Columbia University Computing History   

The Hazeltine 2000 Video Terminal

Hazeltine 2000
The Hazeltine 2000 video terminal, introduced in 1970; it was the first popular general-purpose video terminal, meaning it was self-contained and did not need to connected to an external "control unit" (like the IBM 2260 or IBM 3270); rather, it contained and executed all its own logic and had an ordinary RS-232C serial interface that allowed it to connect to any kind of computer that had a serial port and used the ASCII character set. It used in-line escape sequences for cursor positioning and other effects. At Columbia, the only video terminal that preceded it was the IBM 2260, which was IBM-specific, connecting only to an IBM control unit.

The Hazeltine 2000 was the first video terminal I experienced; there was one in the SSIO area, Columbia's brand new self-service input/output area where users of the central IBM 360/91 mainframe (such as engineering students like me) could submit batch jobs by feeding their card decks to a IBM 2501 card reader and then collect the resulting output from one of a pair of IBM 1403 line printers. The Hazeltine was used to monitor the progress of the job through the queue and, when finished, to see which printer it would come out on.

When I started working at Watson Laboratory in the Columbia Computer Center's Systems Group in 1974, each office had one Hazeltine 2000 shared by two or three programmers, like the three witches who shared one eyeball.

H2000 specifications

Construction: Monitor + detachable keyboard
Display: 27 rows x 74 columns, 5.75" x 8.5" display area
Screen: 12" diagonal green phosphor
Character matrix: 5x7 dot matrix
Character set: 64 US ASCII (uppercase only) plus 1 special character
Keys: 51 typewriter keys
Auxilliary keypads: Numeric, editing, and cursor keypads
Visual indicators: Keyboard lamps on right
Interface: RS-232-B
Communication Speeds: 110-9600bps (depending on model)
Dimensions: 12.5"x18.5"x16.0" (monitor); 18.5"x6" (keyboard)
Minimum table depth: 24"
Weight: 62 or 63 pounds (depending on model)
Optional accessories: Tape cassette, printer, remote monitor

A 25x80 display with lowercase letters was available as an option. The 5-position serial-port speed selector was available for three different sets of speeds.

Hazeltine 2000 keyboard
Photo from Hazeltine 2000 brochure.

The right-hand side of the Hazeltine 2000 keyboard, showing the auxilliary keypads and indicator lights. The arrow keypad includes XMIT, PRINT, and HOME keys. The six keys below it are labeled CLR/FG, I/C (Insert Character), D/C (Delete Character), CLEAR, I/L (Insert Line), and D/L (Delete Line). The lights are labled ON/OFF (this is also the power switch), TRANSMIT, RECV, PARITY ERROR, LOCAL, PRINT, BREAK, and RESET. Thanks to Tom De Bellis (formerly of Watson Lab) for the lower photo, scanned from an H2000 promotional leaflet. You can view the leaflet at high resolution if you wish (these are big files, 1MB to 2.5MB each):

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Columbia University Computing History Frank da Cruz / This page created: January 2001 Revised: 1 April 2021