7.2.3. Line Printers

Another type of impact printer somewhat similar to the daisy-wheel is the line printer. However, instead of a print wheel, line printers have a mechanism that allows multiple characters to be simultaneously printed on the same line. The mechanism may use a large spinning print drum or a looped print chain. As the drum or chain is rotated over the paper's surface, electromechanical hammers behind the paper push the paper (along with a ribbon) onto the surface of the drum or chain, marking the paper with the shape of the character on the drum or chain.
Because of the nature of the print mechanism, line printers are much faster than dot-matrix or daisy-wheel printers. However, they tend to be quite loud, have limited multi-font capability, and often produce lower print quality than more recent printing technologies.
Because line printers are used for their speed, they use special tractor-fed paper with pre-punched holes along each side. This arrangement makes continuous unattended high-speed printing possible, with stops only required when a box of paper runs out.