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1403 Printer Fonts, Slugs and Chains

Table of Contents
     - 1403 Gate Overview
     - 1403 Fonts
     - 1403 Slugs
     - 1403 Chains, successful repair !!!
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 ;-))

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
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.

Successful Repair !!!
Runs - July 30, 2016
    - Still Runs - Aug 03, 2016
    - Still Runs, Adapting to length - Aug 27, 2016
    - Still Runs - Dec 2, 2016

e-mail from Frank King - July 30, 2016
Hi Don,

With Ron Williams's help we put your new chain in a cartridge.
We then oiled it and torqued it.
   Finding the torque was 18 inch ounces to 22 inch ounces we stopped checking
   as Don obviously has torque sensitive fingers.
When we were trying to adjust it for slack, we realized it was a bit too long.

So we adjusted it as long as we could.
   The screw that holds the bearing was at the far end of its travel.
We were using a cartridge that I had cut the platen .006" to eliminate binds.
It was smooth, so we put it on a printer and after running it a bit
   with no heat rise we printed a lot of characters.

The characters all printed to the left so we adjusted the timing
   to compensate. I think this is due to the slack.
All in all it was an amazing success.
   It ran for about 45 minutes and printed for about 15.
We will run with it Wednesday at least 4 hours, trying to print as much as we can.
Once it is broken in,
   I will measure the length we need to shorten it.
   I will try to get verification from several others.

I worry that it has so much slack. It may jump out of the track and jam.
The fact that we now know we can build a chain is a real thrill.
I can't thank you enough,


Still Runs
e-mail from Frank King Wed, Aug 03, 2016
today was a good day.
Your chain preformed beautifully today on the German machine.
we left it on for the CHM to do their demos.

I am still bamboozled about why i had to adjust the timing on the CT machine.
I will look into that on Monday If I get a chance.

They are running with the Don Manning Chain on DE
and will do so for the demos the rest of the week.
I will keep you updated on the status.


Still Runs, Adapting to length
e-mail from Stan Paddock, Sat, Aug 27, 2016
The picture below is the base (bottom) plate of an IBM 1403 chain cartridge.

The drive sprocket goes on the left and the idler sprocket goes on the right.
The idler sprocket is adjustable to allow adjustment of chain tension.

The picture below is of the idler sprocket end of the plate.

The black arrow points to a hole where a screw is tightened down when the correct tension of the chain is obtained.
This hole limited us from being able to adjust the tension for the Don Manning chain.
Master machinist Sev Edmonds elongated this hole by .030 to the right.
This will allow an additional .060 adjustment of a print chain.
The Don Manning chain does not require this much additional adjustment, but it is nice to know the adjustment is there if needed.

Stan Paddock

Still Runs - Dec 2, 2016
e-mail from Robert Garner, Dec 2,
to: Thomas Donovan
>I happened on (retired IBMer) Don Manning at TechWorks in Binghamton NY, who said he had (perhaps) built a chain for one of two restored printers in California. He had expressed interest when I said IBM had mechanical drawings of parts from these systems he had a part in designing, perhaps you're interested too, because of difficulties in getting them.


p.s. Here's a photo our 1403 expert, Frank King, with Don's new chain:

Updated Dec 2, 2016
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