Gary K. Starkweather

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Gary K. Starkweather

Laser Printer

US Patent No. 3,970,359
Inducted in 2012
Born January 9, 1938

While working for Xerox in Webster, New York, Gary Starkweather began work on an idea for a laser printer, a machine that could print any image created by a computer. Computer printers did exist at the time but were large, awkward, mechanical machines that had many limitations. After creating a crude prototype, Starkweather transferred to Xerox PARC in 1971 to continue developing his idea.

At PARC, Starkweather created SLOT, his "scanning laser output terminal," using a Xerox 7000 copier as his base. A laser beam carried digital information, and the copier then developed the imaged digital information to make a print. In 1977, Xerox launched the 9700 laser printer which would become one of Xerox's best-selling products. In fact, the original laser printer made billions of dollars for Xerox, the most commercially profitable product to come out of the PARC facility.

Starkweather received a B.S. degree in physics from Michigan State University and an M.S. in optics from the University of Rochester. After working briefly at Bausch & Lomb, he went on to work at Xerox in 1964, staying for over 20 years. He spent 10 years at Apple Computer, then eight years at Microsoft before retiring in 2005.

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