Centronics 761 Printer

Before USB sticks and floppy disks, the primary option for output from a computer was the printer. At that time, printers were big, heavy industrial-class beasts designed for constant use. Centronics was an important leader in the printer market. In fact, its Centronics interface became a standard for parallel ports to this day.

Centronics 761
Source: Centronics, 1977

The Centronics 761 printer was typical for the late 1970s. By then the terminal printers were starting to shrink in size and generate a little less noise. Many retained a keyboard to communicate with the mainframe or minicomputer they typically connected to. A dot-matrix printhead was capable of producing output in multiple fonts.

The unit shown in the photo has a keyboard with the APL character set option. APL (A Programming Language) was developed at IBM and used on a number of its systems, which is why Centronics thought it important to offer the option.

Published by

Michael Nadeau

I am the author of Collectible Microcomputers (Schiffer Books, 2002) and have been an editor of many technology publications including BYTE, 80 Micro, and HOT CoCo. My interest in the history of information technology is broad. I use my blogs, ClassicTech and Vintage Computer Photos, to build on the work I did for Collectible Microcomputers.

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