1843 - late 2000s
It's hard to believe that fax machines have clung to the bottom rung of the office tech ladder for as long as they have. Although facsimile machines aren't quite dead, they are certainly a dying breed, at least compared to the technology's peak of popularity in 1997 when 3.6 million of the loud, bulky machines were sold. Faxing was perfected to near-modern standards in the early 1900s, but the technology was so expensive that it was out of reach for most businesses until the 1980s. Today, services like FaxZero, launched in 2006, allow anyone with an email address and an internet connection to send faxes for free, which doesn't bode well for the future of the fax machine. U.S. sales of fax machines fell by more than half from $181 million in 2005 to $70 million in 2010.