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Flashback Friday: Dot Matrix Printers

by Sean P. Aune | November 12, 2010November 12, 2010 4:00 pm PDT

When reviewing the Epson WorkForce 635 this week, it made me think back to the old days of printing.  Back to the time where running a lengthy document could take ages, and you ran the risk of getting a headache from all of the noise.  Of course I’m talking about the magical time of dot matrix printers.

Back in the 1980’s, when I was rocking a Commodore 64, I can remember my first printer was an Okidata Okimate 120.  It was a simple printer that used the spooled paper, but it got the job done for printing out what I needed.

dot mtrxWhat I remember most clearly was the noise level.  Back in those days my father and I shared an office in our house, with my parent’s bedroom right across the hall.  If someone decided to go to bed, and I still needed to print something out, I had to close their bedroom door, the office door, and slide the printer drawer back in to the desk, and then you might have muffled the noise enough not to wake someone up.  Yes, it was just that loud and irritating.

Playing with the WorkForce 635, or even using any of my various laser printers at work, it still amazes me how quickly and quietly pages come out, especially my color laser printer.  That thing pops out a full color page in less time than it takes my black & white laser to spit out a page of nothing but text.  I may have been around this technology for years now, but it still impresses me.

Dot matrix, for it’s time, was revolutionary.  No more using a type writer only to find a text in the middle of a sentence that you would then have to try to align everything correctly to fix.  Typo?  Fix the file, print again.  Sure it wasn’t as quick to as it is today, but it was still a dream compared to typewriters.

So, thank you printer technology for getting quieter and faster, but I will still at least tip my hat to your dot matrix past.


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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