Lineprinter

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Missing image
Drukarka_wierszowa_beben.jpg
Fragment of lineprinter cylinder
with the type of "%"

The Line printer is a form of high speed impact printer in which a line of type is printed at a time. Printed type is set at fixed positions and a line could consist of any number of character positions but 80 column, 128 column and 160 column variants were common. In a typical design, a fixed font character set is engraved onto the periphery of a number of print wheels, the number matching the number of columns. The wheels spin at high speed and paper and an inked ribbon are stepped past the print position. As the desired character for each column passes the print position a hammer strikes the paper and ribbon causing the desired character to be recorded on the continuous paper. Other variations had the type on moving bars or a spinning chain (e.g. the IBM 1403).

This technology is still in use in a number of applications. It is usually both faster and less expensive (in total ownership) than laser printers. In printing box labels, medium volume accounting and and other large business applications, line printers remain in use. Multi-part paper forms (carbon copies) are sometimes useful when exact copies are needed for legal accountability or other reasons. Because of the limited character set engraved on the wheels and the fixed spacing of type, this technology was never useful for material of high readability such as books or newspapers.

Laser printers became popular when word processing replaced typewriters. In high volume printing, continuous form laser printers have become popular. These no longer had fixed columns or monospaced type and offered a range of fonts as well as graphics. The technology operates in a similar way to single sheet laser printing.

pl:drukarka wierszowa

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