Who Invented the First Inkjet Printer? The History of Inkjet Printers

No single person can be credited with the invention of the first inkjet printer. However, we can safely say that it was invented in 1976 but did not enter the popular consciousness until 1988 when Hewlett Packard released the DeskJet Printer and marketed it like a home consumer item. It must be said, however, that buying this printer and the printer cartridges was not everybody’s cup of tea as it was priced at around $1000. A steep price indeed!

The Inkjet Revolution

If you compare the inkjet printer in use today to those that were launched some twenty years ago, you will find that they have indeed come a long way since then. Though they arrived in the stores in the 1980s; it was way back in the 1970s, that printer companies recognized the fact that the ink based printers were the way forward and this technology would be revolutionary in nature. They began the process of developing printers and printer cartridges. The initial challenge for the company was not only to concentrate on quality but also on affordability.

A Few Challenges

A major challenge faced by printer developers with regards to this type of printers was the fact that the flow of ink from the print head to the page needed to be controlled. This required cutting edge technological research not only in terms of the printers but also the printer cartridges. Initially the dried ink, clogged the printer head, and even the IBM strategy to use electrically charged droplets for coating the pages with ink was not successful and lacked consumer appeal. This challenge was tackled by two companies namely Hewlett-Packard and Canon. They introduced the inkjet printer in the market that used liquid ink, held in cartridges. These became vastly popular and this technology is still in use today.

The Inkjet Cartridges

An article on these printers won’t be complete without mentioning the role of their cartridges in the scheme of things. It is the ink cartridges that played a stellar role in the increasing popularity of these printers. Printer cartridges are the core element of each and very printer and they have also gone through a long and evolved process of development, side by side with the printers.

As can be seen, the whole process of developing a printer is long and goes through a long period of trial and error. This is one of prime reasons why so many companies have contributed to the development of printing technology.

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