What Does Teletypewriter Mean?

A teletypewriter is an electromechanical typewriter that helps in point-to-point
communication with the help of typed messages via a simple electrical
communications channel. Teletypewriters had either built-in or linked to paper
tape punching and reading machines. This allowed messages to be made and
modified offline as well to be stored and retransmitted if needed in other
devices or circuits.


A teletypewriter is also known as a teleprinter, teletype machine or simply a teletype.

Techopedia Explains Teletypewriter

The five-bit Baudot code was mostly used by early
teletypewriters for communication. Introduced in 1922, the Model 12 was the first
general purpose teletypewriter and was succeeded by the Model 14 three years later. The
Model 15 was a popular teletypewriter launched in 1930 and was one of the mainstays
of U.S. military communications, especially during World War II.
A teletypewriter consists of a typewriter keyboard, transmitter and a local
printer. Messages were capable of being transmitted over radio waves or over
wires. The input device is considered as
an early computer interface and was developed by Teletype Corporation. In
fact, some of the earliest computers made use of teletypewriters for input as
well as output.

Teletypewriters were developed to improve telegraphs, but have now been largely replaced by other technologies. However, they are still used by speed-impaired, deaf or hard of hearing people for communication.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.