The mighty IBM 3800

IBM 3800 Model 6 Printer Laser printers use two types of fusion to fuse toner to paper, hot fusion, and cold fusion.

I’ve only seen cold fusion used once.  StorageTek used to make mainframe printers with cold fusion technology.  You’d take paper off the printer, and it would be icy cold.  Cold enough to burn you.

On the other hand, the first commercial laser printer, the IBM 3800 used hot fusion.

I had the privilege of working with one of those beasts.  The things I remember about them:

  • Speed.  they were capable of printing 20,040 lines per minute.
  • Keeping them filled with paper was a constant chore.
    IBM claimed they could produce 1.7 miles of paper every hour.  I’d believe it.
  • Toner.  They used 5 litre (guessimate) bins, and we’d go though 1.5 bins on an eight hour shift.
    In comparison, the StorageTek had a toner hopper.  You’d pour toner into the hopper, and then watch the cloud of toner form above you.
  • At the backup site, the IBM 3800 generated so much heat, it would trigger the fire alarm.
    The root cause?  Don’t put a big printer in a small room.
    The fix?  We’d leave the computer room doors open when we ran it.

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