These are two vintage Juki 6100 daisywheel printers that I acquired in 2004. Despite being some twenty years old now, they still punch out pages as well as when they were the hottest thing in the office, costing £400 back then, a tidy sum. They were comparable to today's laser printers, and offer the ultimate in letter quality (even now) as they literally print using a hammer hitting an outline of a letter chosen from a revolving daisywheel, just like an olde typewriter would. Of course, you're limited to one font only (unless you change to a different daisywheel), but there are variable letter spacings, and you can even print on A3 paper. The engineering is top-spec and the casing is built to last, a metal frame inside a strong plastic chassis built like a tank. These were business class machines which produced professional output far superior to the ugly dot matrix alternatives; inkjets were still only blurry in their infancy, and lasers were in Star Trek.
I do have a fondness for early 1980's tech, but the sleek design and colourful operator panel look stylish even today in our ugly world of lame design. The manual is a joy to read, and includes comprehensive instructions and suggestions on how to welcome this new entity into your working environment :-)
My first plan is to see if it can be connected to a modern PC using a
standard printer cable, so I can print my own business cards with real
The sound these beauties make is quite something, and was the main reason I went on the lookout for this particular model that a friend's father had once owned. Luckily I found one, then another, for sale nearby for 10% of their original cost, as well as one in America (the shipping would cost $$$ though, as they weigh a ton.) I got these machines because I love the noise the carriage makes as it glides horizontally along its silky smooth mechanism. If you can recall the sound of the Williams arcade game Defender (Planetoid on the Beeb), then you're not far off (well, imagine an electro-mechanical simulation of that sound) - a lovely contrast to the chatter of hammers as each petal of the daisy wheel strikes the ribbon. My eventual plan will be to use these two as a stereo-pair in a musical composition, suitably programmed with 'scores' that they will print rather than sight-read, creating rhythmic patterns and basslines (albeit mono-tonal) as a by-product :-)
The chap I bought one from said he remembers a ROM chip upgrade for the BBC Micro called Jukit that enabled graphics to be printed on a Juki 6100. The way it did this apparently used a kind of ASCII-art to best approximate the image to be depicted, with the ROM containing conversion software and possibly some print utilities. After an extensive search, I've found one of these; if anyone has any knowledge about it, please let me know.
© copyleft Malcolm Smith 2006-04-11 - last updated 2006-04-14 - links verified 2006-04-11