Brief History of the Teletype Machine


The most fascinating  piece of technology and my most favorite is the teleprinter, also
called the teletype machine.  The history and contributions of this single device speaks volumes.

The printing telegraph, was patented in 1846, and like telegraph, was a digital device but required
no trained morse code operator.  The printing telegraph evolved over many years with
innumerable patents and improvements.  It bridged many modern technologies throughout it's
history with features that resemble today's  DeLorme inReach global satellite communicator the Exploror
that will operate over Iridium's NEXT network set to be deployed in 2015-2017.  Wow!

  Exploror, a Walkie -Talkie size handheld that can send and receive text messages
from / to any location on earth and to any cell phone or email address while also revealing its location in the text message.  

While the teletype machine was first used during the days of telegraph, it continued in service during
WWII as a device critical for scrambling communication messages on the battle field.  The teletype
machine was used by the Associated Press after the war and continued in service up to and including
the computer age.   The electro-mechanical  teletype machine was employed as an input/output
for the early digital computers before the days of keyboards and monitor screens.

Pictured above is a model 33 teletype machine I used on my Tandy TRS-80 computer as a printer.  (1982)

Pictured below, I used a model 19 teletype machine to send and receive text messages over
my ham radio station.  It was called radio teletype back then, and not wireless text messaging
as it would be considered today.  (1975)

Alone the way the mechanical teletype machine, a digital device, was used over the old
analog telephone network (pre 1980's) for the hearing impaired using an acoustic 
modem to convert the digital signal into analog tones for communicating.

Also along the way, the mechanical teletype machine was converted into an
electronic solid state device that gave birth to the personal computer.  Another Wow!

This is only a brief overview of a marvelous machine that has connected many technologies
from the telegraph to the computer age, a digital device which bridged the advances of
modern communications, and contributed some advances of its own along the way.

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