Nomenclature (was: NEXT Color Printer find

From: Richard Erlacher <>
Date: Tue Jan 1 09:38:24 2002

Careful, now ... I don't think Amphenol makes the AMP line of connectors,
though it's possible I failed to notice that over the 25 years or so that
I've had both an Amphenol catalog and an AMP catalog lying about. However,
those connectors now often called "SCSI-1" connectors but previously in
common usage on 5-button phones, etc, had a specific name because that's
how, like KLEENEX, they were introduced. After they got enough market share
that they needed second sources, they became quite common, and were less
commonly associated, over the next few decades, with their original
manufacturer's name for the product line, which was "Blue Ribbon." Though
every major manufacturer made them at their peak market share, they were
still only called "Blue Ribbon" connectors in the Amphenol catalog, and were
primarily referred to by number elsewhere. I've seen them in sizes from 10
contacts to 60 contacts, though I doubt I've seen 'em all. However, in the
interest of remaining at least marginally correct, I refer to the 36-pin
printer port connector as "Centronics-type" unless it's attached to
something that has the Centronics brand-name emblazoned on the front. IBM
didn't use the exact same printer port specification as Centronics, yet
their definition seems to have taken over the Centronics name. OTOH, if you
refer to that connector as a 36-contact Blue Ribbon connector, you'll only
get a blank stare, even from most fairly knowledgable fellows who started
working in the industry by the mid '80's or later, when Amphenol's Blue
Ribbon line was no longer the most common source of that particular

BTW, if you look back in history, the <shape + shell-size + number of
contacts + gender> designation, e.g DB25P, DC37S, DD50P, etc, also
originated with Amphenol, if memory serves, yet folks still haven't really
come to use that rather precise set of definitions. They'd rather just say
DB15 and let the other party sort out whether it's a 'B' shell with 15
populated contacts, whether it's actually an 'A' shell (e.g. AUI cable) with
15 contacts, or whether it's an 'E' shell with the 15 contacts, as used in a
VGA connector.

It's different with other sorts of connectors. If you ask a person under 35
years of age what an RS-232 connector is, he/she'll probably point you at a
DE-9. If you look in the standard, however, you'll see lots of things that
refer to a precise signal set based on the DB-25 connector.

If you investigate other comm's standards you may see similar things, often
based on "facts" clearly not in evidence in the applicable standard.

My original point simply was that WE, the users/Collectors/afficionados of
classic hardware, should, if anyone should, learn and use the precisely
correct terminology in our communications, if for no reason other than to
avoid the inevitable discussion of "what did you mean by ...<insert poorly
specified nomenclature here> ..." regardless of whether the majority of
those for whom the communication is intended would probably understand
what's meant. There are enough who won't that getting them to look up the
definitions will benefit everyone.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Chris" <>
To: "Classic Computers" <>
Sent: Tuesday, January 01, 2002 1:41 AM
Subject: Re: Nomenclature (was: NEXT Color Printer find

> >Chris, I suggest that you do not have all of the relevant facts. The
> >wrench carries that name because Crescent Tools were the original
> >developer and manufacturer of it. That the name is used generically for
> >all adjustable wrenches of that design is a tribute to its popularity
> >and usefulness. Much the same as we speak of `xeroxing' copies.
> >
> >Centronics did not invent the Blue Ribbon connector. Amphenol did.
> >Centronics merely found a useful application that became the standard
> >parallel connector on printers (and on early computers - pre IBM). Not
> >quite the same accomplishment.
> I know the facts, and I know exactly why it carries that name (much like
> a Yankee Drill). But the arguments regarding the usage of terms was that
> you should call the item by its name, NOT by the common usage term. It
> becomes irrevlivant if the common name is that of the maker (in the case
> of Crescent), or of the company that popularized it (in the case of
> Centronics). The name is wrong either way. Under the "Crescent" logic,
> lets just call the "Centronics" connector an "Amphenol"... unless that
> will confuse the issue as they already have a number of connectors
> commonly refered to as "amp".
> I was really pointing out the irony that support for the "its not a
> Centronics" argument was itself using a term that is doing EXACTLY what
> the Centronics term is doing... miscalling an item because of a popular
> name.
> I guess that was lost in the typing... I'll try to sprinkly more
> emoticons in my text next time.
> -chris
> <>
Received on Tue Jan 01 2002 - 09:38:24 GMT

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