When you first purchase an inkjet printer, they come with starter cartridges that are filled only halfway. This practice is done for a number of reasons, primarily to keep ink from spilling during transport. This practice is also used to encourage you to purchase more proprietary inkjet cartridges. It is more cost efficient to purchase higher capacity cartridges for your use.
The idea of inkjet printing has been present since the 19th century, but the technology wasn’t available until the 1950’s. Continuous inkjet printers were first used for medical strip chart recorders. The printers were first introduced by Siemens. In the 1970’s, inkjet printers for the consumer market were developed by companies like Epson, Lexmark, Hewlett Packard, and Canon.
The process of continuous inkjet printing has not caught on in the personal inkjet printer market because the method itself uses a lot more ink than necessary. Commercial printers use that technology to print mark and code packages, as well as address direct mail pieces.
The print heads for commercial inkjet continuous printers are further away from the paper, allowing businesses to print out banners, outdoor signs, billboards, and other large media. These printers can run up to $2 million in price, and can be up to 152 inches wide.