Classic Computer Magazine Archive COMPUTE! ISSUE 41 / OCTOBER 1983 / PAGE 10


The Editors and Readers of COMPUTE!

Using An Electric Typewriter As A Printer

After reading an article in the June COMPUTE!, "How to Buy the Right Printer," several readers were intrigued by the possibility of using an electric typewriter as a printer for their computer. Although we cautioned that an electric typewriter may not be fast or durable enough to tolerate continuous typing, there are several interfaces on the market which let you connect your computer to an electric typewriter.

Some modern daisywheel typewriters have an RS-232 serial port, so (assuming your computer can talk to RS-232 devices) if you have the proper cable and software you can attach your computer directly. Other companies manufacture overlays that "press" the keys for you, or have you open up the typewriter to install solenoids which activate levers inside the typewriter. Still another company claims to have a device that converts "computer language" to "typewriter language," but only for certain models. With the price of even letter-quality printers dropping below $400, however, you will have to consider whether or not you want to risk modification of your typewriter which could void its warranty or service contract.