A Daisy Wheel

I have had a number of different printers in more than thirty years of having a home computer. The first I had was one of those excruciatingly noisy dot matrix types. One could do clever things with it but printing photos wasn’t sensibly possible. And to get a colour you had to change the ribbon so true colour printing was never going to be possible.  So three cheers for the colour inkjet printer! One of these remains my workhorse.

Back in those early days, in the 1980s, the initial rival to the dot matrix printer was the daisy wheel. People who wanted text of typewriter quality used these printers. Graphics were not really possible.

I never owned such a printer, but I do have one of the little plastic daisies after which the printer was named.


It’s in a little plastic box but comes out to reveal its structure.

Each spoke on the wheel has a printable character. If the character wasn’t on the wheel then you couldn’t print it. During printing, the wheel spun to the correct place and the letter on a spoke was pushed against a ribbon which inked the paper.


The letters are, of course, backwards.


There’s an interesting little reminder of a technological dead end. At which point someone will assure me it hasn’t been a daisy wheel dead end at all!


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3 Responses to “A Daisy Wheel”

  1. currentdescendent Says:

    When I think of all the money I’ve spent on supplies for computers and typewriters that were never used because they were replaced, I want to cry.

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