Reading this interesting article about the ‘cents’ symbol [pointer from Ian], I remembered that the first printer I ever owned — it came used, from Langford’s Drug Store — did underlining by printing the characters to be underlined, doing a carriage return (but no line feed), and then running underscore symbols along the same line, where underlining was required. It was an amazing dance to watch.
Which reminds me that for a time, if you wanted to check your email at Trent, there was an unlocked room in the basement of the Science Complex that contained an old DEC line printer connected to the network. You could login to your UNIX account, and use mail to read email, everthing printing out on paper as you typed. Somewhat cumbersome (especially if you ran out of paper), but a handy printed record of all your correspondence was a useful byproduct.
Kids I knew in Hamilton who were two or three years ahead of me in school used to do their high school computer programming assignments by filling out punch cards and sending them to City Hall for processing.
Ironic that now that almost all the physicality of computing has been removed, we see more physical problems resulting from data processing than ever before.