A teletype, as its name implies, is the result of merging a typewriter with the telegraph. Rather than relying on the skills of an operator to communicate over a telegraph circuit, the teletype connects a keyboard to a remote printing mechanisms over the very same type of telegraph circuit. This allows anyone that can operate a typewriter to communicate telegraphically over long distances. The part that I find fascinating about these machines is that they do all of this mechanically; the only electrical components are a set of contacts on the transmitting end, and a electromagnet on the receiving end.
The conversion of a serial bitstream into characters printed on a page is achieved by a chain of ingenious mechanisms that must operate quickly and accurately thousands of times in the course of printing a page of text.
With the help of George Hutchison, I bought a 28 KSR from a fella in Tacoma, Washington. He had it sitting on his patio for a few years wrapped in a tarp, but the machine is still in fairly good condition. George picked the machine up and stored at his place in Sequim for 3 months until I could go and pick it up. The machine represents an early design of the model 28. It is shown here with the bakelite keyboard housing removed.
While picking up my 28 KSR at George's place, he mentioned that he might have some other goodies for me. Those other goodies included a 28 RO in better shape than the KSR. When I arrived home with the machines, the 28 RO was the first one I powered up, and it functions perfectly fine.
These are videos of the RO copying ITTY.
I'm working on a project that will create a 'cost effective' ethernet interface for teletypes, without the need of a computer to facilitate the connection.