The history of computer printers began in 1938 when Seattle inventor Chester Carlson (1906–1968) invented a dry printing process called electrophotography—commonly called a Xerox— which was to be the foundation technology for decades of laser printers to come.
In 1953, the first high-speed printer was developed by Remington-Rand for use on the Univac computer. The original laser printer called EARS was developed at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 and completed in November 1971. Xerox Engineer Gary Starkweather (born 1938) adapted Carlson’s Xerox copier technology, adding a laser beam to it to come up with the laser printer.
According to the Xerox Corporation, “The Xerox 9700 Electronic Printing System, the first xerographic laser printer product, was released in 1977. The 9700, a direct descendant from the original PARC “EARS” printer which pioneered in laser scanning optics, character generation electronics, and page formatting software, was the first product on the market to be enabled by PARC research.”
Types of Printer
Solid Ink Printers
Business Inkjet Printers
Advantage: Secure Delivery
Paper records can be anonymously delivered. Emailing a document creates a chain that shows who sent it, when they sent it and to whom they sent it. Once someone prints out a document, on the other hand, they can deliver it or not deliver it to anyone without creating a record of the delivery. This can be useful if you need to send information without having someone intercept it or without creating a record that you sent it.
Advantage: Ease of Reading
For many people, printed documents remain easier to read. The text on a printed document is, as of 2012, sharper than the sharpest display. While the iPad 3’s display renders text with 264 dots per inch, even inexpensive printers can output 600 dots per inch. Most tablet and computer displays are backlit and glossy. This makes them prone to washing out in direct sunlight and prone to glare. The printed page, on the other hand, is easy to read in anything but dark conditions.
While there are a number of variables that determine what it costs to print a document, the simple fact of the matter is that printing costs money. While the toner or ink for a black-and-white page is frequently in the range of 1 to 2 cents, you also need to pay for paper and for the printer itself. Color printing is even more expensive. Electronic documents, on the other hand, cost essentially nothing to create and to send. You could send an entire high-definition movie, which is roughly equivalent in size to hundreds of pages, over the Internet for less than the cost of printing a single color page.
Disadvantage: Environmental Concerns
Printers kill trees. On average, a smaller office with 10 to 15 employees will consume enough paper to necessitate cutting down 18 trees a year. Toner and ink are made with chemicals that can cause environmental damage. The paper and toner or ink get delivered to your office generates carbon, and the garbage gets hauled away, which generates more material in landfills and more carbon for the delivery process. Printers also consume a great deal of power, with the fusers in laser printers consuming hundreds of watts when they run.
Printer and display technologies have undergone remarkable changes since the beginning of the computer era. In this paper we trace the evolution of these two types of I/O devices, from the middle of the 1940s to the present, and show how computer system evolution has influenced the designs and technologies of I/O devices.