3800 Laser Printer Development
Technical Exchange presented February 1970
late '60s, IBM San Jose began development of an electrophotographic printer to
replace the mechanical chain printers. The project code name was
Jubilee, later became Argonaut, and the product was announced in 1975 as the
IBM 3800. Using continuous forms rather than sheet feed paper, it
printed at a speed was 32"/sec or about 180 pages per minute. The
fastest IBM printer at that time was 1,100 lines per minute or about 17
pages per minute.
Prototypes used a 5,000 page/month IBM
copier which had to be completely redesigned to meet the typical customer
demands for over 1,000,000 pages/month. Inventions were required
in all areas: paper handing, electrophotography, optics, materials, fusing,
electronics, etc. This was one of the first
products to use a microprocessor rather than a hard-wired controller.
The technology and innovations of the 3800 paved the way for the inexpensive but
slower desktop laser printer available today.
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