Printers


Inkjet Selection:

1) ThinkJet (1984)
2) QuietJet (1986)
3) QuietJet Plus (1986)
4) PaintJet (1987)
5) DeskJet (1988)
6) 3396A Integrator (1988)
7) DeskJet Plus (1989)
8) DeskWriter (1989)
9) PaintJet XL (1989)
10) DeskJet 500 (1990)
11) DeskJet 500C (1991)
12) PaintJet XL300 (1992)
13) DeskJet 550C (1992)
14) DeskJet Portable (1992)
15) DeskJet 520 (1994)
16) DeskJet 560C (1994)
17) DeskJet 320 (1994)

 

HP introduced its first inkjet printer (The ThinkJet ) in 1984. HP invested heavily in inkjet printing. Almost all of the breakthrough technology was in the disposable printheads, which included both the ink reservoir and printing substrate. The ThinkJet was a successful product, but it had several limitations. Like the laser printers, it took HP three years after the introduction of its first machine to introduce the "breakthrough" product. With inkjet printers, that product was the DeskJet in 1987. The DeskJet had a resolution of 300 dpi (same as a laser printer), printed on plain paper, and had a cut sheet feeder.

HP dominated the industry early on. In the early 1990s, inkjet printer sales started a dramatic growth that would last over ten years. In the mid 1990s, HP began losing ground to competitors as it fell behind in the "dpi" specification race. Competitors offered inkjet printers with higher resolution, which sometimes had better print quality and sometimes not.

In the mid-1990s, the pricing model for the industry changed in a manner that was new to the computer industry. The printheads made by all industry players were effectively proprietary; they only worked on the printers from that manufacturer. Due to patent protection (and highly advanced physics and chemistry), these printheads were almost impossible to "clone". The manufacturers all implemented "product line" pricing regimens where the profitability of the printers and their consumables were considered together when setting the price for each. The vendors, including HP, began offering very low prices on the printers themselves in the knowledge that the profitability derived from the lifetime of printheads sold onto that machine would make up many times over the lower profit made on the initial sale of the printer. This is also referred to the "razor and razor blade" pricing model. It enabled the manufacturers to sell high volumes of printers by offering extremely low prices. The high installed base of those printers generated enormous profits in printhead sales.

Be sure to visit our Supplies and Consumables Catalogs for part numbers and information on all the media, print cartridges, fonts and accessories available for these products.

Collector's Notes:

After sitting unused for a few months or longer, most older inkjet printers won't print properly. This is usually caused by dry ink obstructing printhead contacts and clogging printhead nozzles. Cleaning printhead contacts is fairly easy. Just dip a cotton bud into isopropyl alchohol and wipe accross the contacts on the printhead and the contacts on the print carriage. You may need to do this a few times to get the job done. Unclogging the printhead nozzles is a lot trickier, but possible under tightly controlled conditions. We do not recommend you attempt this unless you have an industrial oven and adhere to strong safety procedures. We have succeeded in unclogging old printheads by wrapping them in flameproof material and placing them in an oven for about fifteen minutes at 100 degrees Celsius. It is often necessary to repeat this procedure several times to get the ink flowing again.


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