06.12.2012 05:49 PM

Actual question by Son Three, on way to lacrosse practice

Son: Daddy?

Me: Yes, buddy?

Son: What is a fax?

Me: [Long, shocked pause.] Seriously?

Son: Yes, what is it?

Me: Wow. Well, um, it’s an old thing, I guess. Sending papers through phone lines. Like an email, but with paper. We did it in the old days.

Son: Okay, thanks.


  1. Philippe says:

    Lol.. I was just thinking about how ridiculous I felt as I was faxing something to a bank (Banks still use FAXES!!!) last week. It and the blackberry are about to join the typewriter and the in the tech cemetery.

  2. Bubba says:

    Warren – check out the sycophantic colum by Steve Paikin in today’s Citizen. No agenda there people, just keep moving along.


  3. Pat says:

    Actually just told by an editor from local (fairly large) newspaper that the best way to reach them is via fax… when you get 1000 emails a day, the begin to blur, but you remember the one fax you get.

  4. james Smith says:

    I was asked recently for my FAX number, I replied : “Don’t have one, don’t use coal to heat the parlour or run the horseless carriage either”.
    However; I’m old enough to remember asking people: “Do you have a FAX machine?”
    I still have a typewriter though.

    • MCBellecourt says:

      Heh, I got my last job with a resume typed with an old PICA machine (lol).

      Less than 9 years ago.

      • pomojen says:

        I think that actually counts as hipster-retro vs. old. Did you know you were that cool? Extra points if you didn’t. 😉

  5. JenS says:

    I recently explained to my children what a “water bed” was.

  6. Sean says:

    I applied for a new job the other day. The company required CV / Resume by snail mail only. This really surprised me. This is the first time I have actually addressed an envelope in years, maybe even a decade. I actually had to ask the mail man if it was done correctly.

    • CQ says:

      I (twice) called an East Toronto company, a sizable U.S. branch office, and received that same response. The first time I thought it was just a ‘snitty’ person answering their phone.

  7. Derek Pearce says:

    Uh oh, I’m going to get a compulsion to collect old fax machines now like I already have with rotary dial phones. I have a fondness for rotaries and have about 30 of them in many different colours from the 1920s-70s. (A few pushbutton, Mickey Mouse, Garfield and Ronald McDonald ones too). Don’t get me started on how faxes are now vintage!

  8. Olmanhall says:

    Derek- There was a machine that pre dated the fax and was considered very high tech during the middle 1970’s. I can’t remember what it was called but a document to be sent was placed on a drum that spun and data was sent over the phone line. GM dealers used it to submit their daily parts orders among other things. If you ever see one you’ll want two! Partsmen of the day considered it a tool of the devil.

  9. JamesHalifax says:

    I remember the good old days when Fax’s were popular. My older sister had a fax machine in her home, and while I was away overseas my mother told me should would go over to my sisters house and fax me a letter and some pictures of my new nephew instead of sending it through the mail.

    Imagine my reaction when the fax machine spit out a piece of paper…with the residual image of an envelope on it.

    Moms…gotta love ’em.

  10. Ian M says:

    Please raise your hand if you ever used a Telex machine for business correspondence.

  11. bluegreenblogger says:

    LOL, yeah, the Telex, I remember my Dad had one installed in his offices in the early seventies, because he was starting to do business overseas. The damned thing was about the size of a large desktop, with all kinds of levers, and took up about 20% of the receptionists workspace.

    Faxes suck though. I remember some years ago I had to recover some old correspondance, including a bunch of orders I had received by fax. They all came in on the old thermal imaging paper, and of course after 3-4 years all I had was a filing cabinet full of blank pages. (They fade over time). It made the job of collecting data a whole lot more difficult.

  12. Derek Pearce says:

    My dad had a fax machine in his home office with the looooonnnggggg thermal paper scroll in the late 80s to mid 90s. The paper would be piled up in one long folded-over-and-over on itself heap on the floor by evening.

  13. Sb says:

    You shall wear your trousers rolled.

  14. dave says:

    Ok…I will see if I can one up on this.
    I remember when I was in elementary school that there seemed to be some controversy about allowing us to use ball point pens, rather than the pens with the removable nibs. We each had a small jar of ink in the ink jar slot on our little wooden desks We kids, the front line workers, were concerned about what might happen to the ink jar slots. We heard that some Grade 7 kids suggested using them for ash trays. I knew I would miss those nibs, though. A guy could pinch off the two sharp writing ends (where the nib hits the paper), hit the nib with a rock to crack it slightly, slip into the crack a paper tail, and have a dandy dart.Those darts could stay on a classroom ceiling for a long time.
    But, ball point pens overwhelmed all that…technology renedered dart throwers obsolete.

    But what we found could be done with ball point pens was…ah…thanks for the memory.

  15. Eric says:

    A couple years back I snapped a photo of my nephew. He promptly grabbed the camera to take a look and I had to explain to him about 35 mm film and the joy or dread of waiting to see if the picture came out, and sitting on the bench in front of Black’s opening the envelope.

  16. KBeardsley says:


    I actually explained a fax as a “long-distance photocopier” to my stepson a few years ago; that seemed to make sense to him. Photocopiers might be older than fax machines, but they don’t seem to be as obsolete.

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