It all started when the United States Census Bureau needed to keep track of the population growth from the recent baby boom. In the late 1940s, a computer, called the Univac, was created to do just that. The cost of constructing this new census helper was close to $1 million. The first high speed printer was created in 1953 by Remington-Rand for the Univac.
The photocopier was a precursor to the printer. In 1938, Chester Carleton created the first Xerox machine. The word “xerographic” comes from the Greek words for “dry writing,” as the machine uses static electricity to transfer dry ink onto the page. A researcher for Xerox came up with the idea for the laser printer in 1967.
Gary Starkweather wondered if he could use a computer to generate the original work instead of a copy. Though pressured by Xerox to drop the idea, he finished the prototype covertly in 1969. The prototype was a modified xerographic copier with a laser. Light from the laser bounced off a spinning drum, creating the page. This prototype was adapted to create EARS, the original laser printer in 1971.
Later, the Xerox 9700 Electronic Printing System, the offspring of EARS, was born. The 9700 could print 120 pages per minute, making it the fastest printer of all time. However, it proved too bulky and costly for the new generation of end users. As demand for personal computers grew, so did the demand for a desktop printer.
Hewlett Packard met the demand with a new LaserJet printer that printed a mere eight pages per minute. In doing so, the toner cartridge was refashioned to allow the owner to replace it. Other early laser printers include the Brother HL2040 and the Apple LaserWriter. Although it was designed for the personal computer, the Brother HL2040 proved too expensive at $17,000. It did come with its own Xerox machine. The Apple LaserWriter was Apple’s contribution to the laser market in 1985. This was followed a decade later by the first color laser printer, also by Apple.
Aside from its regular duties, the laser printer is credited with the rise of desktop publishing. As their popularity grew, laser printers have dropped in price as well as size over the years. Laser printers are now small enough to be used in homes, offices and small businesses. Research and development into this useful tool continues as manufacturers strive to top each other. It can be speculated what laser printers may be able to do in the near future.
Jennie is a professional business consultant who aids small businesses and entrepreneurs with their marketing and advertising goals. When asked by clients which printing supplies she recommends, she doesn’t hesitate to recommend HP printing supplies and ink cartridges. More about HP ink cartridges.