E.P. Zone

I tell myself that thermal dot matrix printers are beyond the scope of my collecting interests, however, since I dubbed my new website E.T.ZONE, perhaps I ought to be less dismissive of gadgets such as the Brother EP-44, even if they’re not really typewriters at all.

Sure, you can select “Direct Print” mode, but even Brother refers to its EP-44 as a “printer” throughout its 47 page instruction guide (which I will get around to scanning in full) and are extremely loathe to use the word “type”, suggesting instead that you “key in new text” or “select DP mode to print each character as you input it”.

One gremlin with this machine (you may have noticed) is that the paper release lever does not do its job. In other words, the paper slips irrespective of whether the release lever is ON (pulled forward) or OFF (pushed back).

Perhaps I should have bought something a tad wider than the 80 cm thermal cash register rolls I opted for. The quality is a lot better than fax paper though.

A “printer with calculator-style key-pad” is primarily what the EP-44 is, but who can scoff at 24-pin near-letter-quality whisper-quiet “printing” at 16 cps? And it is handy to be able to run the thing on batteries without a power connection (in fact I don’t have the adapter) and without the need of a ribbon.

Yep, this EP-44 is quite a package – an attractive and well-made gadget, well ahead of its time when it was released in 1985.

Another (worse) gremlin with this EP-44 though, is how its otherwise quiet print head clicks as it sticks in the UP position intermittently. Perhaps this will remedy itself with more frequent use. I hope so, because I really do like this thing.

I was touched by a note from the seller: “Thank you for your purchase, the typewriter was much treasured and loved by my late dad up till his death at 92 last year. He kept it in immaculate condition and it was still being used.”

Which just goes to show, every typewriter (I mean “printer”) and its previous owner has a story to tell.

2 thoughts on “E.P. Zone”

  1. Thermal printers are neat portable devices, but like an electric typewriter; they require a power source. In the case of thermal printing, a special paper also. I play with them sometimes and find them interesting, but relegate them to the thrift store for someone else. I did find that like stationary paper, thermal paper comes in grades with fax being the cheapest. Other full size thermal is as scarce as hen’s teeth.

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