Discussion:
Speaking of Selectric Typewriters
(too old to reply)
Quadibloc
2016-12-04 05:02:18 UTC
Permalink
The IBM Electronic Composer was a very nice piece of equipment.

However, I felt it would have been nice if, in addition to being able to choose between 1/72", 1/84", and 1/96" units for different sizes of type on the various Selectric Composer elements, it would have been nice if one could also choose a 1/60" escapement... so as to also type in monospaced text with regular typewriter elements.

And, while one is at it, let the machine also handle the elements for the Mag Card Executive, which used 88-character elements with the same proportional typefaces that were later offered on 96-character elements for the Model 50, 65, and 85 electronic typewriters.

However, I went further along that line of thinking, and got greedy, and ventured far along the path where madness lies...

http://www.quadibloc.com/comp/pro01.htm

Visit if you dare!

John Savard
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-05 21:31:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
The IBM Electronic Composer was a very nice piece of equipment.
I own two Selectrics. One cost me $1, the other was free; both owners
no longer needed them.

I used them a for a while, but the convenience of a computer beat them
out.

Due to space needs, they both will be discarded. Nobody wants them.
Quadibloc
2016-12-05 22:22:23 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Due to space needs, they both will be discarded. Nobody wants them.
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print what you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.

I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.

If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?

That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".

John Savard
Quadibloc
2016-12-05 22:35:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
To be more specific, so that it is clear what dimension I'm asking about:

There are four bands of characters on a standard Selectric typeball.

The top band has mostly the digits from 0 to 9 and the letter Z.

The second band goes XUDCLTNEKHB.

The third band from the top is the widest one, MVRAO...

The fourth band, at the bottom, above the teeth, goes GF:,?J+QPY_

On the third band, if you could measure from the middle of 1/4 on one side to
the middle of 1/2 to the other - on the printing faces of the characters, where
those faces are closest to the other, that would be what I seek.

As a second measurement, if you measure from lowercase h in the second band to
capital Y on the bottom band in the same way, you should get the same distance.

John Savard
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-06 22:52:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print what you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
All the PC computer printers I ever used were lousy at holding the
envelope (or card stock) frozen to permit addressing. My Canon bubble-jet
had settings for an envelope, but they didn't work well in practice.

I could go in graphics mode and print sideways on an envelope inserted
vertically. That would work, but graphics mode was very slow.

One thing my old printer was good at was printing postcards, which I
frequently used. I wish I still had that capability (the printer died).

Unfortunately, businesses do not seem interested in getting hard copy
mail anymore, they don't even list a mailing address. Indeed, I once
wrote a postcard to a Hollywood studio about a TV show, and they
refused acceptance of it; the rubber stamp referred to their website.
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
Sorry, I don't have that stuff anymore.
Quadibloc
2016-12-06 23:03:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Sorry, I don't have that stuff anymore.
Not to worry, I just thought I'd ask. But if you have no elements, then I have to
agree the typewriters aren't much use to you.

John Savard
David Wade
2016-12-07 10:10:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print what you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
I have a Brother Label Printer on my PC. Takes up much less desk space
and usefull for all sorts of little jobs that don't need color. Labels
for Mrs UGM's jam and freezer boxes. Labels for the curry shop boxes
full of components. Even for floppy disks...
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
All the PC computer printers I ever used were lousy at holding the
envelope (or card stock) frozen to permit addressing. My Canon bubble-jet
had settings for an envelope, but they didn't work well in practice.
I could go in graphics mode and print sideways on an envelope inserted
vertically. That would work, but graphics mode was very slow.
One thing my old printer was good at was printing postcards, which I
frequently used. I wish I still had that capability (the printer died).
Unfortunately, businesses do not seem interested in getting hard copy
mail anymore, they don't even list a mailing address. Indeed, I once
wrote a postcard to a Hollywood studio about a TV show, and they
refused acceptance of it; the rubber stamp referred to their website.
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
Sorry, I don't have that stuff anymore.
Michael Black
2016-12-07 16:51:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print what you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
I have a Brother Label Printer on my PC. Takes up much less desk space and
usefull for all sorts of little jobs that don't need color. Labels for Mrs
UGM's jam and freezer boxes. Labels for the curry shop boxes full of
components. Even for floppy disks...
That makes sense.

Back when I used a dot-matrix printer, every so often I'd readjust the
feed and put address labels in, and print out a bunch of return address
labels. I had a lot of envelopes that had a return address that wasn't
mine, including some really great fluorescent green envelopes, so the
labels not only meant I didn't have to put the return address by hand, but
also covered up the return address I didn't want.

But it only worked because I could do the return address in batches. For
sending, it was too much trouble, though I suppose I could have scrounged
a second dot-matrix printer just for address labels. But it was more than
that, since I'm sure in order to get the last label out, I'd have to shift
the form feed up, either wasting a label or having to reverse things and
make sure the alignment was right. That was another thing, through
experimentation I'd figured out how to align the label so the printing
would land in the right place.

Hainvg a label printer would make sense. I have one of those handheld
label printers that are the electronic equivalent of a Dymo labeller, but
not only is the tape expensive, but I'd have to type everything by hand.
They have models that connect to computers, but those are expensive.

Michael
Peter Flass
2016-12-07 17:34:50 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print what you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
I have a Brother Label Printer on my PC. Takes up much less desk space and
usefull for all sorts of little jobs that don't need color. Labels for Mrs
UGM's jam and freezer boxes. Labels for the curry shop boxes full of
components. Even for floppy disks...
That makes sense.
Back when I used a dot-matrix printer, every so often I'd readjust the
feed and put address labels in, and print out a bunch of return address
labels. I had a lot of envelopes that had a return address that wasn't
mine, including some really great fluorescent green envelopes, so the
labels not only meant I didn't have to put the return address by hand, but
also covered up the return address I didn't want.
But it only worked because I could do the return address in batches. For
sending, it was too much trouble, though I suppose I could have scrounged
a second dot-matrix printer just for address labels. But it was more than
that, since I'm sure in order to get the last label out, I'd have to shift
the form feed up, either wasting a label or having to reverse things and
make sure the alignment was right. That was another thing, through
experimentation I'd figured out how to align the label so the printing
would land in the right place.
I do a sheet of return address labels on my laser printer. For single
labels I pick the next unused label on a partial sheet and print just the
one.
Post by Michael Black
Hainvg a label printer would make sense. I have one of those handheld
label printers that are the electronic equivalent of a Dymo labeller, but
not only is the tape expensive, but I'd have to type everything by hand.
I don't use mine much, but it's nice to have. The problem is that I use it
infrequently enough that I store it without the batteries in it.
Post by Michael Black
They have models that connect to computers, but those are expensive.
Michael
--
Pete
jmfbahciv
2016-12-08 14:42:32 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print
what
Post by Michael Black
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
I have a Brother Label Printer on my PC. Takes up much less desk space and
usefull for all sorts of little jobs that don't need color. Labels for Mrs
UGM's jam and freezer boxes. Labels for the curry shop boxes full of
components. Even for floppy disks...
That makes sense.
Back when I used a dot-matrix printer, every so often I'd readjust the
feed and put address labels in, and print out a bunch of return address
labels. I had a lot of envelopes that had a return address that wasn't
mine, including some really great fluorescent green envelopes, so the
labels not only meant I didn't have to put the return address by hand, but
also covered up the return address I didn't want.
But it only worked because I could do the return address in batches. For
sending, it was too much trouble, though I suppose I could have scrounged
a second dot-matrix printer just for address labels. But it was more than
that, since I'm sure in order to get the last label out, I'd have to shift
the form feed up, either wasting a label or having to reverse things and
make sure the alignment was right. That was another thing, through
experimentation I'd figured out how to align the label so the printing
would land in the right place.
Hainvg a label printer would make sense. I have one of those handheld
label printers that are the electronic equivalent of a Dymo labeller, but
not only is the tape expensive, but I'd have to type everything by hand.
They have models that connect to computers, but those are expensive.
We could print labels on the old-fashioned kind of printers. Adjustable
sprockets were a feature. Later some of the TTYs could be used.

/BAH
David Wade
2016-12-08 17:58:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by jmfbahciv
Post by Michael Black
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
I can't blame you, as laser printers are a more flexible way to print
what
Post by Michael Black
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
you
want on paper. We can still _learn_ from the design of the Selectric, however,
even if we don't need one.
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible. It had
five built-in fonts, which duplicated the most commonly used Selectric
fonts, exactly what I wanted. In use, when using multiple fonts (such
as italic or boldface), I had to do nothing, it was done automatically.
It also had a double wide/double high setting, crude, but usable for
a simple header line
Post by Quadibloc
I know that _some_ sort of typewriter is still handy for addressing envelopes.
I have a Brother Label Printer on my PC. Takes up much less desk space and
usefull for all sorts of little jobs that don't need color. Labels for Mrs
UGM's jam and freezer boxes. Labels for the curry shop boxes full of
components. Even for floppy disks...
That makes sense.
Back when I used a dot-matrix printer, every so often I'd readjust the
feed and put address labels in, and print out a bunch of return address
labels. I had a lot of envelopes that had a return address that wasn't
mine, including some really great fluorescent green envelopes, so the
labels not only meant I didn't have to put the return address by hand, but
also covered up the return address I didn't want.
But it only worked because I could do the return address in batches. For
sending, it was too much trouble, though I suppose I could have scrounged
a second dot-matrix printer just for address labels. But it was more than
that, since I'm sure in order to get the last label out, I'd have to shift
the form feed up, either wasting a label or having to reverse things and
make sure the alignment was right. That was another thing, through
experimentation I'd figured out how to align the label so the printing
would land in the right place.
Hainvg a label printer would make sense. I have one of those handheld
label printers that are the electronic equivalent of a Dymo labeller, but
not only is the tape expensive, but I'd have to type everything by hand.
They have models that connect to computers, but those are expensive.
We could print labels on the old-fashioned kind of printers. Adjustable
sprockets were a feature. Later some of the TTYs could be used.
/BAH
We could, but I am fairly sure if I managed to move the KSR33 from the
loft room to the kitchen so Mrs ugm could print jam labels I might cease
to be a kept man.

Dave
Quadibloc
2016-12-08 17:41:10 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible.
Such a printer is not capable - unlike a modern high-resolution laser printer -
of producing camera-ready copy for publishing. The Selectric Composer, on the
other hand, did have that capability, which accounts for my interest.

John Savard
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-09 22:46:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible.
Such a printer is not capable - unlike a modern high-resolution laser printer -
of producing camera-ready copy for publishing. The Selectric Composer, on the
other hand, did have that capability, which accounts for my interest.
It depends on the application.

I prepared many documents for duplication using my dot-matrix printer.
Obviously, they weren't things like sales documents. But the printing
in NLQ was certainly clear enough for internal or informal documents.

I had a SCM portable that had a film ribbon. The film ribbon was
supposedly good for reproduction, however, the SCM typewriter wasn't
that great in terms of very tight registration. For school or very
informal purposes it was adequate. Bottom line: the dot matrix
printer produced a better quality raw document, despite being dot
matrix and a fabric ribbon.
Michael Black
2016-12-10 03:58:01 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible.
Such a printer is not capable - unlike a modern high-resolution laser printer -
of producing camera-ready copy for publishing. The Selectric Composer, on the
other hand, did have that capability, which accounts for my interest.
It depends on the application.
I prepared many documents for duplication using my dot-matrix printer.
Obviously, they weren't things like sales documents. But the printing
in NLQ was certainly clear enough for internal or informal documents.
There was also variety between dot matrix printers. My first one, I
bought in 1982, it was slow, it was noisy and barely made the characters,
and no descenders, so it wasn't even close to near letter quality. I
ended up buying a Smith Corona daisy wheel printer, which some said was
really an electric typewriter without the keyboard but with an interface.
I think it was, eventually a gear broke, making it useless. But then I
got a second dot matrix printer in 1989, and it was good "near letter
quality" print, so it took over from the two previous printers. I felt it
was good enough for my uses, and faster. Even in the better quality
modes, where there was often overprinting to get better results, it was
faster than the two previous printers.


I thought you said you had a 24pin printer, that had to be better than
that 8pin of mine from 1989. I think I found one much later, but never put
it into use because I had moved on.

I do remember that time I got an inkjet printer, and yes, it was so much
nicer in print quality and faster, that was the first time I printed
graphics (as in digital photos). I know I used up the cartridge refill
fast since I was printing lots of stuff, mostly because I could. I was
clearing out some old fileboxes the other day, and I really was printing
out fairly useless things, just because it was nice quality and fast.

But I soon learned that inkjet ink smeared when it got wet, and I never
refilled that used printer. I think there might have been a second reason
against inkjets, but I can't remember. I used it for about two months.

Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.

Michael
Peter Flass
2016-12-10 12:08:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
Post by Michael Black
Michael
--
Pete
maus
2016-12-10 13:02:22 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
The family got me color inkjet a couple of years ago, I came to regard it
as only second to a Siamese White Elephant, as a spare cash waster, I got a
new toner-catridge for my HP laser recently, a few days later the bottom
door broke.
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
Just_Another_Grumpy_Old_Man
Peter Flass
2016-12-10 16:30:33 UTC
Permalink
Post by maus
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
The family got me color inkjet a couple of years ago, I came to regard it
as only second to a Siamese White Elephant, as a spare cash waster, I got a
new toner-catridge for my HP laser recently, a few days later the bottom
door broke.
I went thru a couple of inkjets. I bought a Dell with my old computer
system, and discovered it would only take (expensive) Dell ink cartridges,
so I gave that away in good working condition. I bought an HP to replace
that and it worked OK - I still have it offsite. I bought an Epson, mostly
for the sheet-feeder on the scanner, which didn't work right, but the
printer is OK and not too money-hungry, but as I said I mostly print B/W on
the laser and only use the inkjet for color projects.
--
Pete
Michael Black
2016-12-10 18:02:28 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by maus
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
The family got me color inkjet a couple of years ago, I came to regard it
as only second to a Siamese White Elephant, as a spare cash waster, I got a
new toner-catridge for my HP laser recently, a few days later the bottom
door broke.
I went thru a couple of inkjets. I bought a Dell with my old computer
system, and discovered it would only take (expensive) Dell ink cartridges,
so I gave that away in good working condition. I bought an HP to replace
that and it worked OK - I still have it offsite. I bought an Epson, mostly
for the sheet-feeder on the scanner, which didn't work right, but the
printer is OK and not too money-hungry, but as I said I mostly print B/W on
the laser and only use the inkjet for color projects.
For a while I was bringing home inkjet printers I found on the sidewalk,
thinking I'd then sit down and decide which one was the best and which one
had the cheapest cartridges etc. I even though I might find the needed
cartridges (some were missing them) to refill. And they sat there piled
up until I realized I have little need for printing color, so they got
scrapped. Maybe a bad decision, since they were "older" and probably
sturdier, they also had better sets of interface. I bet now you can't buy
a new printer that uses serial or parallel.

Michael
Dave Garland
2016-12-10 20:13:13 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
I had a wide-carriage inkjet for a while. But inevitably whenever I'd
want to print in color, the ink cartridges would be dried up and it
would cost another $60. Even though I tried pulling the cartridges and
wrapping them in sandwich bags and aluminum foil.

Now I just go to Walgreens.
maus
2016-12-10 20:43:07 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
I had a wide-carriage inkjet for a while. But inevitably whenever I'd
want to print in color, the ink cartridges would be dried up and it
would cost another $60. Even though I tried pulling the cartridges and
wrapping them in sandwich bags and aluminum foil.
Now I just go to Walgreens.
+1
--
greymaus.ireland.ie
Just_Another_Grumpy_Old_Man
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-10 20:47:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
Unfortunately, it's hard to get ink for some of the older machines.

I picked up a nice electronic typewriter at a yard sale. But the
ribbon was not available except by special order and $$$$. Not
worth it; the typewriter went out in the trash.
Quadibloc
2016-12-13 19:53:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Peter Flass
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
Unfortunately, it's hard to get ink for some of the older machines.
I picked up a nice electronic typewriter at a yard sale. But the
ribbon was not available except by special order and $$$$. Not
worth it; the typewriter went out in the trash.
Oh, absolutely. I'm not claiming that the typewriter is not dead; I'm just
admiring some past antique technology, and noting the things that were left
undone - the potential it had to be more flexible, to rival the laser printer,
as illustrated by things like the Selectric Composer, that largely went
unrealized.

I once used an Olivetti Lexikon 92C typewriter. It used an element that was
reminiscent of a pineapple - or a hand grenade.

Since the element rotated around an axis that pointed in a horizontal
direction, while the tilt was from side to side, it occurred to me that if
someone complained about my fantasy typewriter that one thing it couldn't do is
type in Chinese... one could make one of the two Selectric ball mechanisms
removable, put in a mechanism for an Olivetti 90-series style element... and
provide a modified one where belts bearing the characters went down from the
element into a reservoir below.

Various impractical mechanical contrivances - long belts on pulleys, or even a
way to slide character slugs into the belt - could perhaps approach the ability
to type in Chinese. But it would be too impractical even for me...

John Savard
Dave Garland
2016-12-13 21:21:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Peter Flass
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts, needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
Unfortunately, it's hard to get ink for some of the older machines.
I picked up a nice electronic typewriter at a yard sale. But the
ribbon was not available except by special order and $$$$. Not
worth it; the typewriter went out in the trash.
Oh, absolutely. I'm not claiming that the typewriter is not dead; I'm just
admiring some past antique technology, and noting the things that were left
undone - the potential it had to be more flexible, to rival the laser printer,
as illustrated by things like the Selectric Composer, that largely went
unrealized.
I once used an Olivetti Lexikon 92C typewriter. It used an element that was
reminiscent of a pineapple - or a hand grenade.
Since the element rotated around an axis that pointed in a horizontal
direction, while the tilt was from side to side, it occurred to me that if
someone complained about my fantasy typewriter that one thing it couldn't do is
type in Chinese... one could make one of the two Selectric ball mechanisms
removable, put in a mechanism for an Olivetti 90-series style element... and
provide a modified one where belts bearing the characters went down from the
element into a reservoir below.
Various impractical mechanical contrivances - long belts on pulleys, or even a
way to slide character slugs into the belt - could perhaps approach the ability
to type in Chinese. But it would be too impractical even for me...
Current(?) laptop tech for writing in Chinese (as shown to me by a
Chinese fellow I knew) seems to depend a lot on cell-phone style
attempts to guess what you mean. Type one stroke (line) of the
character in, and it starts offering options as to what the character,
or the next stroke, might be. It seemed to take around 4 or 5
approximations before it hit the right choice, at least with his
software and laptop. Definitely not a system for "touch typing".

I suspect touch or pen input would be more appropriate than his
keyboard, though.
Quadibloc
2016-12-14 15:12:05 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Current(?) laptop tech for writing in Chinese (as shown to me by a
Chinese fellow I knew) seems to depend a lot on cell-phone style
attempts to guess what you mean. Type one stroke (line) of the
character in, and it starts offering options as to what the character,
or the next stroke, might be.
Even the Minghwai typewriter - a mechanical device invented by Lin Yutang in
the late 1940s - did this; one pressed two keys representing two corners of the
character, and then it presented up to eight alternatives for the user to
choose.

The various keyboard input methods used for Chinese, whether they're based on
strokes or phonetic values, offer a choice to the user at least once -
repeatedly is only a feature of some systems.

Of course, the classic mechanical Chinese typewriter just had a tray of some
2,000 type slugs, and one picked the right one from a chart, and pressing one
key picked the slug up and typed with it.

John Savard
Charlie Gibbs
2016-12-12 00:15:40 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Michael Black
Then I got a laser printer really cheap, and I'll never go back.
Same here, almost. I picked up a Brother closeout for $79, and it's a
workhorse. It just runs and runs, I think I replaced the toner twice in six
years or so. I still keep an inkjet for times I want color. I tend to use
it in spurts,
<groan>
Post by Peter Flass
needing color for a specific project and otherwise sticking
with B/W for most stuff. I also use it more often for the scanner.
With our latest inkjet printer replacement, I came to the realization
that they should be treated as disposable items. Buy the cheapest
unit you can find that does what you want, use it until it breaks,
then throw it away and get another one. I took our last one down
to a computer recycler in case there were any parts that could be
re-used - the guy pulled off the power cord and threw the unit onto
a huge scrap pile. They did appreciate the donation of spare ink
cartridges, though - I knew that they wouldn't fit the new printer,
whatever it was. Never stockpile ink cartridges - you'll just have
to throw them away when you throw away the printer, and that's a lot
of money to waste.
--
/~\ ***@kltpzyxm.invalid (Charlie Gibbs)
\ / I'm really at ac.dekanfrus if you read it the right way.
X Top-posted messages will probably be ignored. See RFC1855.
/ \ HTML will DEFINITELY be ignored. Join the ASCII ribbon campaign!
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-14 22:03:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Charlie Gibbs
With our latest inkjet printer replacement, I came to the realization
that they should be treated as disposable items. Buy the cheapest
unit you can find that does what you want, use it until it breaks,
then throw it away and get another one. I took our last one down
to a computer recycler in case there were any parts that could be
re-used - the guy pulled off the power cord and threw the unit onto
a huge scrap pile. They did appreciate the donation of spare ink
cartridges, though - I knew that they wouldn't fit the new printer,
whatever it was. Never stockpile ink cartridges - you'll just have
to throw them away when you throw away the printer, and that's a lot
of money to waste.
Some years ago (10?) Olivetti advertised the LINEA manual typewriter
for about $150. It was an outgrowth of the classic Underwood standard,
a wonderful machine. I really wanted to get one, but I had no real need
of one and no space for it.

If I really needed a typewriter to type stuff (not just to play
around), Staples sells a Brother daisy wheel for about $100, which
would offer more features. But in reality, I have almost zero use
for one. The few letters I mail today I can address by hand.

Off topic side note: With the convenience of the word processor,
I would write personal opinion letters to my congressman and senators
or state representatives (sometimes both). But I got the impression
that such letters really didn't do any good on issues of the day, so
I stopped bothering. I hate to be cynical, but professional lobbyists
have far more influence.
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-10 20:44:24 UTC
Permalink
Post by Michael Black
There was also variety between dot matrix printers. My first one, I
bought in 1982, it was slow, it was noisy and barely made the characters,
and no descenders, so it wasn't even close to near letter quality. I
ended up buying a Smith Corona daisy wheel printer, which some said was
really an electric typewriter without the keyboard but with an interface.
I think it was, eventually a gear broke, making it useless. But then I
got a second dot matrix printer in 1989, and it was good "near letter
quality" print, so it took over from the two previous printers. I felt it
was good enough for my uses, and faster. Even in the better quality
modes, where there was often overprinting to get better results, it was
faster than the two previous printers.
Yes. Early on, lots of PC users got 9 pin printers, which had a
horrible print quality. Other printers, even 24 pin, were built
more for volume and speed than quality. But some slower 24 pin
printers produced very good quality. Not as good as a laser
or bubble jet, but certainly good enough for many applications.

The daisy wheel printers had good quality.

IBM came out with a home typewriter with a daisy wheel, but it
wasn't on the market too long. They also had high end office
grade typewriters with daisy wheels. My employer had some that
rarely got used.
Post by Michael Black
I thought you said you had a 24pin printer, that had to be better than
that 8pin of mine from 1989. I think I found one much later, but never put
it into use because I had moved on.
Yes, my Panasonic was a 24 pin.
Post by Michael Black
I do remember that time I got an inkjet printer, and yes, it was so much
nicer in print quality and faster, that was the first time I printed
graphics (as in digital photos). I know I used up the cartridge refill
fast since I was printing lots of stuff, mostly because I could. I was
clearing out some old fileboxes the other day, and I really was printing
out fairly useless things, just because it was nice quality and fast.
My early bubble jet was much better on printing since it could
print from Windows and as such, print whatever typeface Windows
sent to it. Word 6 was very powerful and I put out some very
nice newsletters with it.

However, it wasn't so good I printing pictures. Obviously, the
dot matrix was lousy on pictures. But the early bubble jets weren't
so great either.
Peter Flass
2016-12-10 12:08:17 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
My Panasonic dot-matrix printer in DOS mode was more flexible.
Such a printer is not capable - unlike a modern high-resolution laser printer -
of producing camera-ready copy for publishing. The Selectric Composer, on the
other hand, did have that capability, which accounts for my interest.
It depends on the application.
I prepared many documents for duplication using my dot-matrix printer.
Obviously, they weren't things like sales documents. But the printing
in NLQ was certainly clear enough for internal or informal documents.
I had a SCM portable that had a film ribbon. The film ribbon was
supposedly good for reproduction, however, the SCM typewriter wasn't
that great in terms of very tight registration. For school or very
informal purposes it was adequate. Bottom line: the dot matrix
printer produced a better quality raw document, despite being dot
matrix and a fabric ribbon.
I mentioned before that I ran a program (name long forgotten) that allowed
me to mark up a document that would be printed in graphics mode. A bit
slow, but the output was good quality. I think it used the ability of
printers to print in half-dot increments.
--
Pete
b***@googlemail.com
2020-03-28 14:16:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches. It's a german selectric element
with 88 characters:
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
Quadibloc
2020-03-28 16:10:03 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@googlemail.com
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches.
Thank you very much.

John Savard
Peter Flass
2020-03-28 23:01:34 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches. It's a german selectric element
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
I think they’re all 88 characters.
--
Pete
Peter Flass
2020-03-28 23:14:54 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches. It's a german selectric element
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
I think they’re all 88 characters.
Interesting question. In some cases you’d have to switch typeballs to get
at odd characters, italics, etc. Does anyone recall how wordprocessors,
Script, etc. handled this? Was the positioning exact enough to print all
characters from one typeball on a page and then reverse-index to the top
and print everything from the second? Or did the operator have to switch
back and forth throughout the document?
--
Pete
Dave Garland
2020-03-29 02:42:11 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches. It's a german selectric element
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
I think they’re all 88 characters.
Interesting question. In some cases you’d have to switch typeballs to get
at odd characters, italics, etc. Does anyone recall how wordprocessors,
Script, etc. handled this? Was the positioning exact enough to print all
characters from one typeball on a page and then reverse-index to the top
and print everything from the second? Or did the operator have to switch
back and forth throughout the document?
With the IBM Mag II, you'd code a halt before each typeball change. So
yeah, you'd have to switch back and forth. Fortunately, in everyday
use there wasn't much call for all of that, it was a substitute for a
typewriter, not a typesetter.
Peter Flass
2020-03-29 19:32:21 UTC
Permalink
Post by Dave Garland
Post by Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by Quadibloc
If you still have a Selectric element handy - sadly, I lost my equipment and
collection of elements - could you take a pair of calipers, and measure the
distance between the inner surfaces... )<----->( of opposing letters on the
widest part of the element?
That's a dimension that I can't accurately estimate from any images online; I
think it's in the rough vicinity of 1 1/3 inches, but I'd like to know it to
the nearest 0.001".
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches. It's a german selectric element
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
I think they’re all 88 characters.
Interesting question. In some cases you’d have to switch typeballs to get
at odd characters, italics, etc. Does anyone recall how wordprocessors,
Script, etc. handled this? Was the positioning exact enough to print all
characters from one typeball on a page and then reverse-index to the top
and print everything from the second? Or did the operator have to switch
back and forth throughout the document?
With the IBM Mag II, you'd code a halt before each typeball change. So
yeah, you'd have to switch back and forth. Fortunately, in everyday
use there wasn't much call for all of that, it was a substitute for a
typewriter, not a typesetter.
I know a lot of places used it as a poof-man’s typesetter. CMS/SCRIPT and
2741’s.
--
Pete
Dave Garland
2020-03-29 06:05:49 UTC
Permalink
It was friction feed and gripped the paper very tightly, so it
probably could have rolled back and filled in (unless it had gotten to
very near the bottom of the page), but it didn't. Halt for operator
input was usually for fill-in-the-blank forms (e.g. form letters).
r***@gmail.com
2020-03-29 16:12:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
Interesting question. In some cases you’d have to switch typeballs to get
at odd characters, italics, etc. Does anyone recall how wordprocessors,
Script, etc. handled this? Was the positioning exact enough to print all
characters from one typeball on a page and then reverse-index to the top
and print everything from the second? Or did the operator have to switch
back and forth throughout the document?
For the IBM Electronic Composer, you typed a "stop" code at every
place in the text where you needed a font change. Thus, there
would be one stop code to start typing with a new golf ball,
and another when typing with that ball was finished.

I doubt that any word processor would be accurate enough to
start at the top of the same page and type all the characters
associated with a different font. Paper can creep; it's friction feed.
Andy Walker
2020-03-29 16:39:37 UTC
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
I doubt that any word processor would be accurate enough to
start at the top of the same page and type all the characters
associated with a different font. Paper can creep; it's friction feed.
In the early days of Unix, we had a Diablo daisy-wheel printer
[which the engineer had dropped and badly damaged when he installed
it -- while we were debating what to do with it, he came to us and
said "It's all right, I found a hammer, I've managed to straighten
it and now it works OK"] which we used by going back to top of page
to change wheels and print italics. Worked fine, unless you ran very
close indeed to the bottom of the page. I expect it depended on the
quality of the paper. ISTR that we had a mode where you could print,
say, ten pages in Roman and then stack them back in to do the italics.

This was a maths dept, and our type-setting guru was one of
those people who went spare if you misplaced dots or subscripts by
the slightest amount; our version of Troff/Eqn and such-like was
much hacked to his standards. So if he was happy with "worked fine",
it's a fair bet that anyone else would have been.
--
Andy Walker,
Nottingham.
Quadibloc
2020-03-29 16:59:42 UTC
Permalink
Post by Peter Flass
I think they’re all 88 characters.
IBM came out with the Selectric II and the Electronic Typewriter series that used
96 character elements.

John Savard
b***@googlemail.com
2020-04-15 10:49:49 UTC
Permalink
Post by b***@googlemail.com
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches.
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
Oh, of course I mixed up 'd', 'b', 'q' and 'p'.

Hier die Korrigierte Version / Here the corrected version:

<pre>
GE982 ∇

;=)'%Z"&(/§ 13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHB xudcltnekhb
MVRAOÜ!ÄISW mvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_ gf´,ßjöpqy-

</pre>
JimP
2020-04-15 15:37:03 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 15 Apr 2020 03:49:49 -0700 (PDT),
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by b***@googlemail.com
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches.
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
Oh, of course I mixed up 'd', 'b', 'q' and 'p'.
<pre>
html markup doesn't work here, text only newsgroup.
--
Jim
Peter Flass
2020-04-15 16:14:52 UTC
Permalink
Post by JimP
On Wed, 15 Apr 2020 03:49:49 -0700 (PDT),
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by b***@googlemail.com
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches.
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
Oh, of course I mixed up 'd', 'b', 'q' and 'p'.
<pre>
html markup doesn't work here, text only newsgroup.
Worked for me (iPad, NewsTap).
--
Pete
JimP
2020-04-16 13:16:12 UTC
Permalink
On Wed, 15 Apr 2020 09:14:52 -0700, Peter Flass
Post by Peter Flass
Post by JimP
On Wed, 15 Apr 2020 03:49:49 -0700 (PDT),
Post by b***@googlemail.com
Post by b***@googlemail.com
My caliper shows 1+3/8+1.5/128 inches = 1.3867 inches
or 35.225mm = 1.3868 inches.
;=)'%Z"&(/§13784z256+9
XUDCLTNEKHBxubcltnekhd
MVRAOÜ!ÄISWmvraoü.äisw
GF`?:JÖPQY_gf´,ßjöqpy-
Oh, of course I mixed up 'd', 'b', 'q' and 'p'.
<pre>
html markup doesn't work here, text only newsgroup.
Worked for me (iPad, NewsTap).
I'm using a newsreader, and it doesn't for me.
--
Jim
William Pechter
2016-12-06 15:19:44 UTC
Permalink
Post by h***@bbs.cpcn.com
Post by Quadibloc
The IBM Electronic Composer was a very nice piece of equipment.
I own two Selectrics. One cost me $1, the other was free; both owners
no longer needed them.
I used them a for a while, but the convenience of a computer beat them
out.
Due to space needs, they both will be discarded. Nobody wants them.
Damned shame. If they were nearby, and working, I'd drive to pick one up.
I still think some of my best writing was done before computers with layout
involving cut and paste with rubber cement.

Bill
--
--
Digital had it then. Don't you wish you could buy it now!
pechter-at-gmail.com http://xkcd.com/705/
h***@bbs.cpcn.com
2016-12-06 22:53:57 UTC
Permalink
Post by William Pechter
Damned shame. If they were nearby, and working, I'd drive to pick one up.
I still think some of my best writing was done before computers with layout
involving cut and paste with rubber cement.
Many famous writers continue to use Selectrics, such as David McCullough.
The NYT did a piece on this.
r***@gmail.com
2020-03-28 16:07:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
The IBM Electronic Composer was a very nice piece of equipment.
However, I felt it would have been nice if, in addition to being able to choose between 1/72", 1/84", and 1/96" units for different sizes of type on the various Selectric Composer elements, it would have been nice if one could also choose a 1/60" escapement... so as to also type in monospaced text with regular typewriter elements.
And, while one is at it, let the machine also handle the elements for the Mag Card Executive, which used 88-character elements with the same proportional typefaces that were later offered on 96-character elements for the Model 50, 65, and 85 electronic typewriters.
However, I went further along that line of thinking, and got greedy, and ventured far along the path where madness lies...
One of the fonts was Classified News -- a sans serif type
with short ascenders and descenders.

It enabled close spacing between lines.

Has anyone seen such a typeface in TTF form?
Quadibloc
2020-03-29 17:02:08 UTC
Permalink
Post by r***@gmail.com
One of the fonts was Classified News -- a sans serif type
with short ascenders and descenders.
It enabled close spacing between lines.
Has anyone seen such a typeface in TTF form?
There are serif typefaces like that; Ionic No. 5, Corona. They've been done in
TTF form. If you have an old copy of Corel Draw, look at the "News" fonts that
came with it, they're Bitstream's imitations of those typefaces.

John Savard
Quadibloc
2020-04-15 17:27:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by Quadibloc
Post by r***@gmail.com
One of the fonts was Classified News -- a sans serif type
with short ascenders and descenders.
It enabled close spacing between lines.
Has anyone seen such a typeface in TTF form?
There are serif typefaces like that; Ionic No. 5, Corona. They've been done in
TTF form. If you have an old copy of Corel Draw, look at the "News" fonts that
came with it, they're Bitstream's imitations of those typefaces.
In sans-serif, there's Antique Olive.

John Savard
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