The year 2009 marks the 75th birthday of Barco. Throughout the decades that have passed since Lucien De Puydt founded the company 1934, Barco covered a vast number of different markets and products.
Originally, Barco’s name was an acronym for the “Belgian-American Radio Company”. It manufactured a popular brand of radios that quickly gained renown through their forward-thinking technology and clever marketing approach.
In 1949, Barco made its first strides in visualization with a multi-standard television. Located in the convenient overlap zone between different signal standards, it became the recognized leader in that field. In 1967, Barco was one of the first European companies to introduce color TV. Building on this expertise, Barco successfully entered the professional broadcast market in the late ‘60s.
From the ‘60s and onwards, Barco branched out into numerous other activities, which included mechanical components for industrial use, and quality control monitoring for the textile and plastics industries. In 1967, Barco became the first European manufacturer to produce transistor-based portable televisions.
1979 saw Barco’s first forays into projection technology. It pioneered the innovative development of cathode ray tube (CRT) projection aboard airplanes, which would jumpstart Barco’s entry into the projection business. The coming years also reoriented Barco as a company focused solely on professional markets.
In the mid ‘80s, Barco became the prime projection technology supplier for computer giants IBM, Apple and Hewlett-Packard, setting industry-wide standards. In the late ‘80s, it entered the stock market. By 1991, Barco’s market share in the graphics projection market alone reached a staggering 75%, and the company had established offices spanning the entire world, including regional headquarters in the United States and East-Asia.
Through the ‘90s and the first decade of the new millennium, Barco was involved in pioneering and pushing new display technologies such as liquid crystal display (LCD), light-emitting diodes (LED), Texas Instruments’s Digital Light Processing (DLP), and later, liquid crystal on silicon (LCoS). Its global reach now spanned a variety of markets, including media and entertainment, security and monitoring, medical imaging, avionics, defense, 3D and virtual reality, digital cinema, traffic control, broadcast and training and simulation.