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stylewriters onto network? (a quick inquiry)


Well-known member
I presume that these three basically are 'the' options outside a dedicated printstation computer these days?
apple ethertalk
farallon ethermac iprint
farallon etherwave mac


(and on a small side note I'm just wondering if its due to the different buffering and/or driver interaction that makes imagewriters incompatible?)


Well-known member
For StyleWriters, Apple offered a built-in sharing function (ex: "ColorShare" and "GrayShare") with their driver running on an actual Mac. The Color StyleWriter 2400/2500 had an optional LocalTalk module and Farallon made an Ethernet adapter. The reality is they wanted businesses to buy dedicated workgroup printers like the LaserWriter.

ImageWriters have a dedicated LocalTalk interface card to get them onto the network along with special clientside drivers for the Mac and Apple II. I think the only reason it exists is because of the sheer popularity of the ImageWriter in schools.


Daring Pioneer of the Future
Staff member
Idle speculation:

I wonder how much of that positioning stems from the fact that most desktop inkjet printers didn't get very many prints per cartridge, especially back in the days when colored inks were all together in a single cartridge.

My family had an HP DeskJet 892c or something like that and I seem to recall getting maybe 200 pages of black text per cartridge before it was time to buy new ink, versus about 3-4,000 or so for a PLW320 or 4/600PS and 10,000 or so for an LWP600-630 or 16/600PS (later up to 15,000 if you used Xerox's LJ4 carts instead of one from Apple or HP.)

"Continuous Ink Supply System" is a relatively modern thing in inkjet now in modern times with CISS you can make a fairly solid case for putting an inkjet on the network. Before then though, in the mid-2000s (~2005-07 or so depending) color lasers got cheap and small workgroup color lasers were probably the best way to do a shared color printing.

(CISS is also the first time you can get an inkjet printer to have a lower cost per page than a laser printer, but CISS working well relies fairly explicitly on a somewhat high print volume to keep print paths clean/clear, whereas lasers can sit idle for years and jump back into action with no fuss.)

Color LaserJets/LaserWriters existed in the '90s but in terms of dollars I bet the crossover from "individual or very small group shared stylewriters" to "buying a Color LaserJet" was very high. (a super quick search makes it look like Color LaserWriter 12/600PS, which was the 1996 price drop model, was about $5,900, which is lower than I thought it was, but it also weighs over a hundred pounds and can draw over a kilowatt so there's some Operational Concerns as well.)


Well-known member
Business/Workgroup inkjets existed in the 90s, but were a niche product. Canon had the BJC-600, which Apple sold as the StyleWriter Pro. HP got into the game with the Deskjet 1200C, which supported PCL5c (optional PostScript) like their lasers did and had optional built-in networking. This later evolved into the Deskjet 1600c and "Business Inkjet" line. I recall the 2000C being fairly popular in schools and offices. All these printers had PCL5c and PostScript along with an EIO slot for networking.

The professional inkjet line faded away when color lasers became cheap. HP tried to give it another shot with their "pagewide" inkjets, but I don't think it was a hot seller. Epson was always in the market with their ecotank CISS printers, but they never really sold laser printers. Overall, I think businesses like lasers because of the 'no fuss" aspect. They usually "just work" and don't have issues with head clogs. My one Designjet plotter at work is a constant source of headache, while the Color LaserJet Pro in the corner belts out hundreds of pages without drama.


Well-known member
cory and njroadfan - good points as usual

I not surprisingly was thinking of the 'two computers but just one printer and I don't want to have to bother with manual switches' type of scenarios when typing the original post here

on a small note I do recall a little bit about hp having (likely large-print models perhaps?) deskjets that could use jetdirect cards but I don't know what series this was or how new-at-the-time popular it was either

on the final note I know its somewhat a small part of the market pr-wise but I guess the one thing that an inkjet still easily prevails at is with being able to work within a relatively small dc power draw. theres nothing like going to third page of a seven page magazine-style article then the room goes dark to soon the annoying slow grumbling of ups making itself heard, then two minutes later everything is quiet like nothing had happened beside that theres seven good papers waiting at the front of the printer

regarding clogged heads, that sometimes seem to partially depend on the type of papers used too oddly enough. I know there was one instance where I bought two reams of local-name recycled papers and the shared old deskjet 8-something-series had no problem printing 100+ pages of it but parents' own hp aio/ink printer [at their own house] for some reason stuffed up fast after only a few of these papers went through it compared to the prior store papers they were using