HP LaserJet: First Laser Printer for the PC

Xerox invented the laser printer, but Hewlett-Packard made it a commercial success. The LaserJet, introduced at Spring Comdex 1984, used the same Canon CX print engine as Apple’s LaserWriter. Unlike Apple, HP developed its own Printer Command Language (PCL) rather than Adobe’s PostScript.

Source: HP, 1984

The LaserJet was much faster and quieter than other printing technologies of the time, and it produced better output. HP claimed it was eight times faster than a typical daisywheel printer with an eight-page-per-minute print rate.

As with the AppleWriter in the Apple market, the LaserJet led the way for laser printers to become the technology of choice for high-end printing applications in the PC market. Unfortunately, laser printers came with their own set of quirks to frustrate users, including driver and application compatibility issues. The printer destroyed in this famous scene from the movie Office Space was a laser printer.

Introduced: May 22, 1984
Original Retail Price: $3,495
Print rate: 8 ppm
Print resolution: 300-by-300 dpi

Published by

Michael Nadeau

I am the author of Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Books, 2002) and have been an editor of many technology publications including BYTE, 80 Micro, and HOT CoCo. My interest in the history of information technology is broad. I use my blogs, ClassicTech and Vintage Computer Photos, to build on the work I did for Collectible Microcomputers.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s