[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Satanic Printing Rites

October 27th, 2008 by Benj Edwards

Qantex - Interface Age 1983(click for full advertisement)

Since Friday is Halloween, I’ve pulled out this scary, 25 year-old ad from Interface Age. The Devil doesn’t look too happy with Qantex’s latest offering — the joke being that Qantex’s new model is compatible with Diablo printers. If any of you attend a costume party this Halloween, feel free to dress as the Qantex Devil. Be sure to take pictures.

[ From Interface Age, November 1983 ]

Discussion topic of the week: Remember dot-matrix, impact, and daisy-wheel printers? How about thermal, bubble-jet, ink-jet, and laser? Tell us about your earliest printer experiences, good and bad.

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10 Responses to “[ Retro Scan of the Week ] Satanic Printing Rites”

  1. Jurgi ex-atarian Says:

    My first was very late. It was excellent Epson LQ-100 24-pin dot-matrix printer, with scallable fonts and many rare functions. It was bought for cooperation with my… old Atari 65XE! I did many desktop publishing with this set, I had to write special driver for the printer to use it’s functions. The result was much better than comparable work did with PC, but it was really hard work – all functions were call with my own special language, something similar (in general purpose and idea) to html.
    I still have this hardware. The printer is about 14 years old and it still works with no repairs or even simple maintenance. Amazingly durable hardware.

  2. Robert Says:

    I remember those Epson dot-matrix beasts. Those things were unkillable productivity machines. Loved ’em!

  3. Greg Says:

    My first printer was the Apple Scribe, which came with the Apple IIc that my grandmother got from the bank for putting her money in an account there (remember when banks gave away stuff for opening a large account?) That little thermal transfer printer served me well for probably 3 or 4 years, until I got a IIgs with an ImageWriter II.
    Man, that 7-pin dot matrix was fast compared to the Scribe. And its Near Letter-Quality mode was … almost letter-quality!
    Then it was an Apple StyleWriter II in college – the beginning of my life with ink-jet printers. Now I only use ink-jets for photo printing – there’s a LaserWriter Pro 630 on our ethernet network that does all the black and white stuff. That thing’s got over 270,000 pages on the engine, and it’s still going strong. I picked it up from a former employer who spent over $10,000 in repair fees trying to get it to work. Turns out a quick trip to fixyourownprinter.com told me I needed a $60 part to get it to work again. 🙂

  4. Layne Says:

    Commodore MPS 801 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_64_peripherals#Printers

    But my best memory of old printers came while I was in High School. I was helping my girlfriend with an assignment and it was taking too long to run (this was on a University VAX) and we needed to go. So I set it up to run in batch mode but forgot to turn off spooling to the default printer……they had just loaded a brand new box of wide green-bar form-feed paper and the next morning, we came in and it was all spooled out and the dot matrix printer had etched my login into the platen. I got into a little bit of trouble for that…..but it was a very memorable event.


  5. Travis Says:

    My first computer and printer was from Radio Shack’s Tandy Line, I forget the exact model but it may have been the TL/2 Anyway, it came with a Tandy DMP130A printer. It was the slowest, nosiest printer I ever remember hearing. In fact, when working on school assignments late at night, I had to wait until morning to print because it was so loud it would wake up my parents!

    My family purchased this beast of a computer and printer in 1989 and we used it until 1998 (My sophomore year of high school), when we finally got our first modern era computer with a CD-ROM drive, a 56K modem and an ink jet printer. That Tandy printer never died or had a single problem over it’s nine year lifespan, printing my papers from first grade through 10th grade. Ever since I’ve been buying ink jet printers, they only last 2-4 years tops. Those dot matrix machines were workhorses.

  6. Jim Hickle Says:

    Tandy DMP132, cost $279, 1987 or ’88. Spent hours disassembling a MacPaint picture viewing program that ran on a Color Computer 2, then wrote a driver for the printer. It took 20 minutes to print a letter-size picture of Heather Locklear. I still use this printer with a Coco 3.

  7. JustJimi Says:

    My second printer was a Tandy DMP 132 for my CoCo 2 (and later CoCo 3). Damn those 7 pins were noisy, and slow, and ugly! My first printer, and I have absolutely no idea what brand or model it was, was for my C64. It was thermal and printet 40 columns on this tiny roll paper that was basically receipt stock. But in 1983, damn was it cool!!!

  8. Ralph Says:

    After sponging off other people for printouts, I received a DAK ‘Gorilla’ printer, which I happily used for about 5 years until I got a Canon ‘bubble-jet’ printer. Suffered ink-jet dreck for years until getting a Tek/Xerox Phaser printer, which I expect to last for a few years with much lower consumable costs thank ink-jet.

  9. B Says:

    I remeber have a comodore MPS801, but what I really remember was wanting an OkiMate 20 color thermal transfer printer (color ribbons that melted the ink to the special paper) so that I could print out the stuff I was drawing on my C64 with my Koala pad tablet (1 level of pressure sensitivity).

    I got that printer as a Christmas gift (I can’t remember the year, 87 maybe) and I recall having to go to get ribbons and paper in the nearest big town about an hour away.

    That thing ate ribbons like nobody’s business. It was a single ribbon with a couple inches of magenta, then cyan, then yellow, then a bit of black. I think it would wind back and forth to get the colors needed, then move onto an unused part of the ribbon.

    If you had thermal transfer paper (like on cash registers) it could print without a ribbon at all, but nobody liked it when I turned in papers printed on a single 8 foot scroll!

  10. GrayGaffer Says:

    from the uphill backwards both ways school:

    1: forgotten technology – In 1972 I had to find out why a dot matrix printer was unreliable. It worked by dragging this vertical array of 7 electrodes across the surface of a special two layer paper. The bottom layer was conductive and carbon-black. Marks were made by spark-eroding the top layer off. At this point many of you can probably guess the culprit. Yes, the control logic showed the same appreciation for elegant design as the print head. Control loop was a daisy chain of single-shots, relied on precisely one being active at any time. Spark gaps. Grounds (not). Hilarity ensued.

    2: at the other end of the reliability spectrum then was the ASR 33 Teletype. Hundreds, if not thousands, of moving parts. And I never, ever, saw one so much as hiccup. Amazing. Noisy, slow, throws chad everywhere from the paper tape punch, but amazing.

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