Printing at Livermore

From 1955 thru 1967

First there was the “Unityper” which typed stuff from magnetic tapes written at low density by the Univac I. That was scarcely faster than 10 character/sec. They were cheap and we had several.

Then we bought a 600 line per minute drum printer from Rem Rand. It was immediately converted to reading IBM tapes because the 701 had arrived and was a more important computer. It was unreliable with our work load and required a heavy maintenance.

The LARC produced undeveloped film with an image of graphics or text. That was an efficient, but high latency solution.

A few years later Livermore acquired a machine from Stromberg Carlson which used a charactron to produce an image on a Xerographic drum which was then transferred to paper. Its output was fan folded pater but that was iffy. An electric charge was put on the drum, then the light from the CRT reached the drum and disapated selected charge. Then toner (a powered ink) was dribbled over the drum. Toner stuck to the charged places on the drum. The toner was applied to the paper by contact. The paper was heated to “set the toner”. Sometimes the paper caught fire. If the heat was not just right the text on the paper would be transient; sometimes you could blow your output away. There were many analog knobs to align the deflectors for the charactron. An engineer adjusting these was a common sight. Livermore supplied the mechanism that folded the output.

Then came the Radiation Printer.