Printer (computing)

HP LaserJet 5 printer
The Game Boy Pocket Printer, a thermal printer released as a peripheral for the Nintendo Game Boy
This is an example of a wide-carriage dot matrix printer, designed for 14 in wide paper, shown with 8.5 x legal paper. Wide carriage printers were often used in the field of businesses, to print accounting records on 11 x tractor-feed paper. They were also called "132-column printers".
Liquid ink cartridge from Hewlett-Packard HP 845C inkjet printer
HP Deskjet, an inkjet printer
A disassembled dye sublimation cartridge
Receipt printer printing a Twitter timeline
Epson MX-80, a popular model of dot-matrix printer in use for many years
typeball print element from IBM Selectric-type printer
"daisy wheel" print element
Sample output from 9-pin dot matrix printer (one character expanded to show detail)
Print drum from drum printer
IBM 1403 line printer
A Calcomp 565 drum plotter
An illustration showing small yellow tracking dots on white paper, generated by a color laser printer

Peripheral machine which makes a persistent representation of graphics or text, usually on paper.

- Printer (computing)
HP LaserJet 5 printer

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A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

Peripheral

Auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of a computer.

Auxiliary device used to put information into and get information out of a computer.

A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

An output device provides output data from the computer, such as a computer monitor, projector, printer, headphones and computer speaker;

IBM 1403 line printer, the classic line printer of the mainframe era.

Line printer

IBM 1403 line printer, the classic line printer of the mainframe era.
Drum Printer
Typical typeface of a drum printer with staggered characters (mainframe; about 1965)
Fragment of line printer drum showing "%" characters.
Fragment of printer band, sitting on test printout for the characters (top) and hammer flight times (bottom)
An IBM 1403 printer opened up as it would be to change paper. Note form tractors on each side of the paper and carriage control tape in upper right. Print chain is covered by full width ribbon on open gate, lower right.
Green-zebra-paper
A type bar line printer was incorporated in the IBM 402 and 403 accounting machines.
An IBM 716 line printer, based on the IBM 407 wheel mechanism, attached to an IBM 7090 mainframe at NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center during Project Mercury.

A line printer prints one entire line of text before advancing to another line.

Metal Daisy Wheel for Xerox & Diablo printers

Daisy wheel printing

Metal Daisy Wheel for Xerox & Diablo printers
Plastic Daisy Wheel for Qume printers
Samples of daisy wheel printer output. Actual print is much crisper than these images
The Royal LetterMaster, a budget daisy-wheel printer from the 1980s
The print-head and daisy wheel on a Xerox/Diablo D-25 printer.

Daisy wheel printing is an impact printing technology invented in 1970 by Andrew Gabor at Diablo Data Systems.

Blueprint of the French galleon La Belle

Blueprint

Reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets.

Reproduction of a technical drawing or engineering drawing using a contact print process on light-sensitive sheets.

Blueprint of the French galleon La Belle
Architectural drawing, 1902
Architectural drawing, Canada, 1936
Whiteprint plan copy.

As computer-aided design techniques came into use, the designs were printed directly using a computer printer or plotter.

Hewlett-Packard 9862A calculator plotter

Plotter

Machine that produces vector graphics drawings.

Machine that produces vector graphics drawings.

Hewlett-Packard 9862A calculator plotter
Illustration of the layers of flex and flock foils (used in textile printing): carrier foil, colour coat & covering layer (including hot melt)
Inkjet plotter
Homemade plotter using stepper motors and a ballpoint pen to draw.

This means that plotters are vector graphics devices, rather than raster graphics as with other printers.

HP LaserJet 4200 series printer, installed atop high-capacity paper feeder

Laser printing

Electrostatic digital printing process.

Electrostatic digital printing process.

HP LaserJet 4200 series printer, installed atop high-capacity paper feeder
Gary Starkweather (seen here in 2009) invented the laser printer.
Diagram of a laser printer
Applying a negative charge to the photosensitive drum
Laser light selectively neutralizes the negative charge on the photoreceptive drum, to form an electrostatic image
Laser unit from a Dell P1500. The white hexagon is the rotating scanner mirror.
Toner is fused onto paper with heat and pressure
Magnification of color laser printer output, showing individual toner particles comprising 4 dots of an image with a bluish background
Fuji Xerox color laser printer C1110B
Small yellow dots on white paper, generated by a color laser printer, are nearly invisible. (Click to see higher-resolution image)

As with digital photocopiers, laser printers employ a xerographic printing process.

A Xerox photocopier in 2010

Photocopier

Machine that makes copies of documents and other visual images onto paper or plastic film quickly and cheaply.

Machine that makes copies of documents and other visual images onto paper or plastic film quickly and cheaply.

A Xerox photocopier in 2010
DADF or Duplex Automatic Document feeder - Canon IR6000
Schematic overview of the xerographic photocopying process (step 1–4)

During the 1980s, a convergence began in some high-end machines towards what came to be called a multi-function printer: a device that combined the roles of a photocopier, a fax machine, a scanner, and a computer network-connected printer.

An artist's depiction of a 2000s-era desktop-style personal computer, which includes a metal case with the computing components, a display monitor and a keyboard (mouse not shown)

Personal computer

Multi-purpose microcomputer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use.

Multi-purpose microcomputer whose size, capabilities, and price make it feasible for individual use.

An artist's depiction of a 2000s-era desktop-style personal computer, which includes a metal case with the computing components, a display monitor and a keyboard (mouse not shown)
Commodore PET in 1983 (at the American Museum of Science and Energy), an early example of a personal computer
The 8-bit architecture Pravetz 82 computer produced in Bulgaria from 1982, in school class in the Soviet Union
Altair 8800 computer
The three personal computers referred to by Byte Magazine as the "1977 Trinity" of home computing: The Commodore PET, the Apple II, and the TRS-80 Model I.
IBM 5150, released in 1981
The 8-bit PMD 85 personal computer produced in 1985–1990 by the Tesla company in the former socialist Czechoslovakia
Sun SPARCstation 1+ from the early 1990s, with a 25 MHz RISC processor
A Dell OptiPlex desktop computer
A portable computer Cambridge Z88 released in 1987
A laptop computer
An HP netbook
HP Compaq tablet PC with rotating/removable keyboard
The LG G4, a typical smartphone
A screenshot of the LibreOffice Writer software
A screenshot of Krita, which is a raster graphics editor.
Children being taught how to use a laptop computer in 2005. An older (1990s-era) desktop personal computer's CRT monitor is visible in the background.
Personal computers worldwide in million distinguished by developed and developing world

Practical use required adding peripherals such as keyboards, computer displays, disk drives, and printers.

The London Science Museum's difference engine, the first one actually built from Babbage's design. The design has the same precision on all columns, but in calculating polynomials, the precision on the higher-order columns could be lower.

Difference engine

Automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions.

Automatic mechanical calculator designed to tabulate polynomial functions.

The London Science Museum's difference engine, the first one actually built from Babbage's design. The design has the same precision on all columns, but in calculating polynomials, the precision on the higher-order columns could be lower.
Closeup of the London Science Museum's difference engine showing some of the number wheels and the sector gears between columns. The sector gears on the left show the double-high teeth very clearly. The sector gears on the middle-right are facing the back side of the engine, but the single-high teeth are clearly visible. Notice how the wheels are mirrored, with counting up from left-to-right, or counting down from left-to-right. Also notice the metal tab between "6" and "7". That tab trips the carry lever in the back when "9" passes to "0" in the front during the add steps (Step 1 and Step 3).
Fully operational difference engine at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California

In 2002, the printer which Babbage originally designed for the difference engine was also completed.

A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

Character (computing)

Unit of information that roughly corresponds to a grapheme, grapheme-like unit, or symbol, such as in an alphabet or syllabary in the written form of a natural language.

Unit of information that roughly corresponds to a grapheme, grapheme-like unit, or symbol, such as in an alphabet or syllabary in the written form of a natural language.

A human computer, with microscope and calculator, 1952

Examples of control characters include carriage return or tab, as well as instructions to printers or other devices that display or otherwise process text.