Daisy Wheel Printer

Early printers were often little more than electric typewriters connected to a computer. Daisy wheel printers were no exception. The daisy wheel itself was simply a metal or plastic disk sliced into thin strips toward the center. A raised letter or character resided at the outer end of each strip. To print, the printer would spin the wheel to the correct character, and a hammer would strike it, forcing the character through an inked ribbon and onto the paper. Daisy wheel printers had the advantage of being able to produce letter-quality text (unlike dot matrix printers, which created fuzzy, low-quality characters). On the downside, daisy wheel printers were slow, couldn't print graphics, and were often incredibly loud, sounding like a long string of firecrackers as they rat-a-tatted through documents.