This plastic-cased version of the Teletype ASR-33 is our most recently restored-to-working teleprinter machine. This took several weeks of painstaking work to coax back into life again from the seized-up state it was previously in. Wonderful flowing curves 60s styling. Teletype Corporation of Smokie, Illinois produced these electromechanical miracles of engineering from 1963 up until 1981 by which time electronic VDU computer screens became cheaper to produce. Teletypes were typically used as printing terminals to communicate with local or distant mainframe computers. You would type messages or commands on the very distinctive plunger action keyboard & receive & print text back from a mainframe computer. A binary copy can optionally be produced on the 1 inch wide punched paper tape as a pattern of holes. The punched tape can be fed back into the machine to run off further printed copies or retained as a machine readable log of everything that has been printed. Similar models to this were used as telex terminals which was a way of sending & receiving text messages worldwide over dedicated telephone lines before email became universal. In operation, these machines are incredibly visual & invariably draw a crowd the first time they clatter into life on set. Characters are printed on the roll-fed paper by a jumping spinning print head in sequence one character at a time as they're received. This looks amazing when filmed close-up for suspenseful scenes printing out vital messages character by character. The juddering punched paper tape emerging from the front of the machine is also very visual. We control the operation of the printer remotely using a connected vintage laptop. This means that blocks of text can be printed out exactly on cue if that is what your script demands. We also have Teletypes in soundproof steel cases which have a more industrial look.
We have hired these out for many period dramas & documentaries including:
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
The Man Who Stopped WW3
All the Money in the World
Prop ID: 2030
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