The HP Deskjet Turns 20 Years Old

2008 marks the 20th anniversary of the HP Deskjet line of inkjet printers.

Hard to believe it has been 20 years since the first, Deskjet printer was released. This machine didn’t have a model number in back in1988; it just arrived with a simple label- “Deskjet”. Little did we know that this black only, bulky, and expensive printer (in comparison to its’ contemporaries) would be the corner stone of the Hewlett Packard empire.

Hp was the first to mass market the desktop printer. At nearly $1,000, it was a steep price to pay but your only other option was an impact (dot-matrix printer or daisy wheel) printer at the time. This revolutionary HP machine could actually fit on your desk, use single sheets of paper, print 2 pages a minute, and boasted an impressive print resolution. More than a million of these machines were sold in just the first year.

The HP 51626 was the first inkjet cartridge for the first Deskjet printer. This cartridge produced a whopping 600×300 dpi, which was amazing for the time.

In 1991, HP released the first black and color printer. By 1992, increased number of sales had brought the price down to below $400 and sales took off. At this point, it’s “clich�” in saying, “the rest is history”.

There are some good reasons for their success and ample cause for adoration and a little scorn.

HP has held the honor of being the best selling printer manufacturer on the market for 20 years. The Deskjet has been the #1 selling line of printers from HP for as long as single sheet desktop printers have been in existence.

The 20th anniversary Deskjet printer cartridges are the HP 60 and Hp 901 series; here are all model numbers and descriptions:

  • CC640WN – (HP 60)
  • CC641WN – (HP 60xl)
  • CC643WN – (HP 60)
  • CC644WN – (HP 60xl)
  • CC653AN – (HP 901bk)
  • CC654AN – (HP 901bk xl)
  • CC656AN – (HP 901 clr)

These cartridges are manufactured from 70% recycled plastics and use less electricity so they are much more environmentally friendly than previous offerings. These printers produce an average 4800 x 1200 dpi, print up to 28 pages a minute and sell for less than $100 – quite the change from 1988.

To be fair, you are also getting a lot less printing power for your dollar with these new cartridges compared to older HP cartridges. If you print infrequently, (less than a dozen pages a month or so), these “economy size” cartridges are a blessing.

If you print more frequently, you will definitely want to use the “XL” AKA “high yield” models. If you are used to printing for months on your old HP printer, without needing to change the cartridge, you may be shocked to see the ink volumes in the new models.

  • 1988 — (HP 51626) OEM cost $26.00 at the time, $35.00 today (first Deskjet cartridge) contains 40ml of ink
  • 2008 — (HP 60) OEM cost $15.00- (newest Deskjet cartridge) contains 4.5 ml of ink. (estimated)
  • 2008 — (HP 60XL) OEM cost $30.00-(new Deskjet High capacity cartridge) 17 ml of ink (estimated)

Anyway you look at it; ink volumes are getting pretty skimpy on the new inkjet cartridges from Hewlett Packard.

With more than 240 million Deskjet printers sold since 1988, you are more likely to own one of these machines than any other – if you print often, be sure your Deskjet is an older one.