— Submitted by Christine Winter, Xerox public relations intern

“There she is in all her pride and glory,” gasped one Xerox retiree as she approached the Xerox 914 on display in the lobby of the Gil Hatch Center for Customer Innovation. “That’s my baby.”

The woman, probably in her late 70’s, was one of over 100 retirees and their guests that joined Xerox CEO Ursula Burns and Xerox 914 Chief Engineer Horace Becker to celebrate the golden anniversary of the first, automated plain-paper copier. Xerox introduced the device that revolutionized the way information was shared around the world exactly 50 years ago.

I had the privilege of sitting on the planning committee for the reception and greeting the many people who contributed to the successful launch of the Xerox 914, which would change how business was done in offices small and large. Past Xerox technicians, engineers and testers told stories and shared memories as they rustled through old photos. Some even brought their own. I felt proud to be a part of a great celebration, and a great company.

After mingling and posing for photos with retirees, Ursula stood at a podium in the production showroom for opening remarks. “We honor you and your families today for your sacrifices and perseverance.” She continued, “To the remarkable ingenuity and creativity of Chester Carlson, who invented what came to be called xerography. To the equally remarkable, risk-taking envision of Joe Wilson, who bet the fortunes of his family business on an idea that no one else wanted. And, to the men and women of Haloid and Xerox whose sacrifice and courage brought the 914 to market.”

Proud tears turned to smiles when Ursula gave Horace the floor, who opened with a sarcastic plea to his fellow retirees to “get back to work” because they left Ursula a rather large corporation and “she could use some good engineers.” But the best moment was when he called on the crowd to “take the time to go around and see what you helped launch.” “I want you to see why you should be proud. You didn’t just come to work everyday. You launched a means of communication that made it possible for the world to get ahead.”

The Xerox 914 has spawned decades of Xerox innovation and leadership. Thank you to those who made it possible.  To view photos and videos from the event, visit our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#/XeroxCorp?v=photos

Christine Winter, Xerox public relations intern