Oct. 29, 2019. By Shane O’Brien
A portion of 37th Street has been co-named Chester Carlson Way in honor of the co-founder of Xerox who pioneered modern photocopying in Astoria more than 80 years ago.
The co-naming ceremony was held on Friday, Oct. 25 on the corner of 37th Street and Broadway, where the new street sign is located. Council Member Costa Constantinides hosted the sign’s unveiling.
Carlson rented a room at 32-05 37th St. in his mother-in-law’s house, which has since been demolished. He transformed that room into a makeshift laboratory where he developed the process of dry photocopying, which for the first time didn’t rely on liquid chemicals to make a duplicate.
On Oct. 22, 1938, Carlson successfully photocopied the words, “10.-22.-38 ASTORIA” using his new technology.
Carson’s technology eventually led to the invention of the Xerox 914, which in 1959 became the first commercial photocopier.
Carson died in 1968 and didn’t remain in Astoria as Xerox developed deeper ties with Rochester, New York and Silicon Valley, California. However, his first photocopy was arguably one of his most significant.
Constantinides said that Carlson’s invention had placed Astoria at the front of the technological revolution.
“Astoria may have changed in the 81 years since it was Xeroxed into history, but today we paid permanent tribute to the transformation that started right here in western Queens,” Constantinides said.