Lightscan 400J

There was a time when scanners didn’t exist, then came a time when they were just outrageously expensive, then there was the hand scanner. These little devices kept costs down by scanning only a small ‘slice’ of a page or image at a time, and the user provided the motion. A hand scanner had a roller on the under side and you dragged the whole unit backwards over the image to be scanned. As the unit moved, the roller turned, the sensors passed over the image and timed by some electronics associated with the roller, created a bit-image that was passed via a cable back to a card in the computer, which along with some software created an on-screen version of the scanned image.

They definitely fell into the crude-but-effective category.

This was in fact my own unit and was used in our business for quite a few months before becoming superseded. They worked surprisingly well, but keeping the unit moving in a straight line was difficult and you would have to be masochistic to use the OCR (optical Character Recognition) facility.

The 400J was a grey-scale (or gray if you prefer) scanner, with selectable resolutions from 100 to 400 dpi. The lightpaint software is dated 1991. There was a colour version of the scanner, but I seem to recall it was about twice the price. I’m also pretty sure it was about this time I got one of the very first digital cameras, an Apple Quicktake 100 - which provided a way to get (albeit low quality) colour images into a computer. I still have the Quicktake and it’s cable and software, and as far as I am aware, it still works. I also have a number of photos taken with it, which I will post (a) when I find the camera again and (b) when I get more time.

I also have another hand-scanner, bought at auction this time, and I think another one given to me by my brother. Watch this space....

There are 6 x 5.25 inch disks. When I get a 5.25 inch floppy drive hooked up to something on the network again, I’ll post the disk contents. In the meantime, if you really want a copy, send me an email (details on the ‘contact’ page)