From Nick Higham’s note on Typewriter Art, referring to Bob Neill’s Book of Typewriter Art (with special computer program). Nick wrote the special program back in the early 1980s. What I did to get this output:

  • open Nick’s program in GW BASIC under Dosbox;
  • modify the program so it wrote the Epson FX printer codes to a file;
  • convert those codes to PostScript using epsonps;
  • convert it to PDF with ps2pdf.

Bob Neill’s art relies on being able to set a typewriter’s vertical advance to the same value as its horizontal one, and also being able to overprint lines to get darker results. The results are pretty good: tabby.pdf

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brr brr bddr brr weew brr brr

Apologies to our neighbours for my testing the Wheelwriter this morning. This is what I found out about it (after having to compile in parallel printer support to the kernel, grr):

Do we need CRs? : yes
Does it talk ASCII? : yes, subset
Bidirectional? : yes

I chickened out and installed the Courier 10 printwheel just so I could use spaces to line things up. I don’t like Courier at all, but at least it’s easy to manage.

It’s strange that, in this age that we are creating information at an unparalleled rate, we’re also losing it just as fast. While IBM Wheelwriter codes from the late 1980s do not represent the lost wisdom of the ancients, it is something of our knowledge, and once lost, diminishes us all.

Therefore, send not for whom the (carriage return) bell tolls; it tolls for thee …