Old, almost as old as the typewriter...
A dot-matrix printer uses a group of pins to strike a ribbon and form letters (or images) on the page. You might picture it like the construction signs on the highway. Someone has to program which lights get turned on or off to form the message. The printer drivers did the same for these pins on the dot-matrix printers, allowing them to write various characters.
The quality is not very good. On some of them there weren't enough pins, and so you could see the "dots" if you looked closely at the pages.
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