Birth of The Laser Printer

Jim Whitehead (
Tue, 18 Mar 1997 16:38:11 -0800

Man, I wish I was going to be in the Bay Area at this time...

- Jim

>From: Zoe Allison <>
>Subject: Birth of The Laser Printer
> + please forward and post as appropriate within the Bay area +
> Bay Area Computer History Perspectives
> and
> The Computer Museum
> "Birth of the Laser Printer"
> Gary Starkweather
> Apple Computer
> 5:30 PM, Tuesday, March 25
> Training and Conference Center
> Moffett Field
> Mt. View
> (directions at end)
> Note: please reply by email, to, if you plan to
> attend, and mention in your reply if you are not a US citizen
>When the first laser printer was developed over 20 years ago at Xerox
>Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), the goal was very ambitious: a page
>of output every second, at 600 dpi resolution. As usual, technical
>problems in development forced a compromise. But not much of a
>compromise, seeing the final result: two pages every second, at 300 dpi
>Anyone waiting at a printer for hardcopy today may wonder how the very
>first laser printer in the world achieved two pages a second. And
>although common today, laser printers were developed almost ten years
>before the PC and the Mac, in a previous generation of computer
>technology. In fact, the first laser printer proposal dates back to
>1967, thirty years ago.
>In this talk Gary Starkweather will describe how he led the initial
>development of the laser printer at PARC. But it was a group effort:
>people were needed with skills in optics, analog and digital
>electronics, chemistry and mechanical sciences to make a functioning
>system. Others contributed to make the system demonstrable and
>functional. The talk will conclude with a brief look at where the
>technology is today.
>During the talk, Gary will have the first prototype at his side. After
>the talk, everyone is welcome to walk over to The Computer Museum
>Visible Storage area at Moffett Field, for wine and cheese, and to view
>the fifty tons of computer hardware on display (with fifty more tons on
>its way from Boston)---the largest collection of historical computer
>equipment anywhere in the world. Including the first laser printer
>model in use at PARC.
>Directions: from highway 101 in Mt. View, take the Moffett Field exit
>(ignore any signs or exits for Moffett Blvd.). You will come
>immediately up to the Moffett Field main gate. Park to the right side
>of the gate, in the visitor's parking area, and go into the Visitor
>Office building to get a badge and further directions. Please remember
>to send a email message before the talk to to
>confirm, and state in the message if you are not a US citizen.
>Zoe Allison
>The Computer Museum History Center