Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Of interest:

We all use inkjet and laser printers now . . . . but what was the earliest electronic printer?


Samuel F. B. Morse: His first device, built in 1835, used a pencil
and paper tape to record electric signals transmitted by a "portrule"
metal bar device. By 1837-38, telegraph operators quickly learned
to send and receive solely from the sound of the clicks rather than
using paper tape.

Mr. S. S. Laws: In 1867, Mr. Laws invented the "gold indicator,"
which was then used by the Gold Exchange on Wall Street. The
Indicator was a device that displayed the price of gold by using
double-faced panels that flipped to the appropriate numbers. One
side of the panel faced out the window of the Gold Exchange and was
visible to New Street, and the other side of the panel was visible
to the traders inside the exchange. Laws was assisted by F.L. Pope,
who would later become an early partner of Thomas Edison.

Thomas Edison: Edison worked on a device called the Edison
Telegraph Printer. This device was designed to make it possible for
a lower-skilled person to run a telegraph apparatus because it
printed out a message in readable text. The Edison Telegraph Printer
dates to approximately 1867 when Edison was a young telegrapher
working in Boston. This type of technology would evolve into the
introduction of the first stock tickers.

E. A. Calahan: In 1867, Mr. E.A. Calahan of the American
Telegraph Company invented the first stock telegraph printing

Thomas Edison: Edison and two other competing inventors, Elisha
Gray and G.M. Phelps, also worked on a device similar to the stock
ticker. They called these machines Private Line Printers. These
devices had a keyboard to send a message, type wheels, and paper
tape to receive the message. 1870

Charles Krum: Charles Krum and his son developed a crude teletype
machine which they patented on 8/22/1903. It was called the typebar
page printer.

1915: Teletype offers speeds of 30 or 50 words per minute.

1939: Speed reaches 75 words per minute.

1944: Speed reaches 100 words per minute.

1957: Teleprinter introduces speeds of 300 words per minute.

In 1960, The New York Quotation Company introduced the last
mechanical ticker. This extremely fast machine was eventually
replaced by modern-day computers and electronic displays

BTW ASCII (the character code for printing and for monitors) appears
in 1958 - modified in 1963 - and ends up in its final form in 1967.

(How many of you remember the TWX machine before we had fax?)

Submitted by Ted Perzeszty