The history of computer printers began in 1938, when Seattle inventor Chester Carlson (1906-1968) produced electrophotography—commonly referred to as a Xerox—which would serve as the foundation technology for decades of laser printers to follow.


Remington-Rand created the first high-speed printer for use on the Univac computer in 1953. The first laser printer, known as EARS, was created at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center in 1969 and was completed in November 1971. Gary Starkweather (born 1938) of Xerox developed Carlson’s Xerox copier technology by adding a laser beam to create the laser printer.

The Xerox Corporation claims that “The first xerographic laser printer product, the Xerox 9700 Electronic Printing System, was released in 1977. The 9700 was the first product on the market to be enabled by PARC research. It was a direct successor of the first PARC “EARS” printer, which pioneered in laser scanning optics, character generation circuits, and page formatting software.”

Computing Printers

“The very first IBM 3800 was installed in the central accounting office at F. W. Woolworth’s North American data centre in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1976,” according to IBM. The IBM 3800 Printing System was the first high-speed laser printer in the industry. It was a laser printer that could produce more than 100 impressions per minute. It was the first printer to use both laser and electrophotography.

The inkjet printer was conceived in 1976, but it wasn’t until 1988 that it became a household consumer item, with Hewlett-release Packard’s of the DeskJet inkjet printer, which cost a stunning $1000. Hewlett-Packard produced the popular LaserJet 4, the first laser printer with a resolution of 600 x 600 dots per inch, in 1992.

The History of Printing

Printing, of course, predates the computer. The “Diamond Sutra,” printed in China in 868 CE, is the earliest dated printed book known. However, it is believed that book printing began far earlier than this date.

Prior to Johannes Gutenberg (about 1400-1468), printing was restricted to a small number of editions and was almost entirely decorative, used for drawings and designs. The printing medium was carved into wood, stone, or metal, then rolled with ink or paint and pressed onto parchment or vellum. Books were largely hand copied by members of religious groups.

Gutenberg was a German craftsman and inventor best remembered for inventing the Gutenberg press, a revolutionary printing press machine that used movable type. It was the standard until the twentieth century. Gutenberg made printing affordable.

Linotypes and Typesetters

Ottmar Mergenthaler’s (1854-1899) invention of the linotype composing machine in 1886 is considered the most significant innovation in printing since Gutenberg’s development of movable type 400 years earlier, allowing users to quickly set and dismantle a complete line of text at once.

Samuel Simon of Manchester, England, received a patent in 1907 for the practise of employing silk cloth as a printing screen. Screen printing with materials other than silk has a long history, dating back to the ancient art of stencilling utilised by the Egyptians and Greeks as early as 2500 B.C.

Walter W. Morey of East Orange, New Jersey, invented the teletypesetter, which was used to set type by telegraph using coded paper tape. In 1928, he showed his innovation, and Frank E. Gannett (1876-1957) of Gannett newspapers sponsored and helped improve the method.R. J. 

Smothers of Massachusetts patented the first phototypesetting machine in 1925. Louis Marius Moyroud (1914-2010) and Rene Alphonse Higonnet (1902-1983) created the first functional phototypesetting machine in the early 1940s. Their phototypesetter projected characters from a spinning disc onto photographic paper using a strobe light and a series of optics.

MPC3503 ( rent & purchase ) (5)
MPC3503 ( rent & purchase ) (6)
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