Apple Imagewriter Printer

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Introduced in 1983, the Imagewriter printer was Apple’s first graphical printer and the first capable of printing the screen, often referred to as WSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). It could produce images as well as text.

It is a 9 pin impact dot matrix printer with a combination of a friction feed platen for cut sheets and adjustable width pin feed tractors to accommodate a wide variety of forms, including multi-part. The IMAGEWRITER was available in two models:

A9M0303 is a standard size printer that will accept paper from 3 inch to 10 inches.

A9M0305 is a Wide Carriage Imagewriter printer that will accept paper up to 15″ wide.

IMAGEWRITER was marketed towards the entire Apple computer line, including the new Macintosh (128K), with the User Manual broken into two parts. Part 1: Reference is about the Imagewriter printer which very carefully makes sure that no specific computer is named. Part II: is computer specific. All I have ever seen is Part II: Guide to the Apple //.

Selected information from the 1983 brochure, A2F0155:

The Apple IMAGEWRITER Printer
Sophisticated Graphics and Text Output for Your Apple Computer

Text may be printed using eight different character fonts including underscore, subscript and superscript, or user designed. Graphics resolution includes eight dot densities from 72 to 160 dots per inch. Character styles include headline, underline and footnotes. Character pitches include Compressed Font, Pica Pitch, Elite Pitch, double width and proportional.

Fast – print speed of 180 characters per second with throughput of 72 lines per minute
Quiet – Operating noise softer than background conversation – less than 53 dB(A)
Low Price – IMAGEWRITER is the best price performance printer on the market
(Fast and Quiet are emphasized numerous times)

While it may have been created for the Macintosh, in 1983 it supported: the Apple Lisa Personal Office System, the Apple /// Personal Computer System, and the Apple II Plus or Apple IIe Personal Computer (with Serial Interface).

Printer options are controlled by either DIP switch settings or with control codes from your computer. Many software applications insert these control codes for you.

Of course, any Apple computer with a serial (printer) port or interface card can use this printer with the correct interface cable(s). IMAGEWRITER cables from Apple were available for the Apple II Plus, Apple IIe, Apple IIc, Apple III, Lisa, Macintosh 128K and 512K. When the Macintosh Plus came, they made a “circular 8 to DB-9” adapter to work with the original DB-9 to DB-25 Imagewriter to Macintosh cable. Custom cables have been made by third parties, and pinouts are available on the internet for a round 8 pin mini-DIN to DB-25 “Mac to Imagewriter” cable. The Apple IIc Plus and IIGS also use the Mac to Imagewriter cable or adapter. Note that this is NOT the same cable as is found on modems, they are wired differently inside. Because there are so many varieties, Cables are sold separately for these printers as they turn up.

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