Last week we looked at the history of the HP branding & logo. Today we're going to look into the past once again, but this time we're focusing on HP printers. So let's go all the way back to 1984 when HP released the two first printers of what became two very successful product lines.
First off we have the HP ThinkJet personal printer. It was the first of the personal inkjet printer of its kind and it went on to conquer the personal printing market, leaving older printers like the dot matrix, behind in the dust.
The invention was thought up accidentally and while larger scale inkjet technology did exist for industrial use, HP thought that they could make the technology smaller and more accurate and revolutionize the printing industry.
The printer itself was superior in most ways to its printing competitors. It was faster (it could do about 150 characters a second), better quality, cheaper to print with, quieter, has lower power consumption and had was compatible with most personal computers of the time. It was all this combined that made the inkjet truly popular, and the basic technology is still used today in all of the HP inkjet printers.
The first HP laser printer and the first laser printer of this kind to hit the market. Also released in 1984, HPs previous experience with working on laser technology for Canon combined with their new-found knowledge of inkjet technology allowed them to create a laser printer that would be both more affordable and smaller, making it the perfect size for professional and personal use.
Again they had bettered their competitors and made a printer that was superior in quality, speed and price. The LaserJet printer was priced at about $3,500, which was a huge drop compared to other laser copiers and printers on the market at the time.
Beween the ThinkJet and LaserJet, HP had conquered the market and revolutionized the technology. One thing that helped was the fact that both printers had a superiority over previous printers when it came to printing graphics and font variations. Both printers we're truly perfect for office even personal use.
Released in 1988 after the success of their previous inkjet printers, the Deskjet was created as a separate line of new and improved inkjet printers. With the printer only costing around $1000 on release, and then dropping in price to around $350 by 1993, the HP DeskJet printers became a truly affordable option for home users.
The printer used ink cartridges just like the ones we use in modern day printers: disposable ink cartridges with the print head built in, meaning that every time a new ink cartridge was installed, the print head was also being replaced, which allowed a constant high quality of printing.
In 1994, HP released a printer upgrade that allowed colour printing, again revolutionizing the home printing market. Again, colour printing was already available prior to this, but this new addition to the HP range made colour printing in the home a norm.
It was the three printer ranges we have talked about today that evolved into the products that most of us use today. While there have been many changes and additions such as in-built scanners, quality improvements, WiFi capability, duplex printing, etc; the technology behind it all remains pretty much identical to those very first HP printers.
All images featured in this post are edited versions of images found it the the HP Virtual Museum (Check it out, you can have a look at a lot of past HP products).