The humble photocopier might seem like a simple office machine, but it’s actually packed with fascinating history and surprising facts. From its origins to its hidden capabilities, here are five things you probably didn’t know about the photocopier:

1. It wasn’t always called a photocopier. Back in the day, it was known as a xerographic duplicator, a reference to the process of using xerography (a dry printing technique) to create copies. The term “photocopier” didn’t become widely used until the 1960s.

2. It’s an invention born out of frustration. Chester Carlson, the inventor of the photocopier, conceived the idea while working as a patent attorney and struggling to keep up with the tedious task of copying documents. He envisioned a machine that could quickly and easily reproduce any printed material, and eventually brought his vision to life in 1938.

3. It helped make Disney’s “101 Dalmatians” possible. In the late 1950s, the Haloid Corporation (later Xerox) provided Disney with seven color copiers, which proved instrumental in animating the film’s hundreds of Dalmatian puppies. This marked a significant step forward in the use of color copying for large-scale projects.

4. It almost sparked office fires. Early photocopiers used flammable materials, leading to several fire incidents. Thankfully, safety improvements were implemented over time, making modern photocopiers much safer to use.

5. It’s not just for copying paper. Modern photocopiers are capable of much more than just duplicating documents. They can scan documents to digital formats, print from various devices, send faxes, and even staple and fold documents automatically. These multifunctional machines are essential tools for modern offices.

So the next time you use a photocopier, remember that it’s a machine with a rich history and surprising capabilities. It’s not just a tool for copying papers; it’s a testament to human ingenuity and its impact on the way we work.