DEC Letterprinter 100 -- what are they selling for?

Allison ajp166 at
Sun Nov 23 17:08:26 CST 2008

>Subject: Re: DEC Letterprinter 100 -- what are they selling for?
>   From: ard at (Tony Duell)
>   Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2008 21:27:30 +0000 (GMT)
>     To: cctalk at
>> From: <js at>
>> >
>> > Are DEC Letterprinter 100's in nice, working, non-noticeably-yellowed 
>> > condition worth anything at present?   Or are they pretty much recycling 
>> > fodder?
>> Don't know if they are worth anything, I've never had to pay for one - they 
>> just keep arriving here!
>I have no idea what they're worth either. I was given a couple with my 
>11/730 system... IIRC the Letterprinter is the RO (no keyboard) model, 
>the Letterwriter is the KSR (with keyboard) one.
>> They are useful though, as they correctly emulate a Teletype and allow 
>> overprinting, which most modern printers don't, but I suppose that's only 
>> useful if you have an interest in ASCII art!
>It's a 9 pin dot-matrix head which is tilted mechanically (a pair of 
>solenoids shuttling a shaped core to and fro inside the carriage) to give 
>18 pin resolution in 2 passes. I find them interesting because of that 
>curious mechanism.

I have two LA100ro as they proved in the field to be rugged and I got to 
see that from the point of view of DEC printers engineering.  The curious
approach to "18pin" printing was twofold.  One was to allow fast draft 
quality printing and the other was rugged high quality printing that could 
still punch multipart forms with a known reliable head.  At that time there
were a few 18 pin heads but they didn't have the long term life at sustained
high print rates.  Note, this is a 1984-5 design so understand that many 
printers at that time were of smaller or less rugged style or really 
imposing printers. 

The LA100RO is most valuable to businesses that still used wide pinfed (assuming 
you have the forms tractor) multipart forms.

In the high quality mode it does print decently and the graphics printing is 
not as slow as some dot matrix were.


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