[rescue] New acquisition... (AIX)

Sheldon T. Hall shel at cmhcsys.com
Tue Apr 6 10:33:38 CDT 2004

Lionel Peterson said ...

> In my HS we got a donated printer, that was quite odd - it had a
> 132 column wide "wheel" that had every printable character in a
> vertical circle around the wheel, and between the wheel and the
> paper was the ribbon. To type a character, a moving hammer went
> from side to side while the type wheel spun... as the type wheel
> and hammer were in tohe proper position, the hammer would knock
> the paper onto the ribbon, which would then hit the type wheel
> and put the character on the paper...

That was a common technology of the age.

On our NCR 315 (circa 1972) we had a similar printer, except that it had 132
hammers, IIRC.  It was pretty fast, but it sounded like you were being
strafed by giant bumblebees with Gatling guns.

It handled up to 6-part paper with interleaved carbon layers.  Of course, we
had a machine to separate the copies, wind up the carbons, etc.  It was
almost faster than doing it by hand, too, but it was a little cleaner, since
you handled the carbons less.  Either way, though, the "paper monkey" looked
like a coal miner by the end of his shift.  Since I was the monkey when I
started, I was quite happy when we went to carbonless multi-part paper.

When we got the NCR Century that replaced the 315, we got a "chain printer,"
but by then I had become a programmer and didn't go in the machine room
much.  I do remember the chain printer as being faster and louder than the
drum printer, though.


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