HP logo Hewlett Packard - a short history

line Photo William en David

William Hewlett (1913) and David Packard (1912-1996) are the founders of one of the biggest IT-companies in the world. They had not the intension to enter the calculator market. Calculators were in the beginning only an accessory for the test- and measurement equipment they build.

The partnership was formalized on January 1st, 1939 with an investment of US$538. Hewlett and Packard tossed a coin to decide whether the company they founded would be called Hewlett-Packard or Packard-Hewlett. Packard won the coin toss but named their electronics manufacturing enterprise the "Hewlett-Packard Company".


Of the many projects they worked on, their very first financially successful product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model HP200A. Their innovation was the use of a small light bulb as a temperature dependent resistor in a critical portion of the circuit. This allowed them to sell the Model 200A for $54.40 when competitors were selling less stable oscillators for over $200. The Model 200 series of generators continued until at least 1972 as the 200AB, still tube-based but improved in design through the years. At 33 years, it was perhaps the longest-selling basic electronic design of all time.

In 1972 Hewlett Packard introduced as first in the world a scientific pocket calculator, the HP-35 (Classic series).

In 1974 Hewlett Packard introduced the first programmable pocket calculator, the HP- 65 (Classic series).

In 1979 the first alphanumeric and extendable calculator, the HP-41C (Coconut series) and the first symbolic and graphical calculator, the HP-28C (Champion series).


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