Apple ImageWriter II

Apple ImageWriter II If you own a vintage Mac, the ImageWriter II printer would be a great companion for it. ImageWriter II printer is an entry-level, dot-matrix printer. It offers fast drafts, sharp graphics, near-letter-quality output, easy paper handling, and color printing.

The Apple ImageWriter II was a Dot matrix printer released in September 1985. It utilized a C.Itoh mechanism and was somewhat faster than the original ImageWriter. It was particularly well known for being extremely sturdy – ImageWriter II's were still in common use for forms printing a decade after they were produced.

With an optional networking card installed, the ImageWriter II was a low cost alternative to the vastly more expensive LaserWriter. It could also produce basic colour images using a colour ribbon, a feature that was supported by the original version of QuickDraw, which, although it was running on a monochrome hardware platform, actually supported output for eight colors. The ImageWriter II also offered an NLQ (near-letter-quality) ASCII mode, a feature for improved text quality on the Apple II platform or for improved draft printing quality on the Macintosh platform.

The ImageWriter II was offered as two models with different carriage widths: the narrow carriage version for 8.5-inch-wide tractor-fed paper, and the wide carriage version for wider paper. When the wide carriage was introduced in late 1985 (or early 1986), the only Apple software that supported it was MacProject. Although a very few third-party applications also supported it, most applications could print only as if there were 8.5-inch paper in the printer. Early Imagewriter II's are a creamy off-white color known at Apple as Fog, but after 1987 they were the standard Apple "Platinum" color[1]. There are many known ROM revisions, visible through a self-test (press the form feed button while turning the ImageWriter on, then release both buttons simultaneously; the printer will then print the ROM version as well as dipswitch settings).

The narrow carriage model also supported an optional external sheet feeder that could feed cut sheet paper. However, the attachment was generally unreliable.

The later models had the cable ports on legs moved to ends of the tractor feed housing.

The ImageWriter II was designed in accordance with Apple's Snow White design language. In 1986 it received the I.D. Design Review and Silver Industrial Design Excellence Awards[2], making it the first desktop printer to receive such appraisal.

Despite the introduction of the inkjet StyleWriter in 1991, the ImageWriter II kept selling. It continued in production until late 1996, making it the longest running Apple product in history. Existing models are still useful for printing banners and, like all impact printers, for multi-part forms.

The band Man or Astro-man? used it live to perform a song called A Simple Text File.

Source: Computing History