Johannes Gutenberg invented letterpress printing in the 15th century, the first fully functional typewriter was built by Pellegrino Turri in 1808 and the electronic copying process was patented in 1937. All these developments were important precursors to the printer as we know it today. The first blueprint for such a machine already existed in 1837. However, the machine was never built because the costs would have been too high.
On the way to the modern printer, there were many intermediate stages that were more or less successful. Some of them are still in use today.
The 50s and 60s – Early development
1957 – The IBM matrix printer – Even though the Chinese already used stamp printing to send messages and record information, printing only took on an important meaning in the 14th century. This led Gutenberg to invent letterpress printing and 500 years later the American company IBM made printing a little more accessible to the average consumer. The matrix printer was the first machine that did not rely on character sets for printing, but worked via halftone dots. These dots were pressed onto the paper via a needle. In the beginning, this type of printing was only used with typewriters. To this day, there are machines that work according to the dot matrix printer system.
1963 – Teletype Corporation inkjet printer -Inkjet printers are matrix printers in their principle of operation. The world’s first inkjet printer was developed by Teletype Corporation. The printer was used as a teleprinter and connected to mainframe computers. At the beginning of the 1970s, IBM brought an improved form of its matrix printers onto the market. These were mainly used in industry. But neither Teletype Corporation nor IBM secured the patent for the inkjet printers and these rights were awarded to HP and to Canon in 1979. These two companies are still the market leaders in this field today. Of course, the history of ink is also very interesting in this context.
The 80s and today- The road to mass production
1984 – HP ThinkJet – A revolutionary product was the HP ThinkJet. It was the first inkjet printer intended for the end customer. The target market was offices and corporations, private consumers were not yet catered for. Just under three years later, the HP PaintJat was introduced, which for the first time enabled colour printing in a compact form. With the HP Deskjet, the American conglomerate finally introduced a device that went into mass production and found its way into the home offices of Americans and the rest of the world. With a print speed of up to two pages per minute and 300 dots/inch, the printer was a sensation at the time.
1973 – Xerox Ears – Around the same time, the Xerox company started working with laser printers. After various models, which were mainly intended for industrial use, the US company was able to launch the Xerox EARS; the first laser printer available for the masses. It was not until 10 years later that HP also launched a laser printer that was suitable for home use. The HP LaserJet was offered for 3495 US dollars and was not a box-office hit.
Led printers and LCD printers – Not much has changed in the working principle since the 1980s, the devices of the new millennium are none, faster and more effective, but the design is similar. In the meantime, there are also LED printers and LCD printers, which are very similar to laser printers, but use a different printi