The Great 202 Jailbreak – Computerphile

Before laser-printers, high quality print-outs were the domain of typesetters, expensive and tightly controlled. In 1979 a Bell Labs team reverse engineered one in their summer vacation. Professor Brailsford has the details.

EXTRA BITS – More on Printing and Typesetting History:
Mainframes and the Unix Revolution:

To find out how the 1980 Bell Labs `vacation memo’ was completely rebuilt,
in 2013, visit:

If you want to see the `vacation memo’ itself — in its original scanned-in form and after being rebuilt — then visit:

The memorandum gives an outline of how the `reverse engineering’ of the 202 was accomplished.

This video was filmed and edited by Sean Riley.

Computer Science at the University of Nottingham:

Computerphile is a sister project to Brady Haran’s Numberphile. See the full list of Brady’s video projects at:


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