Almost-Modern TeleType is Silent
By Al Williams
If you’ve ever used a real TeleType machine or seen a movie with a newsroom, you know that one TeleType makes a lot of noise and several make even more.[CuriousMarc] acquired the silent replacement, a real wonder of its day, the TI Silent 703. The $2,600 machine was portable if you think hauling a 25-pound suitcase around is portable. In 1971, it was definitely a step up.19
The machine used a thermal printer, could have a built-in acoustic coupler for talking over the phone. You could also get a dual tape drive that acted like a mostly silent paper tape reader and punch.
Of course, thermal printers require thermal paper, which has its own issues. [Marc] doesn’t just turn the machine on, but connects it through an RS232 analyzer and scope to get it working as a real I/O device. He also tears into it, something you probably couldn’t do back in the day since you probably leased them rather than pay the total price which is almost $18,000 today.
There was surprisingly little inside and, of course, compared to a real TeleType, very few mechanical parts. If you remove the printer and power supply, there’s a simple CPU board and a modem board, none of which look terribly sophisticated. The highlight, though, is watching it trade traffic with an ASR33.
If you really want to get into TeleTypes, you can use one as a Linux console if you have a Baudot to ASCII decoder ring. Or use one to send text messages.
December 9, 2021 at 04:00AM
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