In high school, I programmed on a terminal that was retro THEN, and I need help remembering make and model.

White screen, black text (seemed very unusual to me), no lowercase, 24x80, and I have this vague memory of "orange", the casing, the keyboard, something. This was 1982, but I'm guessing the terminal was mid-1970's.

I used it as a dumb terminal only with a Data General machine, but the terminal was not DG.

Can anyone help me? I'm hoping the black-on-white screen is unusual enough to ring some bells.

  • 1
    IDK, but it's possible that the black-text-on-white-background was an option, possibly configured via a DIP switch. Other people who used the same make and model might remember white-text-on-black if their terminal was configured the other way. Apr 16, 2020 at 13:08
  • 3
    Re, "no lowercase." That could have been a limitation of the terminal, or it could have been a limitation of the software running at the other end. I remember when my high school upgraded from an ASR33 Teletype to a dot-matrix printing terminal of some kind, and I discovered that I could use CHR$ in a BASIC program and cause the terminal to print lower-case characters. Other kids were mystified, because they didn't know any way to see lower-case output. The BASIC system to which we dialed-in only used upper-case alphabetics. Apr 16, 2020 at 13:16
  • What country? ICL (International Computers Ltd) used orange cases on their later kit. A lot of their machines used a 6-bit character set, so upper case only.
    – Mick
    Apr 16, 2020 at 13:25
  • Definitely orange, not gold?
    – JdeBP
    Apr 16, 2020 at 14:54
  • The best selling terminal in the late 1970s was the DEC VT-100. Nothing orange on it, but it was everywhere. It did have lower case. Apr 16, 2020 at 18:22

2 Answers 2


image taken from ADDS Consul 980 wayback machine link


I am thinking of the ADDS Consul 980, from 1974:

The display was black on white.

It did support lowercase. Solomon Slow is correct. The Data General C/150 certainly supported "console characteristics" which could disable lowercase transmission (i.e. it would convert lowercase bytes to uppercase before transmitting them to the terminal), and I did know this at the time. But, for whatever reason, I never noticed this machine had lowercase. Why our system operator disabled lowercase, I don't know, but it was disabled as well on our long-serving VT52 which also supported lowercase.

As you can see, bright orange keys. I don't recall the cursor control and numeric keypads, but everything else rings a bell.

Walter Mitty suggests it might be a VT-100. The classroom was filled with mostly Data General Dasher D200 terminals, with three oddballs. One of the oddballs was a VT-52; that one I remember. That's why I know the one I'm seeking was not a VT-100; it would have been too similar. The VT-52, incidentally, was a nice little terminal. I didn't like it at the time because it was too incompatible with DG software, but I could write custom software for it that was pretty cool. (The third oddball was an Apple ][ rigged up as a dumb terminal. That was horrible, and I only used that if everything else was taken.)

However, I'm pretty sure now that it's an ADDS Consul 980, and I thank all of you for contributing.

  • re: That's why I know the one I'm seeking was not a VT-100; it would have been too similar. IMO, the VT52 and VT100 are quite different in appearance. The '52 is a very big single-box terminal; the '100 is a smaller box with detached (and inferior :-)) keyboard.
    – dave
    Apr 16, 2020 at 22:22
  • 1
    Ah. To my 14-year-old brain, though, they would have been close enough. The similar beige tone would have meant something, but, more importantly, the fact that both have the "digital" logo stamped proudly upon them would have impressed upon my mind that these are two related models. No, the one I'm thinking of would not have been a DEC. Part of the problem is that I never gave a nickname to the ADDS. We had the "DG's" the "Apple" the "DEC" and the "other one." How do I begin my research if "other one" is the starting point for a 38-year-old memory?
    – TZFan
    Apr 16, 2020 at 23:48
  • A previous version of this answer had me speculate that it was an ADDS Regents 20, and that did trigger deja vu. But this one triggers even more deja vu, so the ADDS Consul 980 is what I'm going with.
    – TZFan
    Apr 17, 2020 at 0:14
  • A lot of times upper/lower case was NOT a limitation of the terminal but of the computer or the software. For example, in the early 1980s when I was at the University of MD, I took an assembly language course on a Univac 1100/80. The terminals on campus (mostly ADM3A and Decwriters but some others as well) all supported mixed case. But the assembler on the Univac didn't. Well, it did once I figured out how to use the newer assembler and told the professor. He OKed it and I didn't look back, but I wouldn't be surprised if 95% of the class stuck to the old UPPER CASE ONLY assembler. Apr 17, 2020 at 3:07
  • In this case, all major software on the Data General C/150 was case insensitive. The Dasher D200 terminals all were set up to allow lowercase. The three "oddballs" were not. The Apple ][ had no natural lowercase rendering, so that one makes sense. But the VT-52 and the Consul 980 allowed lowercase, so there was no need to disable it on those machines. I'm guessing the system operator had one cookie cutter set of "console characteristics" for oddball terminals and didn't really design them on a machine-by-machine basis.
    – TZFan
    Apr 17, 2020 at 3:46

In the 1970s I worked for TDS (Terminal Display Systems) the UK importers Of ADDS (Applied Digital Data Systems). I tested and repaired these consoles (520 and 980) to component level. There was also a very rare portable VDU in a briefcase. TDS modified the rackmount version of the 980 to add basic color functionality. These did NOT use RAM chips, but rather shift registers - I must have changed hundreds of the things. I used to clean the keycaps in soapy water, and replace any faulty keyswitches - Cherry mechanical switches!

The Regent series used microprocessors and RAM. I also worked on Summagraphics tablets, RAMTEK and Megatek terminals. I ended my career working on Evans & Sutherland 3D computer graphics Image generators and projectors for flight simulators.

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