Repurposed Art (ahem...)

Jon Elson elson at
Tue Jul 18 23:42:37 CDT 2017

On 07/18/2017 09:45 PM, ben via cctalk wrote:
> Did any one ever use keypunch to tape or 8' floppy?
I got a Pertec key to tape machine surplus in about 1982 or 
so.  it had a keyboard and a field of submini lights that 
lit up the letters, numbers, etc on a panel.  You could 
write 80 character records onto tape, verify the data by 
retyping it, or read the tape record by record.  I pulled 
the key-to logic out, and there was a pretty simple 
interface level to the basic tape data logic.  I made a 
mostly software driven interface to my Z-80 CP/M system so i 
could have mag tape backup.
It had a 7" 9-track 800 BPI NRZI tape drive with single-gap 
head, so you had to back up and reread each block.
I did actually run the thing as intended for a few minutes 
to make sure the drive was working before digging into it.

I don't know if anybody else got one of these key to tape 
machines running, but it wasn't that hard.  The surplus 
outfit seemed to have a bunch of them.

I also got a monster from a guy.  It was two pieces, one was 
a massive Honeywell drum printer, which was what I wanted.  
The other piece was a key to tape machine, although it was 
more flexible than that.  Apparently, State Farm Insurance 
used it as an off-line printer.  You set some switches, 
mounted a tape, hit a button and it would print the contents 
of the tape.  (I know it was State Farm because the printer 
had a core memory buffer, and I managed to tease it to print 
out the last record it had processed.  The printer had a 
format editor in it, so any character could be programmed to 
come out anywhere on the page.  So, it printed out a 
complete dunning letter to some poor guy.  Over the years, I 
seem to have lost that piece of paper.)  But, this set could 
be used as a key to tape system.


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