3M Business Communication Products (FAX) Days According to Pete

The Machines That Made it Possible

Last Revised; October 22, 2023

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Here, I am starting a small (and unofficial) chronicle of the Business Communications Products Machines (FAX Machines) sold and produced by 3M.
It's my intent to overview some of those machines for posterity, from the view of people who dealt with them.

3M assigned a sequential internal numerical model number for each machine. Then, the marketing department of each manufacturing division assigned a sales name (often a number-name) to it for field use.
I will begin by listing some of them.
For this product line, details about the various models can be found in the anecdotes below the model listing section.

Model     Sales-Name or Number             Description

601             9600 Digital Fax machine
600AA       3M Remote Copier
600BB       3M Remote Copier
602             ????                                     A 2, 3, 4 Minute Fax Machine
603AA       Portable Remote Copier
???             Maggie (Magnavox Facsimilie Machine)
???             Complete Whisper Writer (Printer Plus Keyboard)
1445         3M Whisper Writer Keyboard
1480         3M Whisper Writer 1000 Teleprinter
???           9140 (Thomson- CFS)
???             9160
???             9165 (Made by OKI)
4000 Series             3M Linolex

Jul 12, 2016, by Paul Palmieri
Hello. I was hired by 3M BPSI here in New Haven CT in 1973 as a tech. I serviced microfilm and fax.
In the fax world, we had the Model 600AA, the 600BB which was similar and looked like the AA but the electronics were different.
The BB was also available with an auto doc feeder.

The 603AA was the small portable desktop model where one sheet at a time was loaded to tx or rx.

Then there was the "Maggie" obtained from the Magnavox corp. Xerox had the same product with their name on it, same hardware but they used different frequencies for operation.

Then the 9600 digital fax came out...looked like a dry sink. It had an auto feeder like the BB and a wet elecrostatic printer.
Every phone co switching office here in the northeast had one.

There were some other Japanese hardware fax units that we serviced but they were short lived.
All but the 9600 were 4/6 minute machines, txing or rxing a page at the faster rate of 4min, or the slower rate of 6 min.
The 9600 fax was 9600 baud, fast for it's time.
Microfilm proved to be my main line of work. I remember the 100 and 200 reader printers, the SAM, the filmsort cameras...all of it! Best, Paul Palmieri

Nov 20, 2016 by Art Ringwald
I used to service 3M fax machines. The 9600 was the first fax machine to use a digital protocol and could transmit a single page in under a minute. However, it was a proprietary protocol. When the CCITT approved the Group III fax protocol, several Japanese manufacturers started producing low cost Group III machines. 3M started selling the 9160, which was manufactured by Oki. Around 1985, 3M sold the copying and fax business to Harris/Lanier.

January 8, 2018, by Bill Farrant from Canada
I worked for 3M Canada from 1979 to 1992 and installed/serviced all of these machines.
9600 - I had a particular love for the 9600 as it was the first digital fax machine to hit the market, in fact it was the reason that 3M caught my eye when I was job hunting - I had seen an ad for it on TV and was just fascinated that a machine could automatically dial a phone number and send documents over the phone.

Here's a quick list that I can remember off the cuff -

600 - analog fax with rotating drum, could be purchased with our without a sheet feeder. Sheet feeder was model 604 if I remember correctly. Printed on thermal paper using a belt driven stylus.

601 - first digital fax machine, the 9600. A model of technology at the time. Came with a document feeder that used a small roll of masking tape to pick the paper up and feed it to a flat bed scanner. Used auto dial cards with a metal tab and check boxes to fill in with the phone number. When the feeder detected the metal tab on the card it knew it was looking at an auto dial card and scanned the sheet accordingly, reading the colored in boxes with the phone number. Printing was done with a liquid toner.

602 - a smaller, more modern single sheet machine, which loaded semi automatically. I'm quite sure it was analog, but may have had both analog and digital capabilities.

603 - a smaller portable analog machine. Used the same rotating drum for both scanning and printing. It's claim to fame for portability was that it had an acoustic coupler to put the phone handset in rather than being hardwired to the phone line.
Single sheet, each sheet to be scanned and each sheet of thermal paper for printing had to be loaded onto the drum by hand.

607 - a transmit only version of the 9600/601. There was also a receive only version, but I can't recall it's model number right now.


I know I'm still missing many of those fax machines, but I will continue to add additional machines as I get information about them.
If you'd like to contribute an article about any one of these machines, please use the contact link at the top of this page to let me know.