Today, we can only imagine what it might have been like even a few decades ago to print a large job that required a large number of copies. For many people, it is difficult to fathom having to sit next to a printer to retrieve your documents, compared with today’s technology that allows you to print from any location. In fact, nowadays, it seems inconceivable to not have printing technology that allows consumers to fax, copy, scan, and send.
For many offices, as recently as 60 years ago, printing without these technologies was a very real reality. Modern printers have a huge range of functions that make printing affordable, more convenient and making it possible for businesses and consumers alike to complete various tasks. More importantly, printers that help businesses conserve printer ink have not only made printing easier, but they have also made printing affordable.
Continue reading to learn how the modern printer has evolved and improved over time to make printing what it is today.
The Advent of the Modern Printer
While printing has been around since the Gutenberg printing press, the modern office printer made its appearance in the late 1970s. By the 1980s, you could go to any college computer lab, and you hear the loud noise of dot matrix printers printing lab reports, research papers, and essays. These printers worked by pushing small pins onto a ribbon that lay over the printer. The noise, at some point, became deafening as students hurriedly try to print their papers and head off to class.
Around the middle of the eighties, HP and Canon developed inkjet printing, which completely changed the printing landscape. Office workers around the world could actually work without the distractions that came with working in an office of dot matrix printers. This technology worked by propelling ink droplets onto paper, but it came at an astonishing cost of $1,000.
The Printer Re-Invents Itself
The laser printer came along and re-invented printing. In addition to being a quieter and more efficient way to print, manufacturers made it possible for printers to print in color. This take on the printer increased the quality of prints by passing a laser back and forth over a negatively charged drum, which uses toner powder to project text and images onto paper.
As the years have passed, the laser and inkjet printers have dominated this technology, primarily because manufacturers have slowly, but surely, integrated technologies that allow offices to perform several tasks through these devices. Businesses and consumers can complete the full menu of office tasks including scanning and sending documents through email, faxing documents, and printing images.
Variations on These Advances
In the last two decades, innovators have moved beyond focusing on integrating tasks to focusing on printers that can print more than just images and text. Nowadays, printing has advanced to the point that 3D-printing and digital printers have allowed businesses and consumers a lot more flexibility and versatility in printing. 3D-printing technology has allowed researchers and businesses to replicate multidimensional objects, and digital printing has allowed businesses to more efficiently produce mass copies of an image or text.
Perfecting the Perfect
In a matter of a few decades, manufacturers have moved us from the slow printing properties of older printers to an industry where consumers and businesses have the pick of printers that can perform any number of functions. Recent advances in printer technology have made printers more environmentally friendly while making it possible for both businesses and consumers to save money on printer cartridges. One can only imagine what the next breed of printers might do, but one thing is for sure, there will be plenty more to look forward to in the future.