The Hewlett-Packard Company (NYSE: HPQ), commonly known as HP, is one of the world's largest information technology corporations. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, United States, it has a global presence in the fields of computing, printing, and digital imaging, and also sells software and services.
From 1939 until the seventies
HP was founded as a manufacturer of test and measurement instruments with a US$500 investment in a Palo Alto, CA garage in 1939 by Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. They had both graduated from Stanford University in 1934. Their first product was a precision audio oscillator, the Model 200A. Their innovation was the use of a small night-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.
Their company's name, Hewlett-Packard, was derived from their last names and had Bill not won the coin toss, the company today could have been known as Packard-Hewlett. One of the company's earliest customers was Walt Disney Productions, who bought eight Model 200B oscillators (at $71.50 each) for use in testing the Fantasound stereophonic sound system for the movie Fantasia.
Hewlett-Packard CEO Mark Hurd (2005-)
The company earned global respect for a variety of products. They introduced the world's first handheld scientific electronic calculator in 1972 (the HP-35), the first handheld programmable in 1974 (the HP-65), the first alphanumeric, programmable, expandable in 1979 (the HP-41C), and the first symbolic and graphing calculator HP-28C. Like their scientific and business calculators, their oscilloscopes, logic analyzers, and other measurement instruments have a reputation for sturdiness and usability (the latter products are now part of spin-off Agilent's product line). The company's design philosophy in this period was summarized as "design for the guy at the next bench".
HP is recognized as the symbolic founder of Silicon Valley, although it did not actively investigate semiconductor devices until a few years after the "Traitorous Eight" had abandoned William Shockley to create Fairchild Semiconductor in 1957. Hewlett-Packard's HP Associates division, established around 1960, developed semiconductor devices primarily for internal use. Instruments and calculators were some of the products using these devices.
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