blasts, and even Facebook enabled us to easily broadcast messages, photocopies were the most efficient way to distribute information to groups of all sizes.

If the boss needed to discuss a new company policy, workers got memos in their (physical) in-boxes or slipped under their office doors. Community newsletters, fliers for parties, and the oft-maligned Christmas letters in holiday cards were all made possible by the automated copying machine, which made its commercial debut 50 years ago

"It was a democratizing technology," says Stephen P. Hoover, vice president of global software solutions for Xerox (XRX, Fortune 500).

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Stephanie Mehta
Stephanie Mehta
Deputy Managing Editor , Fortune

Stephanie N. Mehta is the deputy managing editor at Fortune, overseeing technology coverage for Fortune. She also is a co-chair of the annual Brainstorm Tech conference, an annual gathering of tech and media thinkers. Previously, Mehta spent seven years as a tech writer at Fortune covering the telecom and media industries. She also has worked for the Wall Street Journal and the Virginian-Pilot in Norfolk, Va.

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