How HP Ink Cartridges Revolutionised Personal Printing

10-07-2014 by

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Being able to click Print on your computer and have your document whizz out of a printer in next to no time has become something we all take for granted. But before HP revolutionised the way the ink cartridge in general, and the printhead in particular, worked, personal printing was a slow, laborious process.

In the 1980s, personal computers were taking off in a big way, bringing a powerful new technology into the home. The PC revolution changed the way we do everything, from household budgets to school projects, making everything happen just a little bit faster.

But printer technology had yet to catch up, limiting our ability to make a hard copy of our work. Early personal printing involved using dot-matrix printers, but they were loud and clunky, with only one type face and no ability to reproduce graphics. The new laser printers were much better, but were far too expensive to be used in the home.

Enter the HP ThinkJet. This game changing printer, introduced in 1984, brought faster, quieter and more professional looking printing straight into the home. HP’s revolutionary thermal inkjet technology used heat to force tiny drops of ink through a nozzle to deposit it on the page.

HP engineers came up with a disposable printhead attached to an ink cartridge that could be taken out of the printer and replaced when it was empty. This made replacing printer consumables much easier that the traditional fussing with ribbons required with a dot-matrix printers.

The speed, quietness and efficiency of the ThinkJet led to the decline of the dot-matrix printer, virtually wiping it out, and the rise of the HP ink cartridge as a household necessity.

Not content to rest on their laurels, HP once again changed the way we print by introducing the colour ink cartridge in 1991. Colour printing up to then had been wildly expensive and best left to professional printing companies for when you needed it most. With the introduction of the HP DeskJet 500C, however, colour printing was made more affordable for the average user.

Since then HP has developed many new advances in home and office printing and will continue to do so, making sure that getting that homework assignment, shopping list or invitation from your computer to your hand is even easier.

Nic Venter

About the author

Nic Venter+

 is the founder and director of He started the business in 2009 with the idea to sell ink and toner cartridges online and to provide you with a quality product, value for money and convenience. He regularly blogs on about printing and technology. Part of his philosophy is having fun and making sure that he and his team think everything ink, so you don't have to.

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