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THROWBACK THURSDAY: The Copier

(from Wisconsin NPR)

Copy machines can be found in every office, and most of us take them for granted. But 75 years ago, the technology that underpins the modern photocopier was used for the first time in a small apartment in Queens.

The core technology in the copier, later transferred to printers and scanners, has remained the same since the 1930s.

Inventor Chester Carlson used static electricity created with a handkerchief, light and dry powder to make the first copy on Oct. 22, 1938. The copier we are familiar with today didn’t get on to the market until 1959, more than 20 years later. WhenXerox ad it did, the Xerox machine prompted a dramatic change in the workplace.

The first commercial model, the Xerox 914, was bulky and cumbersome. It weighed nearly 650 pounds. It was the size of about two washing machines and was prone to spontaneous combustion.

But even literally going up in flames wasn’t enough to kill the product. In fact, it was in high demand.

“There was a distinct need for simple copying like this, and it just took off,” says Ray Brewer, historical archivist for Xerox Corp. “We sold thousands of these machines, and the demand was such that we were manufacturing them in large quantities.”

Brewer says the popularity of Xerox technology abroad inspired more clandestine uses for the copier. Some machines actually had miniature cameras built into them during the Cold War for the purpose of spying on other countries.

Author and historian Lynn Peril says the machines had to have been “fabulously liberating.”

“Oh my God, you didn’t have to work with all the lousy carbon paper,” she says. “You could just take it and put it on this glass surface and press a button and you’ve got as many copies as you wanted.

Click here to read the entire article which includes a vintage video commercial for the Xerox 914, the world’s first plain paper copier, demonstrating that the 914 could make copies even on brown wrapping paper.

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Wednesday is a Good Day to Ask for a Raise

Researchers at the University of Vermont analyzed 2.4 million blogs and internet messages to find out which days of the week we love the most by counting the number of positive and negative words used.

The findings show Sunday is our favorite day, with our worst day being Wednesday.

Wednesdays are a good day to ask for a pay rise but a bad day for driving.

In a survey of 1,500 bosses, most revealed they were more receptive to requests a Wednesday. On Mondays they are too busy preparing for the week ahead and by Thursday and Friday they are thinking about the weekend.

Most traffic accidents happen on Wednesdays, according to vehicle management firm Velo. It came to this conclusion after analyzing 55,000 insurance claims.

Read the full article and results for other days of the week here.

TIP TUESDAY: 5 Tips on Promoting from Within

  • Understand your advantage. In a small company, you’re in a better position to know what people’s abilities and interests are than in a large company.
  • Develop a nose for hidden talent. Find out what skills people use when they’re not at work and determine if those skills can be put to use in your company–in a higher position.
  • Create career paths for employees. Your people need opportunities to grow.
  • Consider the work you outsource. Can that work be brought inside, creating an advancement opportunity for one of your employees?
  • If an employee needs outside training for a higher-level job, pay for it. That’ll be cheaper than recruiting a new employee.

THROWBACK THURSDAY: History’s “Most Valuable Patent” Application Filed

Portrait

The application for what many consider history’s most valuable patent, the telephone, was filed on Feb. 14, in 1876 by Alexander Graham, even though his machine still did not work. Elisha Gray filed papers for the same device in the same office two hours later, beginning a famous legal battle, the first of hundreds that Bell fought over his invention.

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922) was born in Scotland and moved to Boston in 1872 to open a school for teachers of the deaf. He became a U.S. citizen in 1882. His early experiments included ways to improve and use telegraphy. The telegraph conveyed messages through a system of electrical sounds that, when decoded, could be translated into words. It was dependent on skilled technicians and never became a home appliance. Rather, it required you to go to a telegraph office to send or receive a message, or perhaps a messenger did this for you. Bell sought something revolutionary: to transmit not only the sound of the human voice, but audible words.

With the telephone, Bell wrote in 1878, “It is possible to connect every man’s house, office or factory with a central station, so as to give him direct communication with his neighbors.”

 

WEDNESDAY WORKFACT: Strong Hiring Forecast for 2017

by Roy Mauer, SHRM online

Click here for a CareerBuilder infographic of the information below

The national survey conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder in November and December 2016 for its annual jobs forecast for 2017 revealed that:

  • 40 percent of employers plan to hire full-time employees in 2017, the strongest hiring forecast in 10 years and up from 36 percent at the start of 2016
  • 30 percent of 2,391 hiring managers and HR professionals surveyed expect to hire part-time staff.
  • 8 percent of employers across industries expect a decline in staff levels in 2017, an improvement from 10 percent last year; 44 percent anticipate no change; and 9 percent are unsure.
  • 3 in 4 employers reported that they are in a better financial position than they were a year ago, instilling more confidence in adding people to their payrolls.
  • The top five job categories expecting an increase in head count are:
  1. information technology
  2. customer service
  3. production
  4. sales
  5. administration.

More highlights of the survey:

  • 66 percent of employers plan to increase salaries on initial job offers.
  • 62 percent rate candidates’ soft skills such as having a positive attitude and being team-oriented as very important when recruiting.
  • 47 percent expect to increase the minimum wage at their organizations.

Read the complete survey results here.