Oct 11 2017

The Computer Chronicles – Printers (1983)

Have you ever seen the movie “Office Space”? If you have, then you will certainly remember a certain antagonist in the film that wasn’t a human – it was a machine. In this case, the office Printer.

They are funny things, really, the typical printer – it seems since their inception, people have had a love hate relationship with these things. We loved them because they allowed us for the first time to easily print complex computer generated documents and images from our homes. We hate them because, well, they never seem to work right! Also, they are still as slow as ever, still lagging behind the rest of computer technology!

When combined with word processors, they ushered in the desktop publishing boom – now, anyone could get their thoughts out there to the masses, a feat that wouldn’t be rivaled until the development of the World Wide Web on the Internet a little over a decade later.

Of course, today we pretty much always use inkjet or laser printers at home. Certainly you don’t see daisy wheel or dot matrix systems anymore! It’s interesting to see how both printer technology and word processor tech, combined together, supplanted and replaced the Typewriter, but that’s beyond the scope of this Computer Chronicles episode. I do like to think about the “big picture” though and think about how this is just a continuation of our drive to mechanically put our ideas onto paper. Modern printers are just another stage in all of this, but I digress…

Here, instead, we just take a look at the state of the art in printer technology 35 years ago, in 1983!

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