Computer printer history

Updated: 02/04/2024 by Computer Hope
Computer inkjet printer

Listed below are the important events in history relating to printers, including release dates for many printer technologies.


Charles Babbage designed the first mechanical printer in the 1800s, for use with the Difference Engine that he also developed in 1822.


The typewriter was considered a precursor to printers and keyboards, was invented by Christopher Sholes in 1868.


The first high-speed printer was developed by Remington-Rand in 1953. It was designed to be used with the UNIVAC (Universal Automatic Computer).


Dot matrix printer

IBM developed and marketed the first dot matrix printer in 1957.


Hewlett-Packard got into the plotter and printing business after making its first acquisition and acquiring FL Moseley Company in 1958.


Shinshu Seiki Co., which became Epson, developed the first electronic mini-printer in 1968.


The first dot matrix impact printer was developed by Centronics in 1970.


Gary Starkweather, while working at Xerox, developed the first laser printer by modifying a Xerox model 7000 copier. Development on the laser printer was completed in 1971.


electrothermal printer

The first thermal printers became available on the market around 1972, designed for use with portable machines and in retail stores.

The HP 9866A, the first dot matrix printer from HP is introduced in 1972.


The first inkjet printer was developed by Hewlett-Packard in 1976. However, inkjet printers do not gain popularity until the mid-1980s.

IBM introduced the IBM 3800 Printing System, the first high-speed laser printer, in 1976.


Siemens developed the first DOD (drop-on-demand) inkjet printer in 1977. The DOD printer sprays ink where it is needed on the piece of paper.


Canon introduced the LBP-10, the first semiconductor laser beam printer and its first printer unit.


The HP 2680A was the first laser printer introduced by HP (Hewlett-Packard) in 1980. The printer was for office use with a price of about $100,000.


HP laserjet printer

HP (Hewlett-Packard) introduced its first laser printer, the HP LaserJet for $3,500, in 1984. The same year, Hewlett-Packard introduced the first thermal inkjet printer, the HP ThinkJet.


The HP DeskJet inkjet printer was introduced by Hewlett-Packard in 1988 and sold for $1000. It was considered the first mass-marketed inkjet printer and became a popular and widely used series of printers.

3D printer

Many modern 3D printers use a technology called FDM (fused deposition modeling), which was developed and patented by Scott Crump in 1988.


Stratasys, Inc. made available its first 3D printer in 1992, which is based on FDM (fused deposition modeling) technology, developed and patented by company co-founder S. Scott Crump.


S. Scott Crump's patent on FDM (fused deposition modeling) expired in 2009, opening the door for an open-source development community, called RepRap, to use the FDM technology. RepRap, with other commercial companies, used FDM to develop new 3D printers.

Computer History