Written by Phin Upham
Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard graduated Stanford University in 1935. Both came from the school of electrical engineering, and they decided to start a company after a fellowship they had with a past professor.
They decided to start their company in Packard’s garage in 1939. Their first capital investment was for a total of $538. It is said that they came up with Hewlett-Packard after having tossed a coin to determine whose name would appear first. HP formally incorporated in 1947 and debuted on the stock exchange in 1957.
HP first successfully built and marketed a precision oscillator for audio applications. They figured out how to use a small light bulb as a temperature dependent resistor, which allowed them to sell the unit for cheaper than their competitors.
Walt Disney was one of the company’s earliest customers, using the oscillator as a prime component in the Fantasound system that came to theaters when Fantasia debuted.
HP was an unfocused company in the early yuears. It worked on everything from agriculture to electronics, measuring everything from temperature to voltage. HP built a name for itself constructing extremely precision instruments, but it became known as the founder of Silicon Valley after its interest in semiconductors.
HP has positioned itself as a leader in corporate, and lately consumer computing products. It has entire product ranges including servers, printers, tablets and more. HP is a hardware and technology company more than anything else. It is also a consumer brand, modeling sleek looking home computers and tablets to the tune of $112 billion in revenue.