Goodbye Boring Black, Hello Color!

A Xerox publicity photo of the 9700 Cut Sheet Laser Printer

In 1978 Johnson & Quin obtained a Xerox 9700, the first commercial cut sheet laser printer, and became the first “print for profit” laser company in the Midwest. 41 years later the last laser printers have left the building!

Over those 41 years, the personalization department at J&Q has gone through countless changes. Laser printers continued to improve, becoming better quality, faster and offering more capabilities. The last laser printers at J&Q were IBM InfoPrint 4100’s, continuous monochrome (black only) printers that were the mainstay of our personalization department for many years.

IBM InfoPrint 4100 Continuous Laser Printers

In the 1960’s Xerox began to research the possibility of combining lasers and computer generated data with “xerography” reproduction, pioneered by the company in the previous decade. The laser printer was invented by Gary Starkweather at Xerox’s research center, Palo Alto Research Center (PARC) in California. The 9700 was introduced in 1977 at the National Computer Conference in Dallas.

The 9700 gave rise to the digital printing industry. It was initially used in data processing centers using mainframe computers allowing documents such as statements, invoices and reports to be printed with a variety of fonts and graphics. In the following decade it was used by countless companies to print bills, statements, variable policies, reports, and more. J&Q saw a niche for these new laser printers – producing personalized letters and other documents for direct mail.

J&Q has always stretched the limits of their equipment and it started with the Xerox 9700. The company pioneered preprinted forms when most applications were on white paper, so that letterhead in color could be used. Successful techniques were also developed to assure the forms ran efficiently in the printers and subsequent finishing equipment. In addition to printing and personalizing letters for direct mail packages, J&Q also produced millions of cutsheet printed forms that were sold and shipped to other data centers and service bureaus for printing on the 9700’s and subsequent Xerox laser printers.

Now J&Q is producing all direct mail on color digital printers, most on high-speed color inkjet printing systems. Plain white paper is transformed into response-generating full color personalized letters and forms in one step. Advantages include:

  • Lower production costs and shorter schedules
  • Substantial postage savings
  • Elimination of preprinted forms
  • Unlimited versions and personalization. . . in color!

J&Q today with Screen Truepress high-speed color inkjet printing systems

If you have questions or want to discuss how color inkjet can lower costs and increase the flexibility of your direct mail program, contact us at 847.588.4800 or and ask for Sales.



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