So what is the Centronics interface?  And why don’t we ever talk about it anymore?  Well to put it simply, the Centronics interface is otherwise known as a parallel printer connector, which back in the day connected your printer to your computer.  

Centronics was actually the company that produced the first dot matrix printer, and also the parallel cable that connected it.  Think of how RollerBlades are technically called Inline Skates, WindSurfers are actually SailBoards, and Hoverboards are some kind of explosive device. 

Parallel interfaces became the standard for printers for many years due to their blistering speeds of data transfer – at least compared to the serial interfaces at the time.

Sure there were other types of connectors, but the Centronics, or parallel printer cable was the standard in the 70s, 80s and a little beyond.  In fact, in the days before USB, you basically had two types of cables connecting your devices (or peripherals as we called them).  

The parallel port connected your printer, and the serial port connected your modem, and even your mouse.  And that’s all you needed to know.

So now you know what a Centronics interface is… lets never speak of it again.  

By Bill Baud

Living the Retro life in 8-bit.

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