Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Like many pioneering companies of the 20th century, Hewlett-Packard was born in a garage. It was founded by engineers David Packard and Bill Hewlett in 1938. At the time the mission was to develop and market a resistance-capacity audio oscillator that could be used to test sound equipment. Hewlett and Packard’s $538 in founding capital carried them through until the Walt Disney studios ordered eight of their devices. Then in 1941 the United States entered the Second World War, and an immediate overwhelming need for HP’s instruments was created. After the war ended, the company lost its mainstay government orders and decided to seek clients in the private sector. Hewlett-Packard introduced its measuring devices into the flourishing post-war electronics industry. In 1972 the company pioneered personal computing with the world’s first handheld scientific calculator, and it then went on to introduce the first desktop mainframe (in 1982) and the LaserJet printer (the first and most prominent of a line of printers for business and home), as well as copiers and scanners.