VT52s, VT61s lots of DEC and DG keyboards- return trip through Maine, MA, NY, PA, OH, IN to IL

Paul Koning paulkoning at comcast.net
Tue Oct 13 11:06:45 CDT 2015

> On Oct 13, 2015, at 11:52 AM, tony duell <ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk> wrote:
>> The only other terminal I worked
>> with that could do that was a Tektronix storage scope terminal (4010
>> or 4014, IIRC).  The Tek printer wasn't built-in, but it did take a
>> scan of the live screen, so that was similar.  The paper was
>> silver-grey and I remember it coming out wet too.  Everything else I
>> worked with was either thermal or dot-matrix impact, and could only
>> capture text as it arrived at the terminal, not a screen image.
> The tektronix printer (or 'copier' as they called it) was photographic. The 
> paper was light-sensitive, and went past the screen of a 'flat' CRT (I think
> it only had deflection plates for one axis, the 'deflection' in the other
> direction coming from the paper movement). It really was an odd-looking
> tube.

I've never seen that printer.  But the tube you describe was common in the 1970s in high end phototypesetting machines, such as the Autologic APS-5 and the Linotron 202.  I think the idea was to make high resolution CRT display feasible by having to worry only about accuracy in one coordinate, not two.  The film movement (actually paper, essentially a roll of photo-print paper) would provide the other coordinate.  Unlike the Tektronix machine you describe, phototypesetter output was developed in essentially the same manner as photographic print, with developer and fixer chemicals, in a machine that would take the paper casette as input and produce the developed/fixed/dried roll of finished material coming out the other end.  The roll of paper would then be cut to separate the individual columns and articles, and pasted onto cardboard page size boards to produce the finished layout.

At some point, there were machines that could produce page-width paper, but those were rather expensive and useful only once you got software to do the page layout on the computer instead of manually in the composing room.

I believe that phototypesetting is obsolete now, though it hung on surprisingly long, certainly into the 1990s -- because laser printout was high enough resolution to read, but not good enough to use as the master for offset printing.  I think phototypesetters were good to 1000 dpi or thereabouts, unlike the 300-600 dpi of the first decade or so of laser printers.


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