How HP’s 1st ThinkJet Printer Brought Office Printing to the Masses 40 Years Ago.

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Date: Tuesday April 2, 2024 04:39:10 pm
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    How HP’s 1st ThinkJet Printer Brought Office Printing to the Masses 40 Years Ago.
    Forty years ago, the landscape of printing was forever altered by the introduction of a groundbreaking device: the HP ThinkJet printer. This remarkable invention not only transformed the way we think about printing but also made it accessible to a wider audience than ever before.

    Innovation in Ink: A Compact Revolution. The journey of inkjet printing began long before the ThinkJet, with early concepts dating back to the 1950s. However, it wasn’t until HP’s innovation that inkjet printing became a household name. The ThinkJet, a compact and affordable machine, was introduced in 1984, marking a significant departure from the bulky and impractical devices of the past.

    Affordable and Accessible: Bringing Printing Home. Measuring a mere 11.5 x 8 x 3.5 inches, the ThinkJet was designed for personal use, fitting comfortably in any home office. Priced at $495, which is equivalent to $1,478.45 today, it offered a cost-effective solution for consumers. Its ink cartridges, costing just $8, promised a yield of 500 pages, making it both economical and efficient.

    Out with the Old: The End of Dot-Matrix. The ThinkJet’s name was inspired by its ‘thermal inkjet’ technology, a serendipitous discovery made during an unrelated project. An engineer observed that electricity could cause droplets of fluid to be expelled from a heated medium, leading to the concept of controlled fluid jets. This technology not only miniaturized inkjet printing but also rendered the noisy dot-matrix printers obsolete.

    A Quiet Revolution: The Sound of Progress. Dot-matrix printers were known for their loud operation, often disrupting work environments. In contrast, the ThinkJet introduced a quiet hum that allowed for uninterrupted phone conversations, a feature highlighted by InfoWorld in 1984. This shift towards a more serene office setting was just one of the many benefits brought about by the ThinkJet.

    A Lasting Impact: The ThinkJet’s Legacy. The HP ThinkJet set a new standard for personal printing, with its superior print quality, diverse font and graphics capabilities, and low power consumption. It paved the way for future innovations, including high-quality, low-cost color printing. Today, we celebrate the ThinkJet not just as a product of its time, but as a pioneer that shaped the future of printing technology.

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