Flashback Friday: The Xerox 1200 Computer Printing System

Written by Christina Vullo
Social Media Marketing Analyst
Xerox Corporation
These days, it seems that computers and digital presses always go hand-in-hand; however, this was not always the case. The combination of printing equipment with computers had to start somewhere, and that’s where the Xerox 1200 Computer Printing System comes in.
The 1200 Computer Printing System was the first commercial non-impact Xerographic printer for computer output. It was the first product in its line to combine the advantages of a copier and a computer. The 1200 Computer Printing System was available as both an offline and an online model. It was able to print on ordinary unsensitized 8.5 x 11 inch paper at speeds up to 4,000 lines per minute or over one page per second.
The printing system was produced in El Segundo, California and announced in May 1973. The 1200 System, including the magnetic tape input unit) lease started at $2,600 per month, while the computer-driven version was available starting at $2,100 per month. Both leases included 100,000 copies.
Here’s a glimpse of both the Xerox 1200 System from 1973 and the current Xerox D110. Surprisingly they look quite alike, even though the technology is much more advanced today!


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  1. David Bridge October 22, 2016 -

    We had a Xerox 1200 Computer Printing System at the Smithsonian Institution from 1976 to 1984.
    It printed output from a Honeywell mainframe computer system.
    Great machine; it was replaced with a Xerox 8700 used by both the Honeywell as well as an IBM 4381.


  2. fred panter November 2, 2016 -

    I was one of the first instructors on the 1200 starting in august of 1973 at the training center in Santa Ana, Ca

  3. Michael Rogers November 11, 2017 -

    I started working for Xerox in April of 78 as a service technician in the newly formed printing systems division.
    I was first trained on the 1200 print engine, 7 and 9 track tape drives in Leesburg Va attending a 10 week course. I returned a few months later to train on the online interface for 2 weeks. I recently ended my career with Xerox as an iGen analyst in production color. How the times have changed and the technology developed.

    • Carro Ford November 13, 2017 -

      Love your story, Michael. Thanks for sharing. Maybe you’ll guest write a post for us sometimes on all the changes you’ve seen.

  4. AL Williams December 4, 2017 -

    Yes Fred Panter is the best instructor of any Xerox machines, and the 1200 training class in Leesburg, Va. was a brutal course as I was just out of college with NO field experience. Most of the guys in the class were older Xerox technicians from the copier side of the house. Fred would always put bug’s into the system for a on hands test, you had like 7 mins to resolve or pinpoint the problem, if you didn’t – well I don’t know what happened afterwards.
    I met many friends and acquaintances of Fred and his wife over the years, It was the best time in my life.

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