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Printers and Scanners Did you know that computer printer history dates from 1938 when Chester Carlson invented a dry printing process called electrophotography (Xerox). This became the foundation technology for all the laser printers that followed.

Of course printing is far older than computers. A Chinese book known as the “Diamond Sutra" was printed in 868 CE. It is thought however that printing may have been around long before this date.

The earliest machine for printing was invented by a German craftsman. This was known as the Gutenberg press.

With the invention of the linotype composing machine in 1886 people were able to quickly set an entire line of text at once. A tele-typesetter was a device for setting type by telegraph using coded paper tape. Invented in 1928 this method of communication was still in use in the 1970s. In a similar time frame the earliest phototypesetting machine was patented using strobe light and a series of optics to produce text onto photographic paper.

In general the first commercial printers used mechanisms from the previously available electric typewriters and Teletype machines however the demand for quicker speed meant the constant ongoing development of printers.

• In 1968 the Japanese invented first compact lightweight digital printer
• 1977 saw the first xerographic laser printer product released by Xerox.
• 1984 saw the introduction of the low cost inkjet and laser printers and by the 2000s inexpensive printers had become very widely used and were easily available.
• Through the 1990s and 2000s the improvement of email has meant that printing is no longer necessary for a means of moving documents however this has made way for the use of the flatbed scanner which has enabled documents to be copied to a file on the computer.
• 2010 saw the introduction of 3D printers allowing the creation of physical objects most commonly by using the fused deposition modelling method. There are many different types of printers for many different uses available today. These include 3D printers, inkjet printers, thermal printers and laser printers. Each has its own particular use.
• Personal printers – designed to support individual uses and usually connect to a single computer.
• Networked or shared printers - designed for high volume and high speed printing
• Virtual printers – computer software used to create a file which is an image of the date which would be printed.
• Barcode printers - used for printing barcode labels commonly used in today’s world for identifying products.
• 3D printers -used for making three-dimensional objects.

It is thought that the first scanner was available for use in the 1860s. The pantelegraph which was able to transmit handwriting signatures or drawings within a small area of 150x100mm is regarded as the beginning of the modern day scanner. The computer scanner began with the invention of the fax machine about 50 years ago and the first scanner developed in 1957 for use with a computer was the drum scanner and these scanners could send documents in the form of an image rasterized into lines and pixels. Flatbed scanners came next where a document is placed onto a glass tray for scanning. Image scanners optically scan images, printed text, handwriting, etc, and turn it into a digital image.

Scanners and printers are constantly developing because their use is constantly expanding. The convenience of scanning a document is that once scanned you can keep a copy of this document with you at all times. Scanning also lowers the amount of paper used. In an office environment scanning can enable more work to be completed in a shorter time frame. By converting documents into a digital form they can be easily stored on a computer or sent to other parties via email or text message.

Stationery R Us Express has a wide range of scanners and printers in many formats together with a huge variety of accessories for your printing and publishing requirements.