[ Retro Scan ] Lanier Model 103 Word Processor

January 30th, 2017 by Benj Edwards

AES Montreal Lanier Model 103 NoProblem No Problem Records Manager flyer scan - 1970sLarge and in charge

Well over a decade ago, I picked up a Lanier Model 103 No Problem word processor system (ca. 1978) and a matching daisy wheel printer for free from a local hamfest. I was lucky enough to get disks for it too, so I could boot it up and play around with it some.

This No Problem system was a dedicated-purpose computer running an 8080 CPU and custom word processing or database software. It was aimed at small businesses and publications such as newspapers, and it cost accordingly — somewhere between $10,000 and $15,000 depending on the configuration. You can see what it looked like in the scan above — this scan comes from some literature that I received with the system.

My Model 103 came equipped with two single-sided, hard-sectored full-height 5.25″ floppy drives, a green screen CRT, and a full-sized keyboard build into a huge fiberglass shell with a heavy cast-aluminum base. It must have weighed at least 60 pounds. It took up an entire shelf in my garage, and there it sat unused for half a decade.

I meant to write about it on VC&G, but never got around to it. I even spoke to a Lanier veteran about it via email. But it got put on the back burner, and eventually my garage ran out of space for my collection, so something had to go. I picked the Lanier Model 103, took it apart for educational purposes (likely saved some parts), then recycled the rest.

I still kinda regret getting rid of it, but man it took up a lot of space and something had to go. I did save the disks, though, if anyone needs them.

[ From Lanier NoProblem Records Manager Flyer, ca. 1978 ]

Discussion Topic: Did you ever use a dedicated word processor machine? Tell us about it.

3 Responses to “[ Retro Scan ] Lanier Model 103 Word Processor”

  1. Geoff V. Says:

    What a beast! Thanks for sharing.

  2. Trilkhai Says:

    I used a Brother PowerNote, which looked like a laptop, in the mid ’90s for a short while. IIRC it had a 5ish-inch tall 80-column green LCD display, no backlight, a 3½” floppy drive, saved to an obscure proprietary file format, and could only convert to/from plain text. It’s sitting out in the garage somewhere.

    My mother bought it because we fell for the cleverly-worded store display, which implied that I could easily just save to/from the floppy whenever I wanted to switch between the Brother and desktop. Converting whatever file I was working on twice (incoming & outgoing on the Brother *and* computer) was enough of a pain in the butt that I rarely used it. (Mom hates to return things, and I was too shy/inexperienced as a teen to do it for her.)

  3. V Says:

    They were still being sold when I worked at OfficeMax in 1998-1999. Rather I should say, they still had them on display, I don’t think I remember anyone buying one. People did come in for ink ribbons for them, though, so I know some people still used them.

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