Xerox was founded in 1906 as “The Haloid Company”,manufacturing photographic paper and equipment. The company came to prominence in 1959 with the introduction of the first plain paper photocopier using the process of xerography (electrophotography) developed by Chester Carlson, the Xerox 914. The company subsequently changed its name to “Haloid Xerox” in 1958. The 914 was so popular that by the end of 1961, Xerox had almost $60 million in revenue. By 1965, revenues leaped to over $500 million. Before releasing the 914, Xerox had also introduced the first xerographic printer, the “Copyflo” in 1955.
The Xerox 914 was the first one-piece plain paper photocopier, and sold in the thousands.
The company expanded substantially throughout the 1960s, making millionaires of some long-suffering investors who had nursed the company through the slow research and development phase of the product. In 1960, the “Wilson Center for Research and Technology” was opened in Webster, New York, a research facility for xerography. In 1961, the company changed its name to “Xerox Corporation”. Xerox common stock (XRX) was listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1961 and on the Chicago Stock Exchange in 1990.
In 1963, Xerox introduced the Xerox 813, the first desktop plain-paper copier, bringing Carlson’s vision of a copier that could fit on anyone’s office desk into a reality. Ten years later in 1973, a color copier followed.
In 1970, under company president Charles Peter McColough, Xerox opened the Xerox PARC (Xerox Palo Alto Research Center) research facility. The facility developed upon many modern computing methods such as the mouse and graphical user interface to create the paperless office. From these inventions, Xerox PARC created the Xerox Alto in 1973, a small minicomputer similar to a workstation and personal computer. The Alto was never commercially sold, as Xerox itself could not see the sales potential of it. In 1979, several Apple Computer employees visited Xerox PARC, interested in seeing their developments, including Steve Jobs. Jobs, and the other Apple employees, saw the commercial potential of the GUI and mouse, and began development of the Apple Lisa, which was eventually introduced in 1983 for US$10,000. It was a commercial failure. The first laser printer was produced by Xerox in 1977 when researcher Gary Starkweather modified a Xerox copier in 1971. Laser printing eventually became a multi billion dollar business for Xerox. It was known as the Xerox 9700.