All the discussion about playing music on line printers and card
readers reminds me of something I fooled around with when I was in
the Air Force back in the 1960's (Good Lord!).
The little electronics maintenance shop where I worked had a wonderful,
truly antique (even by 1960's standards) Teletype machine with a tape
punching mechanism. This machine was used to "down-load" messages that
came in from the Panama Canal Zone on a radio receiver. I suspect the
Teletype was made in the 1940's or earlier and I think it worked at
about 30 words per minute (its the kind of machine you see in old
Anyhow, one of my barracks buddies, who was possibly even more sopho-
moric than I am, observed, "Gosh, this machine can make all kinds of
neat sounds," and indeed it could. At least six different ones.
There was the steady 'tick-tick' idling sound, the space bar made
"thump", typing a letter made "clack", the carriage return went
"whurr-bang", the shift key went "ka-thump" and the paper feed
went... well, I can't think of a descriptive word for that sound
but it did it, also there was a nice bell "ding"!
So, of course we had to see what possibilities this could lead to,
and after some practicing we were able to make some rather nice
complex rhythms that we punched into paper tape (I remember the
Bosa-Nova being popular then). We gave one of our better tapes to
a friend in the base message center and told her that it was a very
important message that needed immediate attention. That got me in
trouble with her supervisor.
Sleep well, there are probably people in the military making rhythm
tapes for Teletype machines right now!
[ Editor's recollections:
[ The old workhorse was the Teletype(T) Corp. Model 15 teleprinter,
[ which clattered at 60 words per minute using the 5-level Baudot
[ code. The internal mechanism which converted the serial signaling
[ pulses into the 1-of-32 type-bar signals was a marvelous device.
[ Most military versions were equipped with a governed 'universal'
[ motor, for operation on dc or ac mains. A stroboscope target was
[ painted on the large fan wheel, and the motor speed was adjusted
[ while viewing the target through shutters soldered to a low-
[ frequency tuning fork!
[ -- Robbie