Skip to comments.Gary Starkweather, Inventor of the Laser Printer, Dies at 81
Posted on 01/20/2020 10:00:05 AM PST by oh8eleven
Mr. Starkweather was working as a junior engineer in the offices of the Xerox Corporation in Rochester, N.Y., in 1964 several years after the company had introduced the photocopier to American office buildings when he began working on a version that could transmit information between two distant copiers, so that a person could scan a document in one place and send a copy to someone else in another.
He decided that this could best be done with the precision of a laser, another recent invention, which can use amplified light to transfer images onto paper. But then he had a better idea: Rather than sending grainy images of paper documents from place to place, what if he used the precision of a laser to print more refined images straight from a computer?
At the Palo Alto Research Center, or PARC, Mr. Starkweather built the first working laser printer in 1971 in less than nine months. By the 1990s, it was a staple of offices around the world. By the new millennium, it was nearly ubiquitous in homes as well.
We still use the same fundamental engine to print billions of pages a day, said Doug Fairbairn, a staff director at the Computer History Museum who worked alongside Mr. Starkweather at PARC. It was all Garys idea.
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Cats the world over are saddened...................
“The obit is worth a read.
Not every man has an impact this huge and remain essentially unknown.”
Very true. I assume this is very common.
When they first came out I wondered why the pages weren’t smoking when they came out.
This is the difference between engineers and politicians
Engineers spend their lives trying to invent things and make lives for better people and dont want any attention . Whereas, politicians try to make everybodys life miserable and get lots of attention
How often do you see a Xerox brand laser? We had one where I worked in the early 90s. It had an unusual straight through path, and it often burned the paper and created smoked during its frequent jams.
That said the Xerox 9700 big boy laser ( 2 pages/sec in the early 80s) was phenomenal.
He ran out of toner, I guess.
Xerox is a case study on how to Fritter away your brand. In addition to Laser Printers, they helped invent object-oriented programming, local area networking, and graphical user interfaces. Today they don’t really make money on any of those things.
Interesting that the Xerox copier also has its roots in Rochester, NY.
No relation to Charles I hope.
Kind of like Kodak(another Rochester company) invented the digital camera, which put them out of business.
Yes, an excellent read, thanks for posting it.
There is a reason for that.
The ORIGINAL inventor of the photocopier tried sell his invention to IBM, Kodak, RCA and a couple of others.
They all rejected his idea as being a nice curiosity but of no practical value to them or their customers, and they KNEW what their customers wanted.
Finally, he went to a company called the Haloid Photographic Company and the rest is history....................
Its staggering how much innovation came out od Xerox PARC that Xerox piddled away.
Thank you, Mr. Starkweather, for your work, your doggedness, and your ingenuity.
I worked on these beasts in the early 80’s. Back when you fixed things that broke. I hated these machines with a passion. Constant paper handling and development issues.
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