Dataproducts

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Dataproducts Corporation
Type Public
Industry Computer peripherals
Fate Acquired by Hitachi in 1990
Founded (1962 (1962))

Dataproducts Corporation was an early manufacturer of computer peripheral equipment.

Initially known as Data Products, the company was founded by Erwin Tomash in 1962 in order to take controlling interest of Telex's Data Systems Division.[1]:112-128 The division was behind on a contract to deliver disk files to General Electric. Dataproducts was able to complete the product and deliver to GE and later Ferranti, ICL and RCA.

Sustained by the disk drive business and Informatics, Data Products began development of their first line printer. Introduced in 1963, the 3300 was a 300 line per minute drum printer that used a moving coil actuator for the print hammer.

In 1966, core memory was added to the product line. With heightened sales and earnings, Data Products moved to a new site in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California in 1968.[1]:123 They started acquiring other businesses, including Staff Dynamics, a personnel agency and Uptime, a manufacturer of card readers. Graham Tyson replaced Tomash as CEO in 1971.[1]:125 The disk business was ailing in the face of increased competition and finally discontinued.

Dataproducts switched from drum to band technology in the late 1970s and added dot matrix printers along with a series of thermal printers sourced from Olivetti.[1]:126 The telecommunications company Stelma was purchased and Data Card was formed to manufacture plastic card embossing equipment.[2]:371

Daisy wheel printers were added to the line with a purchase of the business from Plessey in 1978. A joint project with Exxon yielded a series of solid ink printers. Dataproducts used Toshiba engines for their first laser printers in 1989.

Legal battles with Tektronix and Apple over the solid ink patents drained resources and ended with Apple discontinuing their product and Tektronix paying royalties.[1]:128 Jack C. Davis, 47, a former Harris Corporation senior vice president, replaced Graham Tyson as chairman and chief executive in May, 1986.[3] By 1989, net income had dropped from a high of $27.7 million to $3.8 million, and Dataproducts fought off takeover attempts by a consortium. Dataproducts was purchased by Hitachi Koki Co. Ltd., a unit of Hitachi in 1990.

Dataproducts later used Fuji Xerox engines for their Typhoon series of laser printers. The LZR1560/1580 was OEMed as the Apple LaserWriter Pro 810 in 1993.[1]:128 In 1998, the LZR 5200 continuous feed laser printer was announced.[4]

The Dataproducts brand name was used until it was formed into Hitachi Koki Imaging Systems in 1999.

Informatics[edit]

When Dataproducts was first formed, Informatics was created as a subsidiary that did contract software work and was headed by Walter F. Bauer.[1]:120[5] In 1964, Informatics acquired Advanced Information Systems from Hughes Dynamics.[6] The AIS file management system led to MARK IV, a fourth-generation programming language that was the first software product to have cumulative sales of $10 million and later $100 million.[7] DataProducts spun Informatics off as a public corporation in 1968. Beginning in 1983, Sterling Software made an unsolicited offer that became a takeover attempt and finally resulted in a merger in 1985.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g Webster, Edward (2001). Print Unchained: 50 Years of Digital Printing, 1950-2000 and Beyond. Dra of Vermont. ISBN 0-9702617-0-5. f
  2. ^ Kent, Allen (1989). Encyclopedia of Microcomputers: Volume 4 - Computer-Related Applications: Computational Linguistics to DBASE. CRC Press. ISBN 0-8247-2703-7. 
  3. ^ Bates, James (May 1, 1986). "Dataproducts Elects Davis". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 21, 2014. 
  4. ^ Announces New Wide Format Continuous Feed Laser Printer;...-a020211647 "Dataproducts Announces New Wide Format Continuous Feed Laser Printer; The LZR 5200 Offers Versatile Support for Mid-Range Printing Applications". The Free Library. February 9, 1998. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  5. ^ Yost, Jeffrey R. (2005). The Computer Industry. Greenwood Publishing. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-313-32844-2. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  6. ^ Johnson, Luanne (2008). "Oral History of Walter Bauer". Computer History Museum. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Informatics". Computer History Museum. 2007. Retrieved June 2, 2009. 
  8. ^ Bates, James (March 18, 1986). "Firm's Fallen Founder Blames Takeover Rules : Ex-Informatics Chief Bauer Urges New Laws to Protect Healthy Companies From Raiders". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 20, 2011. 

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