Thrift Gods Hear My Plea: Brother Professional 90 and IF-50 Computer Interface

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Here's the IF-50 sold as an option for the Correctronic 50 in the Montgomery Wards 1983 Christmas Catalog. $169! Now, 30 years later, I found mine on Ebay for $14, with free shipping.

Here’s the IF-50 sold as an option for the Correctronic 50 in the Montgomery Wards 1983 Christmas Catalog. $169! Now, 30 years later, I found mine on Ebay for $14, with free shipping.

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The port I've been searching for 2 months to find.

The port I’ve been searching for 2 months to find.

2014-12-03-e IMG_7853 IMG_7855 2014-12-03-hNow, guess what I’m going to be doing with this baby? If your guess involves certain Paleocomputers I keep in my corral, your guess would be correct. Stay tuned for 1980’s style printing fun!

In the meantime, how about we let the Brother Professional 90 tell us a bit about itself:

2014-12-03-fPS: 5 more to 3000 Galleries in the Typewriter Database, where this machine is now the 2995th machine entered. (:

Updated: December 3, 2014 — 7:02 pm


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  1. Nifty! I remember thinking how cool those interfaces were when they came out. Who could afford an exotic printer!? I was pretty excited when Dad gave me his old dot matrix.

  2. Those are neat devices. Back in the day they were made I wonder if many people bought them unless they came with the wedge.

    1. at least a few. I was able to find mine pretty easily and there’s now an IF-60 on Ebay and a “Wordspell” device that the CX-90 mentions in it’s little sales message. That’s also a beige box that plugs into the same data port. Problem is finding the manuals – I’ve been flipping DIP switches on this thing at random trying to find the right combination for the LPT port to accept straight ASCII in a CR rather than CR/LF format, but no luck so far. I just get gibberish. So now, I’m on the hunt for instructions on how to set the DIP switches. :P

      1. I’m sure you will find the instructions somewhere. I don’t know of anyone who could be more suited to the task. :)

        1. I don’t know if you guys still need the manual but I just scanned mine to Here’s the link hope this helps anyone in the future.

  3. Whoa…… That’s an intersting find! Do you have a printer that will hook into that parallel port? That might be the next big challenge.

  4. Welcome to the Dark Side of Paleocomputing, Ted!

    It’s very interesting how even in the 1980s they had to find a way to make the typewriter / printer compatible with as many brands of personal computers as possible, and that interface is a very clever way to do it. You could hook it to an IBM PC – style machine using the parallel port, or even to a (much older!) Commodore PET using the Centronics port. Very ingenious!

  5. I remember the phrase “letter-quality” in that context way back when. That is pretty darn cool.
    How does it do the bold?

    1. It double-strikes each letter for “BOLD”., kind of like the way it underlines – it prints the letter then prints the underline immediately afterwards.

  6. Did you ever figure out the DIP switch settings for your IF-50? I have one but have not been able to find any information.

    1. Not yet. Still don’t have any docs on it, and haven’t had success on guessing. /:

  7. I realize this is a little late but I have been going through my garage, found a Brother IF-50 and a paper manual. I can scan it and send it to you or, if you prefer, mail it to you. I now longer have a need for the IF-50 so you could have that as well.

    Carroll Blend

    1. I did finally find and scan an IF-50 manual, but thank you for the offer! (:

      1. I also have an IF-50 and recently acquired a Brother CE-650 with the necessary data port. Unfortunately the interface came without a manual. Would you be willing to send me your scanned version?

          1. Perfect! Thank you!

  8. Back around 1984-1985, I helped a friend type up a 200 page proposal. I typed the original document on an Altair PC using WordStar. Then he bought a Brother Daisywheel typewriter and interface to make letter quality copies. I think the working copies were printed on a 9 pin dot matrix printer. I do not recall the Brother typewriter/interface as being very fast. But it was sure nice if we had to make a correction, as we only had to correct the master file, and reprint the one page.

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