Timeline – How HP became the world’s largest tech company

(BestGrowthStock) – The search is on for what investors hope is a visionary helmsman to ignite growth at Hewlett-Packard Co (HPQ.N: )

Here is a look back at the history of HP, which grew from a garage in Palo Alto, California, to become the world’s largest technology company by revenue.

1939: Stanford electrical engineers Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard found the company out of a Palo Alto garage with $538 and a Sears-Roebuck drill press. They decide whose name would go first with a coin toss.

Revenue is $5,369 after one year. Their first product is the resistance-capacitance audio oscillator, a version of which was sold to the Walt Disney Co (DIS.N: ).

1940: HP pays its first bonus to employees — a $5 Christmas windfall. In the 1940s, it begins to benefit from U.S. orders for electronics with the onset of World War Two and growing acceptance for its products in the engineering and scientific community.

1942: Construction kicks off on the company’s first building, in Palo Alto. The 10,000-square-foot office, laboratory and factory — with an open floor plan — is designed to be easily converted into a grocery store should the business fail to grow. Revenue hits $522,803.

1948: Revenue surpasses the seven-figure mark, ending the year at $2.2 million from 128 employees.

1957: HP becomes a publicly traded company with an initial public offering of $16 per share. Revenue is $28 million this year.

1958: HP makes its first acquisition: of graphic recorder maker F.L. Moseley Co of Pasadena, California.

1968: HP introduces the world’s first desktop scientific calculator that stores programs on magnetic cards. Advertisements for the device call it a “personal computer,” one of the first uses of the term.

1982: HP debuts its LaserJet printer, the company’s most successful product line ever.

1989: HP turns 50. The Palo Alto garage where the company was hatched is dedicated as a state historic landmark and named “the birthplace of Silicon Valley.” HP’s annual revenue has grown to $11.9 billion, employees total 95,000.

1995: Dave Packard publishes the “The HP Way,” a book that chronicles the history of the company and outlines its founders’ people-centric management style, which became a model adopted in part by many in Silicon Valley including companies like Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ) and Cisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O: ).

1997: HP becomes one of the 30 component stocks in the Dow Jones Industrial Average (.DJI: ). Its revenue is $43 billion.

1999: HP names Carleton (Carly) Fiorina president and chief executive. She was the first outsider appointed to lead the company and the most powerful woman in business at the time. She was the first woman to run a top-20 U.S. company.

2002: HP acquires Compaq Computer Corp in a $25 billion deal, after a contentious proxy battle that pitted Fiorina against Walter Hewlett, Bill’s son. The merger vote was seen as a key victory for Fiorina, who had drawn fire for ordering massive layoffs and her top-down management style.

February 2005: Fiorina is ousted by a board of directors unhappy with HP’s erratic financial results and the pricey Compaq merger, which did not produce the results she promised.

March 2005: HP picks another outsider as CEO: Mark Hurd, the 48-year-old chief of NCR Corp (NCR.N: ). Though NCR is a fraction of HP’s size, Hurd is credited with reversing the fortunes of the declining automatic teller machine maker and data warehouse company.

September 2006: HP says Chairman Patricia Dunn will step down in January 2007 after coming under fire for ordering an investigation into board leaks to the media. HP had hired private detectives to pose as board members and journalists to obtain their phone records. The so-called “pretexting scandal” prompted a congressional investigation.

Hurd becomes chairman in addition to CEO.

August 2008: HP buys technology services provider Electronic Data Systems Corp for $13.9 billion to better compete with IBM (IBM.N: ). It proceeds to lay off 24,600 employees to cut costs.

April 2010: HP announces deal to buy Palm Inc for $1.2 billion, setting it up to compete with Apple Inc (Read more about Apple stock future.) (AAPL.O: ) and other rivals in the smartphone and tablet markets.

August 6, 2010: Hurd resigns after HP accused him of filing false expense reports to hide a relationship with a female marketing contractor. HP says it will look both externally and internally for a new CEO. Chief Financial Officer Cathie Lesjak is appointed interim CEO.

(Reporting by Liana B. Baker, Editing by Maureen Bavdek)

Timeline – How HP became the world’s largest tech company