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Encyclopedia > IBM Selectric typewriter
IBM Selectric
IBM Selectric

The IBM Selectric typewriter (occasionally known as the IBM Golfball typewriter) is an influential electric typewriter design. It was introduced in 1961. Image File history File links de: Beschreibung: Elektrische Schreibmaschine IBM Selectric, 1961 Hersteller: IBM Corporation, Endicott, New York, USA Eliot Noyes 1910-1977 Fotograf: Oliver Kurmis Quelle: selbst fotografiert, Pinakothek der Moderne, München Datum: 10. ... Image File history File links de: Beschreibung: Elektrische Schreibmaschine IBM Selectric, 1961 Hersteller: IBM Corporation, Endicott, New York, USA Eliot Noyes 1910-1977 Fotograf: Oliver Kurmis Quelle: selbst fotografiert, Pinakothek der Moderne, München Datum: 10. ... International Business Machines Corporation (known as IBM or Big Blue; NYSE: IBM) is a multinational computer technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company is one of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to the 19th century. ... Mechanical desktop typewriters, such as this Underwood Five, were long time standards of government agencies, newsrooms, and sales offices. ... 1961 (MCMLXI) was a common year starting on Sunday (the link is to a full 1961 calendar). ...


Instead of typebars the Selectric had a pivoting typeball that could be changed so as to display different fonts in the same document, resurrecting a capacity that had been pioneered by the unsuccessful Blickensderfer typewriter sixty years before. The Blickensderfer Typewriter was designed by George C Blickensderfer (1850-1917) in 1893. ...

Contents

Features

The ability to change fonts, combined with the neat regular appearance of the typed page, was revolutionary, and marked the beginning of desktop publishing. Later models with dual pitch (10/12) and built-in correcting tape carried the trend even further. Any typist could produce a polished manuscript. By 1966, a full typesetting version with justification and proportional spacing was released. Adobe InDesign CS2, one of many popular desktop publishing applications. ...


The machine had a feature called "Stroke Storage" that prevented two keys from being depressed simultaneously. When a key was depressed, an interposer, beneath the keylever, was pushed down into a slotted tube full of small metal balls (called the "selector compensator") and spring latched. These balls were adjusted to have enough horizontal space for only one interposer to enter at a time. If a typist pressed two keys simultaneously both interposers were blocked from entering the tube. Pressing two keys several milliseconds apart allows the first interposer to enter the tube, tripping a clutch which rotated a fluted shaft driving the interposer horizontally and out of the tube, making way for the second interposer to enter the tube some milliseconds later. While a full print cycle was 65 milliseconds this filtering and storage feature allowed the typist to depress keys in a more random fashion and still print the characters in the sequence entered. The powered horizontal motion of the interposer selected the appropriate rotate and tilt of the printhead for character selection.


The spacebar, dash/underscore, index, backspace and line feed repeated when continually held down. They were referred to as "Typamatic".


The Selectric as Computer Terminal

Due to their speed (14.8 characters per second), immunity to clashing typebars, trouble-free paper path, high quality printed output, and reliability, Selectric-based mechanisms were also widely used as terminals for computers, replacing both Teletypes and older typebar-based output devices. One popular example was the IBM 2741 terminal, which figured prominently in the early years of the APL programming language. Similar machines such as the IBM 1050 series were used as the console printers for many computers, such as the IBM 1130 and the IBM System/360 series. A teleprinter (teletypewriter, teletype or TTY) is a now largely obsolete electro-mechanical typewriter which can be used to communicate typed messages from point to point through a simple electrical communications channel, often just a pair of wires. ... IBM logo The 2741 was a low-speed dumb terminal introduced in 1965. ... APL (for A Programming Language) is an array programming language based on a notation invented in 1957 by Kenneth E. Iverson while at Harvard University. ... Operator loading a 2315 disk cartridge into the IBM 1130 computer. ... System/360 Model 65 operators console, with register value lamps and toggle switches (middle of picture) and emergency pull switch (upper right). ...


Despite appearances, these machines were not simply Selectric typewriters with an RS-232 connector added. A Selectric is a marvel of mechanical and production—but not electronic—engineering. As with other electric typewriters, and electric adding machines of the era, Selectrics are best thought of as electromechanical devices: The only electric components are the power cord, power switch, and electric motor. The electric motor runs continuously. The keys are not electrical pushbuttons, as they are on a computer keyboard. Pressing a key does not produce an electrical signal, but rather engages a series of clutches which couple the motor power to the mechanism to turn and tilt the element. A Selectric would work equally well if hand-cranked at sufficient speed. RS-232 (also referred to as EIA RS-232C or V.24) is a standard for serial binary data interchange between a DTE (Data terminal equipment) and a DCE (Data communication equipment). ...


Adapting this mechanism to the needs of computer input/output was therefore nontrivial. The keyboard and printing mechanism were mechanically separated (keystrokes do not necessarily result in immediate printing), microswitches were added to the keyboard, solenoids were added to allow the computer to trigger the typing mechanism, and interface electronics were needed. Several mechanical components, in particular the motor and the main clutch, had to be upgraded from the typewriter versions to reliably support continuous operation.


Even after adding all those solenoids and switches, getting a Selectric to talk to a computer was a non-trivial project. The Selectric mechanism, as documented in its service manual, had many peculiar requirements. If commanded to shift to upper case when it was already in upper-case, the mechanism locked up and never signaled "done". Same thing for shifting the ribbon direction or initiating a carriage-return. These commands could only be issued at particular times, with the Selectric in a particular state, and then not again until the terminal signaled the operation was complete.


In addition the Selectric spoke neither ASCII nor EBCDIC, but a strange code based on the tilt/rotate commands to the golf ball. That and the bit-parallel interface and peculiar timing requirements meant the Selectric could not be directly hooked up to a modem. Indeed it needed a relatively large amount of logic to reconcile the two devices.


Particularly vexing was the Selectric's lack of a full ASCII character set.


The IBM 2741 came in two different varieties, some using "correspondence coding" and the others using what was referred to as "PTT/BCD coding." These referred to the positioning of the characters around the typeball and, therefore, the tilt/rotate codes that had to be applied to the mechanism and sent over the communications link. A "correspondence coding" machine could use type elements from a standard office Selectric. "PTT/BCD coding" machines needed special elements, and did not have as wide a variety of fonts available. The IBM 1050 and its derivatives were only available in PTT/BCD coding, so a type element from, say, a System/360 console printer would produce gibberish on an office Selectric.


IBM introduced several office products using these computer-controlled Selectric mechanisms, beginning with the "Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter," or "MT/ST" for short.


Nevertheless, between 1968 and about 1980, a Selectric was about the only way to get high-quality output from a computer.


Selectric-based computer printers were gradually replaced in favor of printers using a daisy wheel mechanism, such as the Diablo 630. A daisy wheel printer is a type of computer printer that produces high-quality type, and is often referred to as a letter quality printer (this in contrast to high-quality dot-matrix printers, capable of near-letter-quality, or NLQ, output). ... The Diablo 630 was a daisy wheel printer (computer printer) sold by the Diablo Data Systems division of the Xerox Corporation. ...


Design

The Selectric typewriter was first introduced on 31 July 1961 and is generally considered to be a design classic. Its industrial design is credited to Eliot Noyes, an influential American designer. Noyes had worked on a number of design projects for IBM; prior to his work on the Selectric, he had been commissioned in 1956 by Thomas J. Watson, Jr to create IBM's first house style—indeed, these influential efforts, in which Noyes collaborated with Paul Rand, Marcel Breuer, and Charles Eames, have been referred to as the first "house style" program in American business.[1] To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Eliot Fette Noyes (1910-1977) was an American-born, Harvard-trained industrial designer, who worked on projects for IBM, among others. ... International Business Machines Corporation (known as IBM or Big Blue; NYSE: IBM) is a multinational computer technology and consulting corporation headquartered in Armonk, New York, USA. The company is one of the few information technology companies with a continuous history dating back to the 19th century. ... The IBM Selectric typewriter (occasionally known as the IBM Golfball typewriter) is the electric typewriter design that brought the typewriter into the electronic age starting in 1961. ... 1956 (MCMLVI) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Thomas Watson Jr. ... A publishing companys or periodicals house style is the collection of conventions in its manual of style. ... Paul Rand (born Peretz Rosenbaum, August 15, 1914 – November 26, 1996) was a well-known American graphic designer, best known for his corporate logo designs. ... Marcel Breuer Marcel Lajos Breuer (May 21, 1902 Pécs, Hungary – July 1, 1981 New York City), architect and furniture designer, was an influential modernist. ... Charles Eames (June 17, 1907 – August 21, 1978) (pronounced ) was an American designer, architect and filmmaker who, together with his wife Ray, is responsible for many classic, iconic designs of the 20th century. ...


After the Selectric II was introduced a few years later, the original design was designated the Selectric I. The Correcting Selectric II differed from the Selectric I in many respects:

  • The Selectric II was squarer at the corners, whereas the Selectric I was rounder.
  • The Selectric II had a Dual Pitch option to allow it to be switched (with a lever at the top left of the "carriage") between 10 and 12 characters per inch, whereas the Selectric I had one fixed "pitch".
  • The Selectric II had a lever (at the top left of the "carriage") (option available only on dual pitch models) that allowed characters to be shifted up to a half space to the left (for centering text, or for inserting a word one character longer or shorter in place of a deleted mistake), whereas the Selectric I did not.
  • The Selectric II had optional auto-correction (with the extra key at the bottom right of the keyboard), whereas the Selectric I did not. This worked in conjunction with a correction ribbon: Either the transparent and slightly adhesive "Lift-Off" tape (for use with Correctable Film ribbons), or the white "Cover-Up" tape (for cloth or Tech-3 ribbons). The white or transparent correction tape was at the left of the typeball and its orange take-up spool at the right of the typeball, and was changed independently from the typing ribbon. The correction key backspaced the carriage by one space and also put the machine in a mode wherein the next character typed would use the correction tape instead of the normal ribbon, and furthermore would not advance the carriage. The typist would press the correction key and then re-type the erroneous character, either lifting it off of the page or covering it with white-out powder, then type the correct character. Any number of mistakes could be corrected this way, but the process was entirely manual, as the machine had no memory of the typed characters.
  • The Selectric II had a lever (above the right platen knob) that would allow the platen to be turned freely but return to the same vertical line whereas the Selectric I has the same feature, but with a different lever design. This feature is found on almost every typewriter, manual or electric. It can be used for typing super- or subscripts, although accurate alignment is difficult.
  • A Selectric I had to be ordered to use either cloth reusable ribbon or one-time carbon film ribbon; the same machine could not use both. The Correcting Selectric II used a new ribbon cartridge technology consisting of wider ribbons that give more typed characters per inch of ribbon. Successive characters were staggered vertically on the ribbon, which incremented less than a full character position each time as a result. Any Correcting Selectric II could use any of three types of ribbon, which all came in similar-looking cartridges: Reusable cloth ribbon with associated Cover-Up tape; Correctable (carbon) Film ribbon with associated Lift-Off tape; and the Tech-3 permanent ribbon, introduced later, which used the same Cover-Up tape as the earlier cloth ribbon. The Tech-3 ribbon essentially replaced the cloth ribbon, as they offered similar typing quality to the film ribbon but at a cost comparable to the reusable cloth. Tech-3 ribbons provided much higher security and longer life than the Correctable Film ribbon. Like the cloth ribbon, Tech-3 ribbons incremented only a fraction of the character width after being struck. Unlike the cloth ribbon, the Tech-3 ribbon provided high quality impressions for several characters from each spot on the one-time-use ribbon. Because characters overstrike each other on a Tech-3 ribbon several times it could not be easily read to discover what had been typed. In addition, where the Correctable Film ribbon was unsuitable for documents such as checks due to the ease of lifting the ink from the document, the Tech-3 ribbon's impressions were permanent as soon as they were struck. Some colored ribbons (e.g. brown) were also available.
IBM typeballs (one OCR) with clip, 2 Euro coin to compare
IBM typeballs (one OCR) with clip, 2 Euro coin to compare

Both Selectric I and Selectric II were available in standard, medium, and wide-carriage models and in various colors, including red and blue as well as traditional neutral colors, and both used the same typeballs, which were available in many fonts, including symbols for science and mathematics, OCR faces for scanning by computers, script, Old English, and more than a dozen ordinary alphabets. The typeballs came in two styles: Original models had a metal spring clip with two wire wings that squeezed together, later models had a fragile flip-up black plastic lever that could break off, which was later redesigned to have a substantial plastic lever that did not break. Over the years, there were several different styles for the ribbons, even in the same model Selectric, and they were not interchangeable. Selectric I models used either a cloth cartridge ribbon or a spool film ribbon, but had to be ordered for one or the other. Non-correcting Selectric II models could use the earlier cloth cartridge. Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1243x865, 225 KB) Beschreibung Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Typewriter IBM Selectric typewriter ... Image File history File links Download high-resolution version (1243x865, 225 KB) Beschreibung Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Typewriter IBM Selectric typewriter ... Optical character recognition, usually abbreviated to OCR, is a type of computer software designed to translate images of handwritten or typewritten text (usually captured by a scanner) into machine-editable text, or to translate pictures of characters into a standard encoding scheme representing them (e. ...


In 1966, IBM released the Selectric Composer, the first desktop publishing system. The hybrid typewriter produced camera-ready justified copy using proportional fonts in a number of font sizes and styles, using the typeball. The machine required that material be typed twice. The first time was to measure the length of the line and count the spaces, recording special measurements on the right margin. The second time it was typed, the operator used the measurements to set justification for the line. The elements for the Selectric Composer would fit on a Selectric, and vice versa, but they could not actually be used on each other's machines: the characters were arranged differently around the element and were also positioned differently within each character area. Selectric Composer elements can be identified by a colored index arrow (the color is used to set a median character width on the machine) and a cryptic series of letters and numbers identifying the font, size, and variation, for example "UN-11-B" for Univers 11 point bold.


In 1964 IBM introduced the "Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter;" in 1967, a "Mag Tape Selectric Composer", and in 1969, a "Magnetic Card Selectric Typewriter." These featured computer-interfaced typing mechanisms and a magnetic storage device for recording, editing, and replaying typed material. These machines were among the first to provide word processing capability in any form. Word processing, in its now-usual meaning, is the use of a word processor to create documents using computers. ...


In the 1980s IBM introduced a Selectric III and several other Selectric models, some of them word processors or type-setters instead of typewriters, but by then the rest of the industry had caught up with the trend, and IBM's new models did not dominate the market the way the first Selectric had. The Selectric III features a 96 character element vs. the previous 88 character element. IBM's series of "Electronic Typewriters" used this same 96 character element. The 96 character elements can be identified by yellow printing on the top plastic surface and the legend "96," which always appears along with the font name and pitch. The 96 and 88 character elements are mechanically incompatible with each other, and 96 character elements were not available in as many fonts as the older 88 character types. Most Selectric IIIs and Electronic Typewriters only had keys for 92 printable characters; the 96 character keyboard was an optional feature. Fitting the additional keys onto the keyboard required shrinking of the Return key and this was annoying to many typists, so it was not the default configuration. The keytops on the Selectric III and Electronic Typewriters were larger and more square than those on earlier Selectrics.


Elements and Fonts

Some of the interchangeable font elements available for the Selectric models included:


Small (12-pitch) fonts

  • Elite 72
  • Auto Elite
  • Large Elite (12)
  • Prestige Elite 72
  • Prestige Elite 96*
  • Adjutant
  • Artisan
  • Contempo
  • Courier (12)
  • Courier Italic
  • Courier Italic 96*
  • Forms
  • Letter Gothic
  • Letter Gothic 96*
  • Light Italic
  • OCR
  • Olde World
  • Oriental
  • Report 96 (12)*
  • Scribe
  • Scribe 96*
  • Script
  • Symbol

Large (10-pitch) fonts

  • Pica 72
  • Prestige Pica 72
  • Pica 96*
  • Advocate
  • Boldface
  • Bookface Academic 72
  • Business Script
  • Courier (10)
  • Courier 96 (10)
  • Bold Courier (10)
  • Delegate
  • Delegate 96*
  • Manifold
  • Orator
  • Sunshine Orator
  • Orator 96*
  • Orator Presenter
  • Report 96 (10)*
  • Title

Starred fonts were 96-character elements made for the Selectric III.


Selectric Trivia

  • Part of the Selectric's design was based on a toy typewriter made by Louis Marx and Company. IBM bought the rights to the design.
  • Bob Bemer, known as "the father of ASCII," realized that the Selectric would make a great computer terminal and tried unsuccessfully to get the Selectric element to provide for 64 printing characters per case instead of just 44.
  • Capitalizing on the then-new Selectric typewriters, the IBM Pavilion at the 1964 New York World's Fair was a large theater shaped and styled like a very-much over-grown Selectric type element. The audience seating area was lifted up into the type element theater for the presentation.
  • A 1963 episode of the Perry Mason TV show, "The Case of the Elusive Element," turned on the fact that the pivoting textball ("element") in Selectric typewriters could easily be switched, making it impossible to know which machine had actually been used to type a message.
  • In a 1975 episode of the television show Columbo, "Now You See Him...," Columbo finds evidence of an incriminating document in the carbon film ribbon of a Selectric typewriter.

Louis Marx and Company was an American toy manufacturer from 1919 to 1978. ... Robert William Bemer (February 8, 1920 – June 22, 2004) was a computer scientist best known for his work at IBM during the late 1950s and early 1960s. ... There are 95 printable ASCII characters, numbered 32 to 126. ... 1964 (MCMLXIV) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (the link is to a full 1964 calendar). ... Hunter Stockton Thompson (July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005) was an American journalist and author. ... Sedaris in 2005. ... P.J. ORourke speaks at a January 2007 event at the Cato Institute about his latest book. ... Stephen Joseph Cannell, and known professionally as Stephen J. Cannell (born February 5, 1941), (IPA pronunciation: ), is an Emmy award winning American television producer, writer, novelist and occasional actor from the United States. ... Perry Mason is a fictional defense attorney who originally appeared in detective fiction by Erle Stanley Gardner. ... Columbo. ...

References

  1. ^ Eliot Fette Noyes, FIDSA. Industrial Design Society of America--About ID. Retrieved on 2006-06-11.
  1. ^ Eliot Fette Noyes, FIDSA. Industrial Design Society of America--About ID. Retrieved on 2006-06-11.

For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 11 is the 162nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (163rd in leap years), with 203 days remaining. ... For the Manfred Mann album, see 2006 (album). ... June 11 is the 162nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (163rd in leap years), with 203 days remaining. ...

External links


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The Selectric II was squarer at the corners, whereas the Selectric I was rounder.
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