Canon’s roots were laid in 1933 with very few employees as a precision optical instruments lab. The Laboratory was founded in 1933 in a third-floor apartment of the Takekawaya Building in Roppongi, Azabu Ward, Tokyo. Its objective was to produce high-grade cameras.
A young man named Goro Yoshida, a passionate camera-lover; and his brother-in-law, Saburo Uchida, set up the Laboratory jointly. Their aim was to make cameras that could compete with the German models that were considered the most advanced of the day.
They started by analyzing existing cameras, which were difficult to obtain. Systematically, they studied each camera’s internal workings, examined mechanisms, drew up design diagrams and procured parts. Takeshi Mitarai, a close friend of Uchida provided the funds required for the research. Mitarai later became president of the company and built its foundation.
It then went on to become a renowned camera making company. When it grew and decided to diversify its business plans it had to shed its image of a company that manufactured only cameras, therefore the top brass of the company decided to take on the name Canon Inc in 1969. The year1969 was also the year that canon forayed into business machines and eventually into the printing business.
To go through a brief chronology of Canon’s printing and copying history – Canon successfully developed the laser beam printer in 1975. In 1982, the PC-10 and PC-20, the world’s first personal copying machines with replaceable cartridges, were introduced. Canon, in collaboration with IBM Japan, Ltd., developed the world’s first notebook PC with an installed printer in 1993.
Bubble Jet Discovery
One of canon’s most interesting discoveries in the field of printing technology was the bubble jet printing technology. Researchers while working on the inkjet printing technology hit upon the discovery when a hot solder gun accidentally touched the tip of an ink-filled needle due to which ink sprayed out! Therefore, the researchers concluded that heat instead of pressure could be used to eject the ink on the media.
The development of this technology gave the world it’s first bubblejet printer in 1981.
Laser Beam Printing
Another important technology in the field of printing by Canon was the development of laser beam printers (LBP). It started research on laser as a means of writing as early as 1962. However it was unable to develop a practical laser source and hence could not acquire the patents it had applied for due to which the research and development was suspended.
In the 1970s when lasers came into practical application fields Canon resumed its research on laser beam printers and developed the LBP’s of today combining their electro photographic technologies with laser technology.
The development of lasers imprinting also gave birth to a number of high-speed copy machines by Canon such as The NP-8500, the world’s first retention-type copying machine in 1978.
The NP-8500 SUPER, an ultrahigh speed-copying machine capable of producing 135 copies per minute 1981; and the PC-10 and PC-20, the world’s first personal copying machines with replaceable cartridges were introduced by Canon in 1982.
In 1984 Canon gave the world its LBP-8/CX, the smallest and lightest laser beam printer.
Today Canon develops technology that couples direct printing options from Cell phones equipped with a digital camera, hence integrating printing technology with photography! One such latest technology is the direct wireless printing from a camera! The printing is achieved using infrared and Bluetooth communication technology embedded in the cell phones or PCs. Being wireless no cables are required, and the image quality parallels that of printouts from PCs using memory cards.
One important feature Canon uses to achieve real true to life image quality on paper is:
Color reproduction: The color range of digital cameras (YCC) is much wider, making it possible to capture a vast amount of color information when shooting. To achieve similar quality Canon added red ink and green ink, which offers high brightness and chromaticity, to the six existing inks in their inkjet printers, raising the saturation of the red and green output range by 1.6 times and 1.2 times respectively. The result is photo image output with improved depth and translucence, and color reproduction comparable to that of prints from photo film.