Prowriter / Starwriter / Printmaster


Source: Compute! – Issue Number 28 – September 1982 

Printer technology has changed a lot over the years. This printer ad from 1982 has examples of the most common technologies from that era, dot matrix and daisy wheel.

The more professionally oriented and more expensive printers were dot matrix, primarily because they were much faster and more flexible. Dot matrix printers worked by impacting an ink ribbon, much like a typewriter ribbon, with a column of pins. There were 8, 9, and 24 pin varieties. More pins equated to higher quality output and greater expense. The Prowriters in this ad could print up to 120 characters per second. Dot matrix printers could also print graphics since the “dots” could make shapes other than letters.

Daisy wheel printers were cheaper, much slower and less flexible but quality was good. They used a wheel that contained the entire character set that could be printed and worked much like a typewriter. While the quality was quite good, daisy wheel printers were very slow generally making them a poor choice for high volume business related printing. They also were not very good for printing graphics since they were limited to printing the characters on the wheel. The Starwriter and Printmaster in this add could do 40 and 55 characters per second respectively.