Way back in 1969, Gary Starkweather demonstrated using a laser beam with xerography to create what is generally accepted as the first laser printer. This demonstration was carried out at the research facility of Xerox at Webster, New York. Ten years later, IBM introduced the IBM 3800 that could print 20,000 lines per minute. The first commercially viable Laser was produced by Hewlett -Packard in 1984, the LaserJet that could print at 300 dpi resolution. It was priced at US$3,600. Interestingly, it had a Canon engine controlled by HP software.
Apart from the printing job itself, laser printing, because of its precise quality of text print and high output, gave a boost to desktop publishing. Apple released its own version in 1985 for the Mackintosh followed by the Aldus Page Maker which heralded a new era for desktop publishing that has only progressed and diversified for the better with time. Subsequently, with the perfection of the laser technology where larger portions of paper are printed using a laser beam, the laser printer has today become an indispensable Computer peripheral.
While most people have Inkjet Printers for home use, office work usually calls for a Laser. It may be useful to understand the business sense that goes into the purchase of lasers where there is a lot of work to be done, and fast. While Inkjets are great for printing graphics and on various different surfaces too (like cloth and canvas and several different paper qualities) and for taking personal text prints, whether for research work or for printing out the grocery list, they are, in fact, slow and expensive when compared to a Laser.
It really depends upon the kind of work that you want to do. In an office environment, there is a greater need for speed and volume when it comes to the print output. Even though Lasers cost more initially, their print volume, in case of monochrome printers, is definitely higher than that of Inkjets, and the ink replacement is also cheaper. For some Inkjet printers, replacing the cartridges twice can actually equal the cost of the printer itself. Not so with lasers, which make them ultimately economical with large outputs. There is also the speed and quality: Lasers are faster, and produce a no smudge, super crisp text print. In most monochrome printers, the image print quality is at least acceptable.
Colour Laser Printers are slowly replacing the monochrome for office use, but with several toners to replace, operating them is a process that takes some expertise, aside from the expense and possible misuse. Unless the laser becomes as good with photographs as it is with charts and diagrams, the transition may still take a while.
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