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Monday, November 21, 2011

How the Olympics gave birth to the desktop printer

Olympic Circles Japanese OEM Epson created its first portable printer for the 1964 Olympic Games.

With the 2012 Olympic Games fast approaching, millions of fans around the world are looking forward to cheering their athletes on for the gold. It’s probably a safe bet that none of them are thinking about desktop printers.

But as the LA Times sports blog recounts, the Olympics may have had a crucial role in the creation of the desktop printer in Japan over 50 years ago by Seiko Epson.

At the 1964 Tokyo Games Suwa Seikosha Co. was given the prestigious task of becoming official timekeeper for the event, thanks to the reputation of its famous Seiko watches. A subsidiary called Shinshu Seiki Co was charged with handling the games, and debuted both new quartz timing technology and advanced LCD displays at the event.

A more unexpected innovation was the creation of their first portable printer. With some scores recorded electronically, the team realized they needed a way to quickly get them onto paper, leading to the creation of a small electronic printer.

While companies such as Xerox had already debuted printers, Shinshu Seiki’s machine was much smaller and easier to transport. Realizing the potential, they set about manufacturing a compact printer for wider use, resulting in the Ep-101 in 1968.

The EP (Electronic Printer) proved successful, and in 1975 Epson (the “son of EP”) was born, releasing its first dot-matrix printer in 1978.

Today Seiko Epson Corporation has continued in the spirit of its 1964 forbearers, as evidenced by the recent release of its “small-in-one” NX420 inkjet, one of the most compact in the market.

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1 comment:

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