Business in 1970 vs 2012 [Infographic]

Saturday, December 01, 2012 by The eFax Team

Since the early '70s, there have been many types of office machines that, throughout the years, have helped workers communicate with people around the corner and across the globe. The advancements in technology for office products actually enable those office workers to work from places outside of the office today. This infographic shows the differences between working in an office 50 years ago, versus working with office machines today.

Business in 1970 vs 2012 Infographic



In our daily work lives, it's easy to complain about Internet that's too slow or a printer that keeps jamming. When you think about it, though, there are countless benefits to working in 2012 as opposed to 1970.



From 1970 to today, office supplies and equipment have made a dramatic change.

1970: TYPEWRITER – In the early 1970s, typewriters were still in use. The first electronic typewriters didn't go on sale until 1978.

2012: COMPUTER/INTERNET – Even back in 1999, The Economist saw how the Internet could impact business. They pointed out that: Companies started making connections with their customers through the Internet. They were able to cut company costs. The Internet fundamentally changed the way in which businesses work. 70% of businesses today already either use or are investigating cloud computing solutions.

1970: WORD PROCESSOR – The first word processor, Wang 1200, was made in 1971. These devices let typists correct mistakes and move words around. Word processors gave the typewriter some competition.

2012: WORD PROCESSING SOFTWARE – Microsoft Office Word is the standard in most businesses. All kinds of software exists, though, including open-source programs like OpenOffice that are free. Now some suites include the ability to make presentations, spreadsheets, databases, and more.

1970: TELEX – The telex network connected businesses with telex machines across the world. However, "telex lines" could be expensive to install, and each additional message sent meant an additional charge. They often required a "telex terminal," which required a trained operator.

2012: ONLINE FAXING – Now you can communicate with other businesses from anywhere using the Internet and sometimes even your smartphone. Some plans involve paying month-to-month while some others offer monthly subscription plans.

1970: DOT MATRIX PRINTER – Dot matrix printers were made in the 1970s and were used for almost 20 years before inkjet technology replaced them. In 1970, Xerox created technology that allows printing to be done with electrostatic charge and toner.

2012: COLOR LASER PRINTER – While laser printing is still around after over thirty years, color laser printing advancements have enabled affordable units to become commonplace in the workplace. Office-friendly color laser printers create quick work of presentation materials, in house marketing products and an array of other day-to-day products that used to be sent out but now can now be created in house, such as office stationary or invoices.



These two time periods don't just differ when it comes to office accessories – workers had very different mentalities, as well.

Major labor disputes occurred in 1970. About 210,000 U.S. Postal Service employees walked off their jobs. Four railroad unions had one-day railroad strikes. Important legislation was passed in the early 1970s that tried to make working conditions better. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 allowed the Secretary of Labor to make health and safety standards in work environments. The amendment to Social Security in 1974 meant cost-of-living adjustments would be made automatically.

Since the early 1970s, many pieces of legislation about labor conditions have passed. 1983: Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act. 1988: Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. 1990: Americans with Disabilities Act. 1993: Family and Medical Leave Act. 2006: Pension Protection Act. Many laws protecting workers' rights are in use now, even if we forget about them when going about our daily routine.


Advancements over the past half century have accelerated the ways we process, store and retrieve data. With technologies we have today such as 3D printing and the ability to scan deposits from smartphones, who knows where the next fifty years will take us. It’s possible that in the near future orders for office products completed online, could include the option to send that product to 3D printers in the office that "prints" downloadable products for immediate usage!

It is these types of advancements in technologies that make it more efficient and more interesting as an office worker in 2012 as compared to being an office worker in 1970.


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