Functionality in search of purpose

Although I’ve noticed this item in the corner of a classroom I teach in this quarter, I never looked closely at it until today, when it was in a slightly different location.

I almost didn’t recognize what it was. That’s how long it’s been since I’ve seen one of these. Are you old enough to remember dot matrix printers? If so, you probably understand the significance of that big rectangular hole in the lower shelf.

Amazingly, look at who still sells that striped green continuous-feed paper!

Collector’s item: A bargain at $78.99!

Someone somewhere still uses this product.


That’s like a coal truck that makes local delivery rounds, which I suppose might be a routine occurrence in some places but which I haven’t seen in Milwaukee since the early 1990s. And even then, only once. Watching coal tumble down the long chute from truck to basement of an older East Side home, I felt like I’d stepped through a time warp into the 1930s.

I wonder if anyone still uses this printer cart for anything other than a lectern stand, which appears to be its current job. At least it is serving a legitimate need in its repurposed life 🙂

About Katherine Wikoff

I am a college professor at Milwaukee School of Engineering, where I teach literature, film studies, political science, and communication. I also volunteer with a Milwaukee homeless sanctuary, Repairers of the Breach, as chair of the Communications and Fund Development Committee.
This entry was posted in Higher education, History, Life, Milwaukee, Popular culture, Teaching, Technology and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Functionality in search of purpose

  1. how many hours of my life were spent ripping the sides off those sheets….


  2. OMG!! LOL I used to load those things with paper when I first started working in IT. Also did punch cards!! Things have really changed in less than 40 years!! lol

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh gosh yes, punch cards! And we had to stand in line for the keypunch machines, stand in line with our program decks to put them into the card reader, and then wait around in the basement of the library for like three hours for our printouts to come back. And then there’d be a comma missing so we’d have to go through the entire routine again!


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