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I Miss You Dot Matrix

by S.A. Ozbourne 8 months ago in vintage
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Ode to my favorite printer

Source: Wikimedia Commons

This post is dedicated to my old friend/coworker Terry who gave me hours of information and aural (that means using sound, you perverts) pleasure.

He was a Dot Matrix printer and a true hero. He is also the printer I believe has the coolest name and is sadly missed. He was with me during my creative writing days when I would use him to print copies of my terrible and predictable murder stories — it was always the boyfriend/husband.

Thanks to Terry I printed my resume of lies where I claimed I was trilingual and an avid snowboarder. With his seven colors, I was able to print out a dot matrix unicorn poster — for my sister, I swear — and even some pictures of Argentina for my geography class project.

Through thick and thin he continued back and forth, never wavering. Well, he had to waver to do his job but you know what I mean.


First introduced by the Digital Equipment Corporation in 1970, the dot matrix printer model LA30 boasted being able to print 30 characters per second.

— Wikepedia

For those of you babies born after the ’80s, you might not remember this printer. This printer uses the back and forth motion and a ribbon to punch ink into the paper using pins. And a key feature is that the plate that has the pins which punch into the ribbon is made of either ruby or sapphire. Ruby or Sapphire! Precious stones in a printer? Does your laser printer have jewels in it?

A printer with bling. How sweet is that?

Also, for all those people who are into cost-saving and penny pinching, the dot matrix printers have one of the lowest printing costs per page. A printer that has bling but doesn’t show it and is cost-effective. It’s like if Walmart sold Luis Vuitton. Oh, Dot Matrix how complex and marvelous you are.

Why I love the Dot Matrix

Here are just a few of a hundred reasons I love the dot matrix printer and why you should too.

  • The name makes you feel like you are living in a simulation. Every time you print something you can feel the Matrix around you. Morpheus, how do I know I am THE ONE?
  • The noise created by the back and forth motion may annoy some but to me is like a dope rap beat.
  • You can use the edges which can be ripped off to fold into puffy stars which you can place in bottles all over my room. Just an idea.
  • The paper is all connected in a giant stack so you can trail it all over the house like toilet paper made for giants.

The ink is smudge-able so if you quickly smudge a page that was just printed using your thumbs, it looks like it is an ancient scroll you have uncovered making you feel like a young Indiana Jones.

Sad Goodbye

I lost Terry and no amount of fiddling with his insides or rolling paper through him was able to bring him back to life. So Terry, RIP. Your progeny still lives on.

It is obvious that the dot matrix is all but gone. Inkjet and laser printers have taken over and set the standard. But don’t feel too badly for the dot matrix because it is still used in many data-based duties such as banks, aviation, and research as quantity is more important than quality.

Also, in movies where hippies live in the desert and pick up signals of alien transmissions they are always printing out these findings using a dot matrix printer.

I am happy knowing that if there is ever a day when I am sad and need the nostalgic and familiar sound of print on tractor paper I will always have Cherry the Epson FX dot matrix printer (Terry's partner) at my parent's home where they still use it.

Viva la Dot Matrix!

This story also appears here: https://medium.com/muddyum/i-miss-you-dot-matrix-a2567edba81


About the author

S.A. Ozbourne

A writer with no history or perspective is a paintbrush with no paint!

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