The VT52 was a CRT-based computer terminal produced by Digital Equipment Corporation during the late 1970s. This terminal provided a screen that was 24 rows high and 80 columns wide and supported the full upper- and lower-case ASCII character set as well as a few special graphics characters. The terminal supported forward and reverse scrolling, allowing full-screen editing for the first time. It supported asynchronous communication at baud rates up to 9600 bits per second and did not require any fill characters. The terminal also introduced a separate function keypad that allowed "Gold Key" editing (as exemplified by WPS-8, KED, and EDT).
The VT52 offered an optional hard-copy device called an electrolytic copier. This device was able to print, scan-line by scan-line, an exact replica of the screen onto a roll of paper that was saturated with salty water. While it did an admirable job of capturing the contents of the screen, the output of the copier had an unfortunate resemblance to used toilet tissue.
The basic VT52 became a "platform" on which Digital built a number of related devices. The VT55 incorporated an add-on graphics system that was capable of displaying two mathematical functions or histograms. The VT61 and VT62 were block-mode terminals optimized for typesetting applications. The VT78 added a single-chip PDP-8 processor that allowed the terminal to run WPS-8, Digital's word processing system.
Because the top of the terminal was an admirably large, flat area, the terminal frequently became a "platform" on which the users would pile large volumes of DEC documentation.
The VT52 followed a similar but less-sophisticated terminal called the VT50 and was itself followed by the much-more-sophisticated VT100.
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