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1403 Printer Fonts, Slugs and Chains

Table of Contents
     - 1403 Gate Overview
     - 1403 Fonts
     - 1403 Slugs
     - 1403 Chains
1403 print hammers
Animation of the 1403 print hammer timing


1403 Gate Overview
This is a view of the ribbon side of the IBM 1403 printer swing-out gate.
The ends of the assembly that holds the moving chain peek out from behind the wide ribbon.
The hammers (not shown) impact the paper (not shown) into the ribbon and characters on the slugs, part of the print chain.

1403 Fonts
Several 1403 printer fonts from Van Snyder

1403 World Trade Fonts 1403 Special Fonts 1403 German Fonts

A Sample of our German 1403's fonts.

A page with HebrewFonts, from Jonathan Rosenne < rosennej at qsm dot co dot il >, local copy

A picture of H Font printer chain faces from Stan Paddock
There is a comment from Jeff Kellem that " ... is really an A chain, not an H chain. The H chain had the parens in place of the % and squareLozenge. "
Robert Garner adds,
"And that reminds me: Do you know what the square Lozenge was typically used for (pre 1401 era)?
I understand it comes to us from the 40x accounting machines, but few people seem to recall
what it was typically used for, including Fred Brooks and Fran Underwood."

From Robert Garner - May 15, 2013
... Stan did that high-res 1403 printout shown in our Dec/2008 status page,
... Jay Chow ... used it to create a 1403 True Type font (below),
IBM140310Pitch-Regular, IBM140310Pitch--Light_OpenType, IBM140310Pitch--Heavy_OpenType
so he could recreate a Corvette window sticker (to the right)!
A little later, Don Whittemore used the font on his punched card inventory web site.
The "E", "A", and "N" are a tad light, so I suspect a higher-quality version would be nice.

> On the level of detail that is likely difficult to find,
> I think it might also be interesting to have details on the process of producing the slugs and chains.

I have a standing challenge to the machine shop at IBM Almaden to find a way (or another shop) to reproduce the core "chain", which appears to be a steel "threads" bound together by some plastic (mylar?). We only have one spare, which if it ever breaks... (which is why we don't run 1403 "music" decks.)


Bill Worthington says

"Remember that international character sets -- like Katakana -- were not available for the 1401. They appeared when the 1403 attached to the System/360 and could use EBCDIC to represent them. Remember that there were only 48 characters for the 1416 when the 1403 is attached to a 1401. -- 26 upper case letters, numbers 0-9, and the rest were special characters. International characters like "?" could be substituted for the "$", but it was on a replacement basis.
"See IBM 1403 Printer Component Description (A24-3073)." (8 megabytes)

1403 Slugs
The 1403 had a variety of chains and chain slugs available.

This is a schematic diagram by Stan Paddock of the slugs on a "chain printer". A band, clamped by the back and Bristol screws, holds the slugs in alignment and together.
The topic of screw drives is complex, be careful.
And here are the real things :-))

A collection of pictures of chains of various fonts -
Chain A, Chain C, Chain D
" ... photos were directly from the IBM Corporate Archives. Stacy L. Castillo from IBM sent them to me {Jeff Kellem} per a request that Paul Lasewicz, IBM Archivist, ... "
Jeff's web site
Looking for phrases to use all the characters of the English alphabet, such as "THE QUICK BROWN FOX JUMPS OVER THE LAZY DOG" brought up The Daily Pangram and List of pangrams. Robert Garned likes these as they make some sense ;-))
- "PACK MY BOX WITH FIVE DOZEN LIQUOR JUGS"
- "THE WIZARD QUICKLY JINXED THE GNOMES BEFORE THEY VAPORIZED."

1403 Chains
"We" have been running and demoing one or more IBM 1401 systems with associated IBM 1403 chain printers since April 2005 when we finally got sufficient 50 Hz power from the "new" Pacific Power frequency converter, replacing the grossly underpowered Elgar frequency converter.

Ever since then we have been concerned
"What if a 1403 printer chain breaks?? Repairing a chain seems improbable if not impossible. We may have one spare chain, with the correct character set??"

Now, more than 10 years later, Stan Paddock said "Something happened, and the chain broke." and asked if anyone at the Tech Works could fix the chain.

Before - broken chain
Susan,
Here are 2 pictures I took of the CHM's broken chains as I received them.
---- Don ----

Wed, Jul 13, 2016
Susan Sherwood < director @ ctandi . org > of the Tech Works e-mailed:
Good news - Don Manning just arrived with the 1403 chain reassembled and looking gorgeously flexible and we hope durable. Don says HANDLE WITH CARE - it was a tedious assembly process, as you might imagine.
Please note the slugs were reassembled with 0.004" wire vs original 0.003" wire. Try it and see if it works. As I understand the process, it is both back breaking and eye straining to precisely lay 50 abutting loops of 0.004" wire around the mandrel and screwing the slugs into position. Doesn't sound like it makes for a compelling video/YouTube experience to me. More useful might be a visit from CHMers to Endicott/Binghamton to rebuild a chain in Don's basement, to copy the tooling, and/or most any option that doesn't involve cross-country travel by Don Manning :}}
Chain is packed for Priority Mailing Thursday to CHM, Attn: Frank King
Attached are photos of the chain prior to packing.

The interior box fits chain perimeter quite nicely - please save for next chain gang exchange.


Updated July 13, 2016
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