Electrophotography, or xerography, was Invented by Chester Carlson in 1938 using an originally cumbersome dry photocopying process. Awarded a patent in 1942, it was later renamed to xerography by the Haloid Photographic Company (later Xerox Corporation) who had agreed to jointly develop a commercial product with Carlson. The new name was meant to differentiate Xerox’s products with competitors and to emphasize it didn’t use any liquid chemicals.
Carlson’s method combined electrostatic printing with photography but it was tedious in that it used flat plates and was mostly a manual process. It would take another 18 years for a fully automated process to be developed with the breakthrough of using a cylindrical drum instead of plates. This would lead to the first commercial copier, the Xerox 914.
Photocopying and the xerography process launched a million scanners, printers, and copiers decades later into the present day and is still in use in most major photocopiers as well as laser and LED printers.