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Dover Laser Printer

Dataproducts printer

Print Mechanisms

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High-speed computer printer, c. 1975
Credit: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Printing

Early predictions about computers often forecast a world in which the ‘paperless office’ would eliminate the need for printing, reducing costs and eliminating waste. Yet printing has always been, and continues to be, of central importance to our world. Many different methods of printing have been devised. In the 1960s, mainframe printers–which were typically used for very large office procedures such as billing–used high-speed mechanisms such as chains or drums. Minicomputers tended to rely on teletypewriters, daisy wheel, or dot-matrix systems, as did early microcomputers. The laser printer became an economical technology in the mid-1980s as did the inkjet printer a decade later. Both of these latter technologies also had the advantage of optional color printing.

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