Fundamentals of Teletypewriters Used in the Bell System, 1938

BSTJ 17. In case you were wondering why we used to have stop bits. Or why your modem has that noisy, spinning wheel inside it.

Previously, previously.

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10 Responses:

  1. James says:

    The first digital text keyboard was a piano keyboard.

  2. piku says:

    I read the wikipedia page on stop bits. I now have a new desire to maim people who randomly put [citation needed] in wiki text.

    There's a special breed of computer nerd who likes doing that, isn't there?

    • Feren says:

      I note that it's not unique to computer nerds, if other non-computer articles are any indication. With luck somebody will make a web browser extension to simply strip that string out of the article page on the fly.

    • Ben Brockert says:

      Wikipedia's stance over the years has moved from a position of "it'd be great if the stuff in the articles was true" to "anything that can't be cited from a primary source isn't true, and should probably be removed". [citation needed] is the first step towards it getting removed.

      • jwz says:

        You mean "secondary source", not "primary source". Wikipedia doesn't believe something is true until someone else says it's true. Because they are crazy people.

  3. Restoring a teletype in 1982 was enlightening, very little electronics and mostly mechanical. Ran at 30 bps, or 150 bps. There was a satellite broadcasting a teletype signal that printed out a text rendering of the cloud coverage it saw, early weather forecasting. It expected a teletype to be the receiver, 1 page every 10 minutes or so (if I remember correctly).

  4. taylor says:

    I read the wikipedia page on stop bits. I now have a new desire to maim people who randomly put [citation needed] in wiki text.
    There's a special breed of computer nerd who likes doing that, isn't there?

  5. grェ says:

    If you're ever in Seattle, I can't recommend making a visit to http://museumofcommunications.org highly enough, albeit they're only open one or two days a week (or by appointment, and they're very gracious about that, just make sure you plan in advance since they don't check their answering machine unless they're at the museum, so only once or twice a week). But they have fully functioning CO switching equipment going back to the early 1900s, you get to see iterative generations of the inner workings of the phone company and play with the gear, it's unlike any other museum I've been to.

    But yeah, little things like this, or how some of their switches would angle their clasps so they would be self-polishing/maintaining with usage/wear for cleaner contact/connection. Absolutely fascinating mechanical engineering.