About terminals from various vendors...

A major trend in the video-terminal business during the past decade has been for companies to merge, change names, and/or acquire lines of business from each other, so tracking the affiliation of some terminals can be difficult. (The other significant trend has been toward using desktop computers that emulate a dedicated terminal.)

As the Twentieth Century recedes into recollection, many computer users who have recently joined the club are unaware of how many different (and, alas, mostly incompatible) character-cell video terminals were in wide use during a large part of the 1970's and 1980's. This proposed 1989 update of the list of terminals in RFC 1091 may give a hint of the variety that once thronged the marketplace, before the industry became "assimilated."

Another snag that newcomers to computing hit: the expectation that documentation must exist on the Worldwide Web for every piece of equipment that was ever made. For equipment sold after 1996, this expectation may be appropriate. However, for older gear, you are likely to be disappointed. Even into the 1980's, the user manuals for many video terminals were actually written on electromechanical typewriters (e.g., IBM Selectric), and no machine-readable original ever existed. If some older documents are Web-accessible, it is because some public-spirited person has done the techno-historical grunt work of converting old documentation to a form readable by a Web browser.

For glimpses of how computer hobbyists of the early 1980's used character-cell video terminals with the home computers of the day, you can visit a library and look up these articles from BYTE magazine.

The page you are viewing provides information on video-terminal products by a variety of vendors. For information that applies in general to all video terminals, see the general information page. Other pages in this site provide access to specific information on terminals sold by DEC, IBM, and Televideo.

Archival Information About Various Text Terminals: by vendor

Tektronix Graphics Terminals

Tektronix graphics terminals represent color by the HLS system, explained briefly here, or perhaps a picture is worth a thousand words.

Special-Purpose Terminals

A small amount of discussion of POS (point-of-sale) terminals is stored here. A number of resources are listed on Hal Stiles's Point-of-Sale Page.

Links to Other Pages in this Collection

Links to Vendor Pages

Boundless Technologies (a.k.a. SunRiver Data Systems or ADDS) sells MultiConsole Personal Terminals

Wyse Technology, vendor of general-purpose terminals, offers some support resources, such as these:

(See also the Wyse UK Web site and the description of the current WY-520ES product.)

And Hugo Villeneuve offers this Wyse 520 Terminal tour.

Emulation Documentation on the Internet

There is now also a good description of the emulation of Hewlett-Packard terminals as implemented in the WRQ Reflection product, available from the Walker-Richer-Quinn Support Page; this HP Terminal Reference Manual V8.0 is a large PDF file (you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader to view it).

Links to dealer pages

In addition to the above commercial sources, used terminals and related equipment are often available at amateur-radio hamfests; see the ARRL's listing.

Information Source Web Pages

As of early A.D. 2001, Bryan Blackburn is making the vintage user manual for the Lear-Siegler ADM-3 terminal available on the Web, each page a GIF-encoded image. (Also the ASR-33 Teletype.)

Information and Links to Useful Communication and Accessory Products

Go to page on PC-based terminal emulation.
Go to page on keyboards, mice, and other pointing devices.
Go to page on setting up an operating system to use terminals.
Links to tangentally relevant information.
Links to xterm information.

Links to DEC terminal information (including VT100).
Links to IBM terminal information (including 3270).
(return to Video Terminal index page)