Since HP released its first tech product in 1938, the company has become a major force in the world of computer technology. Now, HP has expanded beyond computer devices to software, managed services, and financial services.
Despite HP’s vast scope and worldwide reach, it started very simply. HP’s history goes back to a 1934 camping trip where Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard forged a lifelong friendship.
By 1938, the friends, working side-by-side in a Palo Alto garage, had invented the resistance-capacitance audio oscillator. They sold several of these devices to Walt Disney, where they were used to test theater sound equipment for the movie Fantasia. The pair flipped a coin to decide the name, and Hewlett-Packard was born.
The Business and the HP Way
In 1940, Hewlett and Packard left the garage behind and moved their quarters to a more business-like setting. Right away, the two-man team decided to share a measure of the company’s success with all their employees through bonuses, and eventually, profit-sharing. Two years later, they built a better home for HP, designed for maximum creativity.
HP was finally incorporated in 1947, with Packard and Hewlett as president and vice-president. At the same time, the founders switched things up with a list of corporate objectives that defied old management styles and instituted principles that could be used for decision-making throughout the organization. This system would become what employees now recognize as the “HP Way.”
Ten years later, HP made their initial public offering. HP also began manufacturing products in Boeblingen, Germany in 1958, and suddenly the company that started in a California garage was a global enterprise. By 1961, the company was listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
Hewlett and Packard innovated from the beginning, but in 1966, they opened HP Laboratories to focus even more on harnessing new ideas to create new products. They were also ahead of their time when they set their employees’ clocks on flextime in 1973.
Hewlett and Packard had a little management technique they called “management by walking around.” It was just what is sounds like. They walked among and interacted with their employees as they worked. The practice increased engagement within the company as well as employee creativity.
The company continued to venture into new regions of the world, and by 1975, HP was bringing in more revenue from foreign countries than from the U.S. In 1994, the company was one of the first in the nation to encourage telecommuting.
Hewlett and Packard eventually passed the reigns of the company to others. The founders are now gone, Dave in 1996 and Bill in 2001. The garage where they started was restored and eventually listed on the Register of Historic Places. Yet the company they founded is growing stronger every year. Currently, HP management is headed by Dion Weisler as President and CEO.
HP Product Lines Evolve
HP didn’t stick with audio oscillators, of course. As the company grew and advanced, more product lines also evolved. After audio oscillators, the company worked on microwave technologies. This endeavor would set them apart as a leader in the field of signal generators.
For a time, the company focused on electronic measurement systems. They invented a fast frequency counter in 1951 and introduced their first oscilloscopes in 1956. Then, with the 1958 acquisition of a graphic recorder company, Hewlett-Packard made its way into the realm of printing. A few years later, they began producing medical equipment.
One of HP’s most fascinating products, introduced in 1963, was a frequency synthesizer. This device is still used today in vehicles used for deep-space exploration. The next year, they created an extremely accurate atomic clock. The year 1964 saw HP develop its first spectrum analyzer, which was also its first product to bring in a million dollars in a month.
In 1966, HP took a new direction when the company introduced their first computer. The first unit was used on an oceanographic research vessel. Two years later, HP released a product they called a programmable scientific desktop calculator. What was it? It was an instrument that used programs stored on cards to solve problems. It was none other than the first personal computer.
Next up for HP? In 1972, the company came out with the HP-35. You know, the first pocket scientific calculator? The one that changed the lives of students, engineers and scientists forever? Yeah, that one. In 1974, they upgraded the calculator to make it programmable with the HP-65.
The HP computer kept evolving through the years. The company introduced the HP-85, their first device officially called a personal computer. From there, HP developed the first desktop mainframe, a touchscreen PC, their first laptop, a 3D graphics workstation, and the first x86 server, all before 1990.
The 1990s saw HP getting into the home computer game, digital photography technology, and developing its printers through a series of changes. New areas of opportunity opened up for HP in the 2000s. Their Superdome server line secured HP’s place as a leader in internet infrastructure. They worked on developing nanotechnology.
Leading the Way in the 2010’s
In the 2010’s, HP continues to be a technology leader. From the first web-connected home printer to mobile printing, HP has been at the forefront of printing technology. They created the first wireless mouse as well as the first software-designed server.
In 2013, HP developed a backup and recovery software that was both adaptive and self-aware. They pioneered immersive computing with their Sprocket. In 2018, HP is leading the way in 3D printing, handheld photo printers, and of course, ever more advanced computers.
From its lowly beginning in a humble garage to its present position as a world-leading technology company, HP has been a masterful innovator all the way. HP’s emphasis on creating a unique company culture focused on creativity and cooperation has set the trends for today’s workforce. Their product lines include cutting-edge printers, computers, and technology used by people everywhere.
HP’s history reminds us that even the smallest endeavors can blossom into monumental accomplishments. Are you ready to get into the mindset of innovation and thought leadership? JMARK helps you put I.T. to work as a driving force in your organization’s growth. Call us at 844-44-JMARK, email us at [email protected], or send us a message on the Contact Us page of our website. JMARK is a managed services provider serving Missouri, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and beyond.