word processor history -- interesting article (Evan Koblentz)

Chuck Guzis cclist at sydex.com
Fri Jul 8 14:13:30 CDT 2016

On 07/08/2016 11:46 AM, Paul Berger wrote:

> Before displaywriter the OP division of IBM produced the Office
> system 6 which had a really cool inkjet printer.... as long as you
> didn't have to fix them service reps called them "Spray and pray"
> They where not a thermal inkjet like most modern ones, but rather
> used a pressurized ink system to force the ink through nozzles on the
> print head, I saw one operating without the shroud around the
> printhead that sucked back overspray, it was really cool the print
> head moved along silently and the character just appeared on the
> page.

I recall seeing the IBM inkjet printer at a late 70s NCC.  IIRC it used
electrostatics to deflect the ink drops to their proper position.

> The first purpose built wordprocessor I ever saw was a Micom system
> in a government office around 1980/81.  Micom first made
> wordprocessors based on 8080 around 1975.

Another one that pops into my head was CPT, which used a page-edit sort
of terminal. The system spewed a page's worth of text to the terminal,
which was then edited on the terminal offline.  The operator then hit
"send" (or some such) to transmit the edited content back to the host.
I still have a flipchart reference and a few 8" CPT disks.

Some WPs, such as Artec, used a Diablo KSR with a one-line LCD mounted
on it and a floor-standing dual 8" drive main unit.  IIRC, there was a
CRT option available, but it was expensive.

Then there were the systems installed in newspaper bullpens--essentially
smart terminals hooked to a server.  I don't recall the leading brand,
but I think Lanier was very big in that area.

Initially, I think the biggest advantages of the early wapros was the
ability to make edits to existing documents and to create multiple
copies of the same document.  I wonder how many of the young 'uns here
have experienced the joys of carbon paper (especially when accidentally
reversed) or having to re-type a whole page of text to make a few simple


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