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Remembering Presstek’s Imaging Pioneer

January 13, 2015  By PrintAction Staff

Robert Howard, one of the most-dynamic imaging innovators in North American printing over the past several decades, passed away last week at age 91. Among several companies he spearheaded, Howard was a founding director of Presstek.

Howard is often regarded as the inventor of the dot-matrix printer through his firm Centronics Data Computer. His work in driving the technology behind Presstek and Howtek, both in Hudson, New Hampshire, also continue to hold significant influence in today’s printing world.

“The innovative vision that Bob Howard had for Presstek, and its role in the print industry when he founded the company back in 1987, has been carried forward by many dedicated and talented team members over the years,” said Geoff Loftus COO of Presstek LLC. “We can all be thankful for his role in the genesis of the company and for the thriving Presstek that continues on today.”


Howard served as Presstek’s Chairman of the Board from June 1988 to September 1998, while also holding roles as President and Treasurer. After resigning from the Board, he served as the company’s Chairman Emeritus until December 2000.

At the time of stepping down from Presstek, fellow board member Richard Williams said: “Robert Howard’s vision to make the printing press a computer peripheral has changed the shape of the printing and graphic arts industries forever. In the few short years since Presstek built its first concept press, direct imaging of a printing plate on a press has become widely accepted throughout the industry.”

Presstek today holds hundreds of patents and is know for its invention of DI thermal laser direct imaging on-press technology. It was the first company to develop and bring to market chemistry-free platemaking for off-press applications. Many of the industry’s largest press manufacturers including Heidelberg, Ryobi, Xerox, KBA and Kodak have partnered with Presstek and incorporated Presstek’s DI technology on their presses.

Among a range of printing industry awards, Howard received the Albert Einstein Technology Medal from the Jerusalem Fund of Aish HaTorah.

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