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MMD > Archives > March 1999 > 1999.03.06 > 07Prev  Next


Paper Tape for Teletype and Teletypesetting
By Jack M. Conway

[ I asked Jack if he could help Colin Hinz with the request.
 [ Jack also answers some questions I posed.  --  Robbie

Hi Robbie and Colin,  I have contacted a friend, another Colin, about
the Teletype tape.  He uaed to repair and maintain Teletype machines
as a hobby and to entertain his junior high electronics classes.  He is
now with a subsidiary of IBM as a Telecommunication Design Specialist.
I have asked him if he has any tape left or if he knows of a current
source.  I will try to partially answer some of Robbie's questions.

> What thickness is it?

As I recall about the same as 20-pound bond or 50-pound book stock.

> Is the surface calendered?

Most papers of writing grade are calendered.  Calendering is passing
the paper web over a stack of polished heated rollers as it exits
Fourdrinier just before it is wound onto a roll.  This irons the
writing surface smooth for a good writing and printing surface.

Newsprint is not calendered.  Post-card stock is coated stock.  It
is sprayed with fine clay or other gloss coating and then calendered.
(I believe this is called super-calendered.)

> Has it a treated surface?

It is yellow in color.  I don't remember it being oiled like tympan
paper.  It would seem like a good idea as the tape was punched and it
might help to clear the chad.  It might have been dry waxed.  I have
asked my friend and will let you know when I get an answer.

The tape is 1" wide and is called 6-level.  It seems to me that it
came in about 400' rolls.  From the right position 5-4-3, center feed
hole track, position 2-1-0 ( OOOoOOO ).  The combinations of hole/
no-hole pattern in the six tracks were assigned to characters or
functions (I would guess similar to ASCII).  One function was "Shift",
which doubled the functions available (capital and lowercase letters,
special characters and space functions).

I don't know about direct computer applications but there were several
computer-assisted typesetting applications.  Teletype machines were
equipped with 6-level punch heads.  As an operator typed on the keyboard
a tape of the input was punched.  This tape could run through a reader
to print additional copies or to broadcast the story over the wire
services.

The Teletype machines at the Los Angeles Times also had the tape
punches attached.  As a story came in it also produced a tape.  This
tape was called a "dumb" tape.  It was not spell-, grammar-, or style-
checked, hence it was "dumb".  Harris Corporation designed a machine
that had a 50,000 word dictionary and the ability to grammar-check
and format.  The dumb tape was fed into one end of the machine and the
other end of the machine punched a "smart" tape.

By this time in the printing evolution Linotype machines could be
equipped with Teletypesetting keyboards (TTS).  The smart tape was fed
into a reader on the keyboard and the Linotype operated from the tape
commands.  This displaced many Linotype operators.  Thirty Linotypes
were operated by one machinist and three unskilled workers.  One took
the smart tapes off of an overhead conveyor and put it on an idle
Linotype, one emptied the completed type from the machine galleys,
and one hung pigs of Linotype metal.

The Frieden Corporation designed an oversized electric typewriter
with a tape punch on the side and some function keys.  A secretary or
reporter could be trained to operate these and the tape output could
be sent through the same process as above.

As newspapers moved away from letterpress production ["hot type"] to
offset production ["cold type"] the Compugraphic Corporation adapted
tape control to their photo-typesetting systems.  They then came up
with a tape imprinting system.  The same narrow tape was no longer
punched, but was stamped with little ink dots and read by a photo-
reader head.

I have a ruler from Compugraphic that shows all of the codes.  You
could slide it under a punched tape to see what a code line was for.

This may be more than you ever wanted to know.  When I get a response
from my friend I will send it along.

Jack M. Conway, Los Angeles, California, USA


(Message sent Sat 6 Mar 1999, 09:56:38 GMT, from time zone GMT.)

Key Words in Subject:  Paper, Tape, Teletype, Teletypesetting

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