When Texas Instruments (TI) introduced the Silent 700 series computer terminals in 1972, they were revolutionary. Most people connected to computers with the ubiquitous Teletype Model 33 mechanical teleprinter. If you’ve never experienced one, it’s difficult to appreciate how heavy (34 kg), noisy, vibration-prone, smelly (many oiled moving parts inside), and clunky the keyboard was. Yes, the TI 700 series used funky thermal paper, but it was almost silent in operation, had a great keyboard, supported upper and lower case characters (the Teletype was capitals only), and could print either 80 characters per line or, in a compressed mode, the full 132 character lines that computer line printers used. Plus, it ran three times faster than the Teletype and could connect to computers over standard dial-up telephone lines at 300 baud, running 30 characters per second.
The unit shown here is a model 703, introduced in 1983, was smaller and lighter, This particular unit was modified by AT&T to be used as a logging terminal on an AT&T PBX, an application which continued to use these terminals into the 1990s.