Hewlett Packard desktop computer, printer, disk drive, DSI paper tape machine

Made in United States, North and Central America, c. 1981.

This computer hardware system represents a significant stage in the development of computer technology. In 1981, the Hewlett Packard 9845B was a very powerful computer. Costing about $20,000, or the equivalent of the average Australian annual salary, it was designed for commercial use. This computer was used by KD Binnie Engineering in Kirrawee, Sydney to interpret information keyed in (or read from data tape or floppy disk) and used to program precision engineering equipment. The computer trans...


Object No.


Physical Description

Desktop computer, with printer, disk drive and paper tape machine, plastic / metal / paper / electronic components, made by Hewlett Packard / Data Specialties Inc, United States of America, c. 1981

The desktop computer consists of a plastic housing with a standard QWRTY and numerical keyboard, and thirty six function keys. There is a small dot matrix printer behind the keyboard. Either side of the printer are ports for data cassettes. Behind this is where the components of the computer are housed, and the glass-tube monitor is mounted on top of this. The monitor plugs into two mountings with connections which power and operate the monitor.

The peripheral printer has a plastic housing. It is a dot matrix printer that uses a sprocket paper feed system. At the rear of the unit is a power supply cord and a serial port for connection to the computer.

The DSI LRP - 300 paper tape machine has a plastic housing for the electronic components. There is a plate with five function buttons on the front right top of the unit. The paper tape roll sits on a spool at the rear left of the unit and feeds across the top of the unit , though a drive roller, and then under the hole-punch. The rear of the unit has a power supply cord and a connection to the computer. The unit is operated by commands from the computer. The paper tape machine then punches holes in the paper tape according to the commands. The holes can then be read by the computer of an industrial manufacturing machine. In the case of this particular machine, the tape was used to program functions for a metal lathe and a metal drilling/routing machine.

The disk drive has a plastic casing. At the front face of the unit are two inputs for 5 1/4" floppy disks. On the left bottom of the front face is a power switch (on/off).



470 mm


475 mm



Hewlett Packard is a highly successful electronic equipment company based in the USA. The company began in 1957 as a precision electronic equipment manufacturer, and has gone on to be a leader in computer hardware and software manufacturer.

Data Specialties Inc. was incorporated in 1969. They began designing and manufacturing paper data tape machines, and continued until the technology was superseded. The company then went into bar code technology. In 1986 the company name was changed to Zebra Technologies Corporation - named after their successful bar code printer called the zebra. The company is still trading (2007) in Illinois, USA.


c. 1981



This hardware was used by KD Binnie Engineering in Kirrawee, Sydney, Australia. The desktop computer, disk drive, printer, and paper tape machine were used to create commands for engineering machines such as lathes and drilling/routing equipment. Commands were entered into the desktop computer, which were then sent to the paper tape machine which punched holes into the paper tape - the tape was then installed onto a reel to reel mechanism on the lathe or drilling/routing machine, and a reader interpreted the information into commands, eg, the depth of a cut performed by the lathe, or the precise area of a hole or pattern in a material.




Credit Line

Gift of KD Binnie Engineering Pty Ltd, 2008

Acquisition Date

16 January, 2008

Cite this Object


Hewlett Packard desktop computer, printer, disk drive, DSI paper tape machine 2014, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 24 January 2018, <https://ma.as/331333>


{{cite web |url=https://ma.as/331333 |title=Hewlett Packard desktop computer, printer, disk drive, DSI paper tape machine |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=24 January 2018 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}

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