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A Brief History of HP
Date: February 10, 2010
Silicon Valley, CA -- Most anyone who has used a computer has probably come across an HP printer at some point. But how did that occur? Outlined below is a brief history of how HP moved out of a garage and into everyone’s homes.
HP was begun by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard (hence the HP) in 1939. The company name was the result of a coin flip to determine whether the name should be Packard-Hewlett or Hewlett-Packard. Dave Packard reportedly won the coin toss, but still chose Hewlett-Packard as the name. They had an initial capital investment of $538 and their original product was actually an audio oscillator. Working out in Palo Alto, CA, they were “discovered” by Walt Disney himself who purchased several of their audio oscillators for the very famous Disney animated feature, Fantasia.
HP certainly did not invent the ink jet printer, and in fact, there is no single manufacture that can claim to be the true inventor. The transition into printers was more of a result of changing tides in the ever-competitive business world than anything else. It was 1978 when they first began the research into inkjet technology. The models that existed back then were very large and not really designed for document printing. HP began to make inkjet and laser printers back in 1984 designed for offices. The first model released by HP was known as the ThinkJet. The ThinkJet was superior to anything else on the market at the time in all aspects, especially in cost and print quality. It was 1990 when the company turned their focus to the consumer and developed both PCs and printers with them in mind.
The dominance in printing has continued for the most part, even to today, but with competition stiffening, HP is at a crossroads with printers versus PCs. They have, however, established themselves as leaders in quality, reliability and affordability. The garage where it all began is still standing today and has been declared a historic landmark in the state of California (Historic Landmark No. 976) and named the Birthplace of Silicon Valley.
BY ADAM HAIGH, Editor