Collection of telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) modems

RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive

Table of Contents

Collection Overview
Historical Information for telecommunication device for the deaf
Scope and Content
Subject Headings
Information for Researchers
Administrative Information
Related Materials

Collection Overview (Collapse)

Collection of telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) modems
Inclusive Date(s)
Three examples of telecommunication devices for the deaf from the 1980's.
1.3 Linear feet (added to file box of existing tty's on mid-range shelf 336)
C.S. Midrange, Shelf 336
RIT Archive Collections
RIT Libraries
Wallace Center
90 Lomb Memorial Drive
Rochester, New York, 14623
(585) 475-2557

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Historical Information for telecommunication device for the deaf (Collapse)

According to Mary Karol Matchett (on the deed of gift): The Mimicom TTY was purchased from Mr. Paul Peterson, back in mid-1980s while I was a student at NTID/RIT. Mr. Paul Peterson was a math instructor at NTID and was selling a variety of TTY's to the deaf community. The Superprint TTY was purchased from Mr. Paul Peterson or through Harris Communication company back in 1991.

TDD actually stands for a “telecommunication device for the deaf.” A TDD is a teleprinter. It is an electronic device which aids people with hearing or speech difficulties with communication through text and telephone lines. There are several other names that can be used for this device such as a TTY, textphone (commonly used in Europe), teletypewriter and minicom (commonly used in the United Kingdom). The average TDD is similar in size to a small laptop computer and has a QWERTY keyboard. It also has a small display screen that shows the text. TDD's also often have a small paper spool where the text is also printed. Text can be transmitted from one TDD device to another via phone lines or it can still be used when only one person has a TDD. If a deaf person with a TDD calls someone who does not have a TDD, a TDD message relay (answering service) is needed. In this three person arrangement, the dual party operator actually utilizes two telephones where one is used in conjunction with a TDD in order to finish the call. For example, a person with a TDD uses the device to send a message to the relay service who then reads the message. The service uses a second telephone to call the intended party and repeats the message by voice to the recipient. This is truly a great device for use with deaf education.


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Scope and Content (Collapse)

The collection of TDD include:

  1. 1983 Ultratec MINICOM II - An enhanced, extremely low-cost TTY that quickly became the market leader.
  2. 1985 Ultratec SUPERPRINT SERIES - The first modular, upgradeable series of printing TTYs with memory, auto-answer, ASCII, and human engineering to simplify training and use.
  3. 1987 Ultratec introduces the SUPERCOM, the first low-cost fully featured TTY.

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Arrangement (Collapse)

There is no arrangement for this collection.

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Subject Headings (Collapse)

Personal Name(s)

  • Matchett, Mary Karol

Corporate Name(s)

  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf. Students.
  • National Technical Institute for the Deaf.


  • Deaf -- Means of communication
  • Deaf college students
  • Teletypewriters


  • Telecommunications devices for the deaf -- United States -- History

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Information for Researchers (Collapse)

RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive

Collection of telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD), RIT/NTID Deaf Studies Archive

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open to researchers.

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Administrative Information (Collapse)

Collection ID


Accession Information

The collection was donated to RIT Archive Collections by Mary Karol Matchett from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID) in October 2012. Accession number(s): 2012:067

Processing Information

Finding aid created by Jody Sidlauskas in November 2012.

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Related Materials (Collapse)

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