Just off the top of my head :-
- Simple line of pins impact dot matrix through ribbon - classic. I had a few of these.
- Single "pin" with rotating roller behind paper to do dot matrix through ribbon - slow - prints one dot at a time moving up through the character, then the blade shaped head moves right to do next pixel one dot at a time.
- Band printers - I did not own one, but used one - has all the letters on a band, and it is fascinating watching the line form as each letter is printed when it is over the right space, printing many in the line at a time, so the line of text sort of forms in seemingly random order in front of your eyes.
- Daisy wheel, impact print through ribbon, but fun doing some graphics with a lot of full stops.
- A spark based printer, single wire high drags at high speed across the paper for each row burning off a silvered surface of the paper, dot matrix - creates a black on silver text.
- A spark jet printer, with a carbon rod in a glass tube making a spark to the paper and carrying carbon deposited on the page. Single glass tube moves at high speed back and forth over the paper. Like printing with pencil. I did my degree dissertation on that.
- A variety of thermal printers on thermal paper - head the width of paper. Fades rather easily.
- A variety of thermal transfer printers, transfer from film to normal paper, head the width of paper.
- A variety of thermal transfer multi-colour ribbon printers for photo printing.
- The plastic card printer we use at work, thermal transfer. Ive used two kinds of such printers.
- Normal A4 laser printers, postscript
- A3 laser printer, colour
- Ink jet printer
- Bubble jet printer
- Oh, and pen plotters
Wow, I have had a lot of printers. I suspect I have missed some out even.
The printer I have used for a long time is a wax based printer - originally Tektronix, but now bought by Xerox. I like them as they are not as messy as using toner and do solid colours really well. You just drop in these wax blocks to load the ink, neat and tidy. They are OK (ish) for photo print, but for colour letterheads (which is why we got them originally) they are really nice. I even print red wax seals to use with an embossing seal, and well, it was actually wax.
The office moved on to other laser printers some time ago, and my printer here finally started playing up (sheet feeder issues), so I have decided it is time for a new printer, and I thought it would be nice to get an ink jet type printer, but why not get one that can do photos...
What I eventually got was a Canon PRO-1000. It can have a stack of A4 plain paper for the normal use cases, but can also take a variety of sizes up to A2, and do impressive high resolution professional quality photo prints, edge to edge, on photo paper. It does pretty good photos even on plain paper.
So, yes, it will be used for simple A4 prints most of the time. These days I print quite low volumes, and can alway use printers at work for printing something with a lot of pages. It also has separately replaceable ink cartridges, which I prefer. However, there have been occasions where we do want to print bigger than A4, mainly for circuit drawings, etc.
But yes, I can print really nice photographs now. This is printing an A2 map on plain paper.
I did consider getting the wider models, they can do roll based prints up to A0, or even bigger. You can print proper posters for adverts and the like. But no way it would fit in the man-cave sensibly. I was also not sure if it would do the simple A4 plain paper as easily. The PRO-1000 seems a good compromise. The print quality really is rather impressive and having the option of large prints is nice.