In computing, a printer is a peripheral which makes a persistent human-readable representation of graphics or text on paper or similar physical media. The two most common printer mechanisms are black and white laser printers used for common documents, and color inkjet printers which can produce high quality photograph output.
The world’s first computer printer was a 19th-century mechanically driven apparatus invented by Charles Babbage for his difference engine. This system used a series of metal rods with characters printed on them and stuck a roll of paper against the rods to print the characters. The first commercial printers generally used mechanisms from electric typewriters and Teletype machines, which operated in a similar fashion. The demand for higher speed led to the development of new systems specifically for computer use. Among the systems widely used through the 1980s were daisy wheel systems similar to typewriters, line printers that produced similar output but at much higher speed, and dot matrix systems that could mix text and graphics but produced relatively low-quality output. The plotter was used for those requiring high quality line art like blueprints.