30 years of the Mac: peripherals

These days of celebration of the Mac’s 30th anniversary really had a deep ‘going down memory lane’ effect on me. Coincidentally, I was doing some major cleaning in my studio, and I found some things worth scanning. To avoid posting just a bunch of photos and images, I’ll try to make a series of posts, separating my findings in a more coherent way.

First off, I found a great book I thought I had lost when I relocated: The Graphic Designer’s Basic Guide to the Macintosh, Written by Michael Meyerowitz and Sam Sanchez. The book was published in 1990, and it’s full of very nice photos of Macs and peripherals of the time (too bad the photos are black and white, and not colour). Instead of focusing on the various Mac models portrayed therein — nothing really new to the vintage Mac enthusiast — I thought I’d scan and publish here a few images of interesting peripherals (monitors, printers, etc.). I’m doing this for ‘educational’ purposes and I hope the copyright owner will consider this fair use of the images.

Apologies for the quality of the scans. The original photos weren’t much better. I also scanned the captions, which should be perfectly readable, but I’ve transcribed them anyway just in case. I’ve also added links with additional information where possible.

Apple CD SC
The Apple CD SC is a front-loading disk drive that reads information from specially formatted compact disks. One compact disk can hold an entire encyclopedia.


Apple monitors
Apple monitors for the Macintosh II, IIx and IIcx. They include a 13-inch Apple Color RGB monitor, a 21-inch Apple two-page monochrome monitor, a 15-inch Macintosh portrait display monitor and a 12-inch monochrome monitor.


The Bernoulli Box is one of several cartridge systems that stores information on a removable disk.

Further reading: The Bernoulli Box A220H


Linotronic laser imagesetters produce professional-quality text, line art and halftones on film, paper, or press-ready plates. The Linotronic is one of several high-end machines that can be used to produce camera ready layouts.


Montage FR1
Presentation Technologies’ Montage FR1 film recorder with optional TC1 camera back for creating overheads and instant prints of work created on the Macintosh.


Original Mac  accessories
The original Macintosh with mouse and keyboard. Add-ons included the ImageWriter dot matrix printer, external disk drive, numeric keyboard, a modem, and carrying case.


QMS ColorScript 100
The QMS ColorScript 100 color laser printer. Although expensive, color laser printer technology is moving forward rapidly and prices are starting to drop.


ScanMan SE
A ScanMan hand-held scanner by Logitech for the Macintosh Plus, SE and II. Hand-held scanners are inexpensive, easy to use, and provide a quick way of scanning small pieces of artwork.

Watch an edition on scanners from the TV programme Computer Chronicles, made available by the Internet Archive. Originally broadcast in 1991. (30-minute video)


SE30 Radius
Radius two-page monitor for the Macintosh SE/30. The obvious advantage of this size monitor is its ability to display a double-page spread at actual size.

Further reading: Radius Full Page Display at 32by32.com


An inexpensive scanning option: Thunderscan replaces the printhead of the Apple ImageWriter with an electronic eye that reads the image as it rolls through the printer’s paper-feed mechanism.

Further reading: Andy Hertzfeld on the Thunderscan at Folklore.org


Some other vintage brochures (Part 3)

While I was looking for more vintage Italian Apple brochures and leaflets, I also found some printed material from other manufacturers — mostly leaflets, small booklets and mini-magazines printed exclusively for the tech trade fairs I used to attend. While most of such non-Apple material isn’t very striking, imaginative or otherwise memorable, I stumbled upon a few little gems lovers of vintage technology will surely appreciate…

QuarkXPress4 A

The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Front) — A cardboard leaflet from 1997. Apologies for the evident crease across the middle: since the leaflet isn’t standard A4 format, I foolishly folded it when I stored it 15 years ago.

QuarkXPress4 B

The 10 Best Things about QuarkXPress 4.0 (Back)


Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Front) — A leaflet from circa 1996.


Iomega Zip 100 Drive (Back)


Iomega 2 GB Jaz Drive — A leaflet from 1998.

Two last-minute Apple-related bonuses:

A Mac today

A generic Macintosh Italian ad. Judging by the type of PowerBook the guy is holding (a 190 or 5300), I’d say this ad is from 1995-1996. I didn’t remember having this among my stuff and I certainly don’t remember seeing it around much at the time. Translation: “Take it to the max. Get Macintosh. TODAY.”

Apple Masters of Media

Front cover of the 1996 Italian brochure “Masters of Media”. Quoting from this press release, Masters of Media was an initiative introduced at Seybold San Francisco 1995:

Perhaps the most important single place to visit at the show will be Apple’s Masters of Media Showcase, reportedly produced at a cost of more than $1 million and featuring several Seybold Hot Picks within its walls. It will include multiple vendors with real-world workflows (print, CD-ROM and the World Wide Web). Visitors will participate in authoring, editing and distributing content across all media. The theme will be integrated marketing based on a 1984 Macintosh commercial, including the making of a video, a magazine insert, a merchandising catalog, an in-store CD-ROM kiosk, customized direct mail, a newspaper, point-of-purchase displays and Web sites.

It has three primary components: Digital Brand Building; Cross-Media Authoring and Network Color, which will rely on ColorSync 2.0 as the universal translator so that color can be consistent across a desktop network.

Among the Hot Picks appearing in this Showcase but described below are the Canon ColorGear color-management system, the Agfa Chromapress digital press and the Indigo E-Print 1000 digital press.

Like many Apple printed advertisements, the tag line started on one page and ended on the next. Here the translated message is “Should we communicate more…” and turning the page you can read “…or better?” in big black letters set in Apple Garamond in the middle of a blank space.

And that’s all — for now at least. As I revisit my archives, I may find some other materials of this kind. If I find anything worth sharing, I’ll definitely scan it and publish it here.

Some vintage Italian Apple brochures (Part 2)

Here are some more vintage brochures and advertising materials I’ve scanned from my archives. Enjoy.

Apple Multimedia Festival

I was probably given this at a tech trade fair in Milan around 1996, but a brief Web search informs me that the ‘Apple Multimedia Festival’ took place earlier than that. On the Advisory Group on Computer Graphics (AGOCG) website, I found this bit: “The Apple Multimedia Festival in November 1993 was a precursor to a nationwide attempt to raise awareness of multimedia among prospective customers. Everybody who attended the Festival was given a free pack including a brochure of the Apple product range and a free CD which included, among other things, film trailers and video guides to British cities. Much of the importance of multimedia was sold on the idea of interactivity, a buzzword almost as powerful and ubiquitous as multimedia itself.”

Apple Expo98

This leaflet is very easy to date: October 1998, when I attended the SMAU trade fair in Milan. Translation: “For those who don’t want to stop thinking — Apple Expo 98: The biggest Macintosh-centred event ever organised in Italy. SMAU, Pavilion 8, 22 to 26 October 1998.”

Power Macintosh

This brochure is from 1996, and it was meant to advertise the Power Macintosh ‘pro’ lines of the period: the Power Macintosh 7600, 8200, 8500 and 9500 series. Translation: “Those who do serious work take Macintosh very seriously. Here’s why.”

Apple brochure PMG3 BW

This is the Italian version of the famous Power Macintosh G3 (Blue & White) ad, “Another year. Another revolution.” (1999)

Apple brochure PMG4

…And this is the Italian booklet introducing the Power Macintosh G4. The literal translation is “The speed of light? Not enough for us.” But it’s probably derived from the original tag line “Move over, speed of light” featured on Apple’s website in 1999 (see it via the WayBack Machine)

IPod outer

IPod innersleeve

This is a bit of an oddity: it’s a small, A5-sized leaflet from late 2001 promoting the then-new 10 GB iPod (1st generation, scroll wheel). I say it’s an oddity because it appears to be a smaller, more minimalist version of a longer 12-page booklet that I remember seeing circulating around that time. On the outside, just the iPod (front/rear). On the inside, just the Jimi Hendrix photo. No tag lines, no words whatsoever. Yet still quite effective if you ask me.

And this is it for Part 2. In the next and final installment I’ll upload non-Apple brochures (from Iomega and Quark) of the same vintage.

Some vintage Italian Apple brochures (Part 1)

The other day I was going through some old folders and I decided to take a look inside one in particular, containing various catalogues and brochures (by Apple and other companies) I had picked up while visiting some tech fairs in Milan during the 1996-2000 period. I scanned those I found most interesting to share with you, I hope you’ll like these.

Apple brochure iMac PBG3

Page 2 of a 1998 Italian Apple brochure introducing the iMac G3, the PowerBook G3, Mac OS 8 and related software.

Apple brochure imac pbg3 2

Last page of the aforementioned brochure. I always loved this image of the PowerBook G3. It had a really attractive and innovative design for the time. Compare it against the earlier PowerBook 3400c, for example.

Apple small brochures 1

Small brochures from 1996-1997 to promote the Performa family of Macintoshes. Translation: “Learn – Create – Communicate.”

Apple small brochures 2

While the brochure on the right is newer, and part of the same Performa advertising campaign as the two brochures above, the one on the left is actually from 1994-1995, and introduces the most affordable Performa line ‘for home users’ (Performa 200, 400 and 600 series). Translation (left) “Apple Macintosh makes you feel at home”; (right) “Learn – Create – Communicate – With Apple Magic Collection.”

Apple small brochures 3

Two brochures from 1997-1998. The one on the left introduces the Power Macintosh G3 ‘beige’ series (Desktop and Minitower) and it also contains a photo of the first PowerBook G3 ‘Kanga’, which had the same design of the PowerBook 3400c. On the right, a thicker booklet to outline different business solutions involving the various Power Macintosh and PowerBooks available at that time. Translation: (left) “The new generation – Power Macintosh G3 Series – The new computers sporting supersonic speeds”, (right) “Apple: products, systems and solutions. From the success of the Macintosh to the power of the Power Macintosh.”

Abcdefgh Performa

Another brochure from 1996-1997 to advertise the Macintosh Performa 6400 line. Translation: “Macintosh Performa has taken all family needs to the letter.”

It’s all for now. In the following days I will post more of this kind of stuff, so stay tuned if you’re interested.

Another vintage Mac story with a happy ending

I’m still doing some research for a couple of long articles I’ll hopefully publish next month, and I’m also in the process of consolidating and moving my small Mac magazines collection from the 1990s to a more accessible place, so that I can continue to offer some bits of Macintosh history through my ‘reprints’ of interesting excerpts.

In the meantime I break the silence with a link to a nice story involving a Macintosh 128K and an ImageWriter.

Macintosh128k davidtucker

The other day I was browsing David Tucker’s website and wished I could have paid more attention before because I had missed this article from last year. David writes:

Sitting in the book arts lab I almost fell over as fellow docents carried in a beautiful Apple Macintosh 128k and sat it down in front of me.

Knowing I used to work for Apple the computer was brought in and placed before me partially in jest, it had been assumed that the machine probably didn’t work as it had been packed away in a box for who knows how long up back in some rafters.

Follow the link and read the story of how David managed to get the Mac and the printer (especially the printer) back to their feet. I really like this bit at the end:

The museum has always focused on “antique” printing methods, at 27 years old this machine is not nearly as old as our Gutenberg presses or Heidelberg windmills but indeed made and equally important milestone in printing history. Bringing this whole system back to life now ensures that this piece of the story is not lost and we can continue to teach its place in history.

Good job, David. Another system saved from the landfill.

Forgotten peripherals: Apple Color Plotter

Apple Color Plotter
Photo by Daniel Sczygelski

Sometimes, looking back at more than 30 years of Apple history, I marvel at the amount of different peripherals the company has produced. So I easily forgot that Apple also manufactured a small plotter in 1984, the Apple Color Plotter. What triggered my memory was a message on the LEM Swap List by Daniel Sczygelski, who was selling one a few days ago. He also provided a small photo gallery for those interested in buying it. The picture above is taken from that gallery. I email David and asked him if he minds sending me more photos, he replied he would, but I haven’t heard from him yet. If he sends more pictures, I’ll add them to this post.

I don’t know if his Apple Color Plotter is still for sale. The relevant bit of his announcement was this:

[…] It is a 4 pen unit. I even have some pens, although I am not sure how good they are after all these years. I used some Public Domain Apple II BASIC software to make pretty color overheads back in my college teacher days. I will include the software (on 5.25-inch Apple II disk) if you like. I have no real idea of what it is worth, although I remember paying a fair amount for it back in the day. I am open to offers starting at $100 with free shipping to CONUS.

You can contact him at laserski at gmail dot com

Amazingly, there is still an old entry on the Apple Color Plotter in the Apple Knowledge Base, detailing its technical specs.

The importance of the LaserWriter

LaserWriterImage taken from Museum Victoria

Benj Edwards at Macworld.com has a very nice article celebrating the 25th anniversary of the introduction of the LaserWriter, Four reasons the LaserWriter mattered:

The $6,995 LaserWriter was part of a 1985 Apple marketing initiative christened the “Macintosh Office” that involved new network technology called AppleTalk, the  printer, a file server, and a high-end UNIX workstation. Critics soon called the Macintosh Office campaign a bust because Apple kept delaying the fileserver and workstation. (Ultimately, neither made it to market.)Apple pulled the plug on the Office campaign in late 1985, and critics soon forgot the episode. However, two office components—AppleTalk and LaserWriter—lived on and became successful products in their own right. In light of this 25th anniversary, here are four reasons why the LaserWriter mattered:

  1. It assured Apple’s graphic design dominance
  2. It launched PostScript—and Adobe
  3. It was the first network printer
  4. It empowered the little guy

The whole article is worth reading.

Tip from the past: Quick reprint

This is taken from MacUser, Vol. 9 No. 16, August 6, 1993 issue. At that time, MacUser magazine used to keep a Help section titled Hints and Tips, where Peter Jackson compiled readers’ tricks and shortcuts. This tip is from Graham Tyers, of Oakham, and is intended for those who reprint documents regularly.

When you print a document using background printing, make a copy of the spool file that appears in the Print Monitor Documents folder in the System Folder. To print this document again, option-drag it into the Print Monitor Documents folder and it will print instantly, although you may have to click OK in a dialog box, depending on your printer. This method will print documents from hefty applications in a fraction of the time taken to launch the application and then spool the file. The down-side is that the spool files take up a lot of space, especially if pictures or other graphics are included.