Computer Hardware Terms, Glossary and Dictionary
The Line printer is a form of high speed impact printer in which a line of type is printed at a time. Printed type is set at fixed positions and a line could consist of any number of character positions but 80 column, 128 column and 160 column variants were common. In a typical design, a fixed font character set is engraved onto the periphery of a number of print wheels, the number matching the number of columns. The wheels spin at high speed and paper and an inked ribbon are stepped past the print position. As the desired character for each column passes the print position a hammer strikes the paper and ribbon causing the desired character to be recorded on the continuous paper.