According to my research it was Alexander Bain who invented the earliest form of a fax machine in 1843. He worked on an experimental facsimile machine from 1843 to 1846, using a clock to synchronise the movement of two pendulums for line-by-line scanning of a message.
For transmission, Bain applied metal pins arranged on a cylinder made of insulating material. An electric probe transmitted on-off pulses then scanned the pins. The message was reproduced at the receiving station on electrochemically-sensitive paper impregnated with a chemical solution similar to that developed for his chemical telegraph.
It is a credit to the legacy of Bain’s early facsimile machine that in the high-tech world of 2010, faxing is still the preferred method of communication for many mortgage lenders.
If they need supporting documents for applications these days, some of them won’t accept scans or emails which are crystal clear, instead preferring grainy old faxes which can’t be read half the time.
Perhaps the advantage for lenders of us sending them faxes is that they can attach the fax machine to the shredder at their end, giving them the excuse of blaming their often appalling service turnaround times on brokers for not getting the relevant information to them in time.
Some lenders tell me faxes are a more trusted method of communication than e-mails. I don’t see how – if someone is going to supply a fraudulent document, what difference does it make whether it is e-mailed or faxed?
I have lost count of the times in recent weeks that I have been told by a lender that it has not received one of my faxes even though I have a sent receipt at my end, or that it is of poor quality and needs to be sent again.