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Bring back the dot matrix!

If you worked in an office or school during the nineties, the whirring of a dot matrix printer will be as familiar as a fax machine transmission or dial up modem tone. While some delivery environments still use this impact technology for two part forms and multipart waybills, the old dot matrix brings us back to a simpler time.

Have you ever thought about bringing back the dot matrix after your umpteenth paper jam, out of toner phone call, or print error message holding up tens of prints from being released?

Share your funniest print story with us, whether it was those hundreds of prints on the copier, or just proving to the overlords that you were right about wasting IT budget on paper. The top stories will win a retro Bring back the dot matrix t-shirt.


And we promise, all names will be withheld, so you don’t have to identify yourself (unless of course your full name is in your comments) Get in touch below, names can be changed to protect the innocent.

To get you in the writing mood, watch one of our favorite dot matrix videos. Old dot matrix printers never die, they just make awesome music.

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  • When I was a young trainee developer in the early 1980’s we had a “small” line printer ( in the development lab. It had some tinsel from Christmas still fixed to the back which one day I helpfully removed.

    I promptly got a roasting from the very fierce lab manager because I had actually removed the anti static device — the paper came out so fast the charge had to be leaked to ground by passing over the metallic “tinsel”. This was to stop the risk of fire!

  • H Jaco

    When I was at primary school, there was a huge, laser printer/ photocopier which took up the whole of an office. Anyhow, most teachers would send someone to collect the printing but to print things off, you had to select the job on a screen and then enter a password: 1234. One day though my teacher asked me to go and photocopy something (16 copies) – I hadn’t done this before- so off I went, placed the sheet on the glass and then was faced by the copying screen, the only thing I did was enter the printing code (1234) and press the green button. Whoosh, the machine whirred into life churning out the copies however, it was going on a bit longer than I thought 16 copies would take, and the pile in the outlet tray was a lot thicker than 16 sheets should look. Hmm, I took a second to think what might be going wrong; the printing code! I had entered the code to print things off into the number of copies box! One thousand, two hundred and thirty four copies!!! (Luckily I hit the stop button with after about 70 had come out.)

    • Shane Higgins

      Hi Jaco,
      You’re not alone on that one…
      I’ve seen a number of printers in places I’ve put PaperCut into, that had those big recycle bins full of what looked to be the same copies of things over and over again.

      Thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

      I’d personally love to know if anyone has had any experiences with a copier or printer that just never seemed to work properly.

    • Shane Higgins

      Hey H Jaco,

      We were just following up on this blog and we would love to send you a Bring Back the Dot Matrix t-shirt, if you can email along with your shipping address and t-shirt size, we can get one out to you quick smart! πŸ˜€

  • Adam Forrest

    During my service engineer days, I got called to a local post office for a jamming issue when printing jobs to the bypass tray.
    As I arrived on site I noticed the bypass tray had a small piece of clothing sticking out the front of it like an untucked shirt.
    As I opened up the side door to investigate, to my horror, there was a snot filled handkerchief stuck in the feed assembly as well as the fusing entrance!!
    Not only was my hands covered in this random person snot, the fumes of bogeys was astonishing!
    Lest to say, after clearing the foreign object, they were charged a handsome amount……….

    • Eric Gore

      Ha! Was the handkerchief ever returned to the culprit? I can only imagine the reason that would have been in there.
      I’ve seen a number of times where end users will attempt to ‘fix’ the printer themselves only to cause more harm.

      • Adam Forrest

        No it wasn’t luckily!

        Is the competition still running? Did I win a T-shirt?

        • Hey Adam!
          If you have some time to send an email to along with your shipping address and t-shirt size, I think we can get something out to you! πŸ˜€
          Thanks again for your story!

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