device for transmitting messages in written form by electrical signals

A teletypewriter (TTY; also called a teletype or teleprinter) is a device that sends a typed message to another place. A teletypewriter has a typewriter keyboard, a local printer (so the user can see what has been typed) and a transmitter. Messages can be sent over wires or radio waves. Teletypes were used mostly in the early to mid-20th century. They were developed to improve telegraphs, some of which also used keyboards, though not typewriter keyboards.

Teletype machines (in foreground) during World War II

Though teleprinters have been replaced by other technologies, TDDs (Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf), which are based on the idea and design of teletypes, are still used these days. Not all people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-impaired have switched to using instant messaging or texting or other modern services. Many still type messages back and forth to one another by TDD.


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