TFTNB: Disney Bought First HP Product

200athreeqtr thumb.jpgDisney was one of HP's first customers. Bet that you didn't know that! Way back in 1939, an HP product was used to help construct the amazing audio in Fantasia. But I should probably backtrack to a little earlier, first. The unassuming -- if a little intimidating-looking -- metal box that you see here is the HP200A, an audio oscillator. That is, it generates one pure tone or frequency at a time. Through the years, HP oscillators were used to design, produce and maintain telephones, stereos, radios and other audio equipment. The 200A began as the subject of Bill Hewlett's master's thesis at Stanford University in the late 1930s. Read about how it all came together!


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TFTNB: The First DeskJet Printer

hpdeskjet HP sure has come a long way with cloud- and Web-ready printers (for more on that, look for this week's Smart Home Improvement installment all about ePrint technology that you'll find in printers like the new HP Photosmart e-All-in-One D110a). But it had to start somewhere. A few weeks ago, we talked about the first ThinkJet printer and this time, let’s look a little more into how modern printing went mainstream. The HP DeskJet was the first mass-market inkjet printer. Customers knew its predecessor, the HP ThinkJet, because HP had been first to market with the inkjet printer. The name “DeskJet” was introduced to draw a clear distinction from the preceding inkjet printers.

Tales from the Next Bench: The First PC

firstpc The 9100A combined Reverse Polish Notation (RPN)—a system for representing mathematical expressions without the use of parentheses—with a special algorithm that could handle trigonometric and logarithmic functions. HP sold the 9100A as a calculator because at the time the perception was that a computer had to be big to be credible. Bill Hewlett said "If we had called it a computer, it would have been rejected by our customers' computer gurus because it didn't look like an IBM. We, therefore, decided to call it a calculator and all such nonsense disappeared." The 9100A is now recognized throughout the industry as the first desktop computer.

Tales from the Next Bench: HP’s Archives

hparchive When HP started out, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard took on all sorts of odd contract jobs—Harmonica tuners, automatic toilet flush sensors for Stanford…but one of the first tech support calls that Packard made for the company – about 70 years ago – was for a bowling alley. The foul line indicator Hewlett and Packard created wasn’t working properly. But there was Dave, sleeves rolled up, troubleshooting. Why “The Next Bench,” you ask? When Bill and Dave were back in the garage days, they built devices useful for the guy next to you on the workbench. Or, to be more accurate, if the guy on the next bench wanted the product you were working on, chances are that it would be a success.

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