The Western Union DeskFax

This device, manufactured for Western Union by Seeburg, was used to send and receive telegrams from a customer location to Western Union's nearest office. It was not used for sending fax transmissions between cutomer locations. It would be connected to a dedicated line and there was no facility for dialing or directing calls to or from another location.

(Click on each image for a higher resolution view.)

External overview of the Western Union DeskFax. The scribed line and arrow on the drum indicate how to align the telegram page for transmission, or thermal paper for reception.


Similar angle with the top removed. The scanning lanp, painted black except for a small aperature, is visible in front of the transformer at the upper right.

Overhead view. The chopper disk which produces the modulation frequency for the image signal is clearly visible in the center. The drive motor is at lower left. The blade switch extending from the motor to the drive shaft produces the horizontal sync pulse with each rotation of the drum.


Close up of the optical path for transmission. The lamp, center right, shines through a condenser and focusing lens (with springs, aiming to the lower left) to produce a spot of light (not visible) on the drum. The light reflects from the paper on the drum and through an objective lens (with one spring, aiming up) where it comes to a focus in front of a pinhole (just visible above the spring). Light from the pinhole passes through the spinning chopper disk and on to the photocell, mounted horizontally inside the black twist-lock shield.

View of right side with Seeburg verbage visible. Above that, the drive motor and horizontal sync pulse-generating switch riding the drive shaft.


View of top of the case, with instruction card.

COPYRIGHT © 2006 David Breneman