This was one of the first ever telecommunication machines made available for Deaf people, pre-dating all the machines seen in the display cabinets in the Museum. It was very cumbersome and only about 60 were manufactured for use by Deaf people. The teleprinter was once the property of the late Carole Harris and her husband Glen Harris of Coventry and it made its way to the BDHS through Deaf Direct.
What is a teleprinter?
This machine was an electromechanical typewriter that could be used to send and receive typed messages through a telephone line. It had a typewriter QWERTY keyboard. This teleprinter is considered to be the precursor of the modern teletypewriters known as TTY and it gave the Deaf community a way to communicate over long distances. A Deaf person could use it to send a message to a family member or friend whenever he/she wanted to. But it would only work if the person at the receiving end of the message had the same model as well. There was no communication barrier so the Deaf person could communicate with anyone whenever he/she wanted.