HP Is possibly the most well-known and iconic printing brand in the industry, like Heinz to the sauce world, HP dominates shelves and offices around the world with a staggering 41% market share.
But you might find yourself thinking… why HP? Is it their secret formula for printing, is it their superior marketing skills or is it their competitive prices? At TonerGiant, we’ve watched HP growing over the past 10 years and understand this isn’t a one word answer. In this article we will talk about the how HP have advanced through the decades, the innovations they have produced and how they have reached the top of the food chain in terms of printing technology.
Where did it start?
Strictly speaking HP started in a garage. But not any old garage, it was the garage of two electrical engineers from Stamford. Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett started their joint venture in the 1930’s with a garage, drill press and $500. Their first invention was the he resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, dubbed the HP 200A. Far from a Laserjet, the 200A was used to test sound equipment.
HP only entered the printing arena in the 1980’s after their debut in computingtechnology was made. Their first steps into the market started with noisy, slow dot-matrix printers including the HP 2932A shown below.
The dot-matrix printing technology works using an alignment of pins and a single ribbon. The ribbon gets stricken between the pins and paper creating characters with tiny dots. Simple and effective printing technology, here’s more on how a dot-matrix works.
HP quickly moved onto thermal inkjet printing with the 1984 release HP ThinkJet, short named from thermal inkjet. A fast step up from the dot-matrix printers, HP eradicated the cumbersome noise of the HP 2932A with a high quality, low cost personal printer that outperformed the dot-matrix in every inconceivable way.
After the Thinkjet came the HP LaserJet this was the first desktop laser printer that was made readily available to the public and was the first desktop printer that produced documents fast with a high quality and virtually no noise. This was also the first printer to use a disposable ink cartridge capable of printing up to 3,000 pages at roughly 8 per minute.
HP LaserJet was again a new method of printing with performance in mind, now using toner cartridges the LaserJet’s contains an internal LED light that produces a series of varying voltages to statically charge the photo conducting drum and the toner then sprayed on. A whole new concept from InkJet printing the LaserJet’s are particularly handy for office use with high capacity toner cartridges and pure speed in high demand.
After HP discovered the wide open market in printing innovation, the ball really began rolling with the increasing demand for convenient and personal desktop printers with disposable cartridges. The first mass-market InkJet printer from HP was called the DeskJet, because that’s exactly the market it was aimed at. The DeskJet offered a much better price than impact printers like the dot-matrix but with much better quality, reliability and practicality. The most significant change of this printer to the Thinkjet was the disposable print heads that added yet more reliability. Having print heads built into disposable cartridges gave the HP DeskJet the ability to print on the same high quality throughout its full lifetime. Print heads of old machines tended to clog and need replacing every so often which caused a nuisance, print heads inside cartridges was another one of HP’s innovations which changed printing technology in the future.
In the year that HP started recycling cartridges, it also produced the colour printing revolution with the HP DeskJet 500C in 1991. The use of colour ink cartridges again changed the market for printing and mono printing became a thing of the past. Affordable, practical and now in colour HP was dominating the market in style which continues throughout the next 23 years.
From this printer, the cartridges we know and see today started to take shape. No painstaking refilling printers or messing around in the heart of the machine, simple and effective transferal of one ink cartridge to another.
HP printers today, technologically make their predecessors look prehistoric.With more computing power that the best super computers 10 years ago, HP’s of the new can print high res imagery, scan, fax, copy, connect to the internet for a low cost and do this at incredible speeds. What will HP invent in the next 10 years… We can’t wait to find out.