They don’t build ’em like that anymore

My workhorse printer, a Hewlett-Packard DeskJet 720C, got a new black cartridge today, the previous one being spent, and it occurred to me at some point during the Align Cartridges routine that gawd, this thing is old, and indeed it is: I bought it (at Office Depot, I think, for something like $180) in 1997, which makes it ten years old, an eternity by computer standards.

And no, I have no plans to replace it; it works just fine, thank you very much, and you can still get cartridges for it with no difficulty. (In fact, recently at work we added a machine based on an HP engine using the same cartridge: the 45.) Further coolness: the 45 cartridge has a window in the front so you can tell how much ink is left in it, which is slightly more reliable than the current HP practice of popping up a dialog box on screen to tell you that it’s nearly empty, which in my experience it seldom is.

During these ten years, incidentally, I’ve gone through four DeskJets at work, following a few years with an old Epson 24-pin dot-matrix printer — which is still in service in another department. By now it must be pushing fifteen. Ribbons for the Epson are not hard to get, either.


  1. Scooby214 »

    1 September 2007 · 8:29 pm

    I have a 720c as well. Works great! I also have an 845c, but it has had its fair share of issues over the years. I have no need to replace the 720c, as I expect most new printers in my price range wouldn’t last like the 720c has.

  2. McGehee »

    1 September 2007 · 10:41 pm

    My first Epson 24-pin dot-matrix printer would be 14 this year, if it had not suffered a fatal injury of some kind during UPS shipping from Sacramento to Fairbanks 13 years ago.

    And if, having hypothetically not suffered that injury, it had made it through the subsequent 13 years without suffering some other injury…

    I’ll just go out and come back in again.

  3. ms7168 »

    2 September 2007 · 2:32 pm

    I used an old dot matrix until finally convinced to come into the present. I have a 932c purchased in 2000 and it has been nearly bullet proof as well :)

  4. uturn »

    3 September 2007 · 11:34 am

    heck, hang on to those old models as long as you can. Good luck finding a decent standard printer nowadays. Everything has to have all the nifty new photo quality garbage and every possible interface.

  5. CGHill »

    3 September 2007 · 1:18 pm

    The best thing about the 720C, besides the fact that it still works, is that it doesn’t nag me two-thirds of the way through a cartridge to demand another one, unlike every subsequent DeskJet I’ve seen, most of which use (SFX: diabolical cackle) smaller cartridges to begin with. I know when it’s out of ink: the print looks like crap.

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