Saturday, February 9, 2013

IBM Selectric Typewriter - A Distant Memory

Guarding the font ball

After having learned to type on an old manual typewriter (I think it was a Royal), it was a real treat to get an IBM Selectric (electric typewriter) with that cool little font ball. From time to time we'd still have to take a mushy eraser and clean the gunk from the letters on it, but it was quite an advancement from the manual typewriter with its keys that rushed to form a big, tangled clump when I was trying desperately to get a profound thought that was rapidly evaporating down on paper, like those thoughts you have when you're just waking in the morning. They seem so extraordinary, perhaps brilliant, and you're trying to hang onto them, yet when you're fully awake, you realize they're nothing special, and often make no sense at all. Untangling the keys of the manual typewriter was a lot like slowly waking...and by the time the keys were painstakingly separated and ready to use again, the profound thought had escaped.

I loved the IBM Selectric, and had my own at home for several years before it finally died. When I wanted to replace it, I found they were no longer making parts for it, so it seemed pointless to try to find another one. I still think it was a great typewriter, and I'm still rather fond of it.

The knight is another favorite thing, given to me by a young man who cast it from pewter, I think it is. So now the little knight has the perfect responsibility: Standing guard atop the cookstove, in front of the little cast iron train, keeping vigil over the font ball - lest anyone should try to abscond with that rare little artifact from the pre-computer era.


Did you learn to type on a manual typewriter?
Did you use one of the first word processors?
Have you known nothing but computers all your life?
Do you know what a manual typewriter is? ;-)
Have you seen an IBM Selectric with its interchangeable font ball?


P.S. By the time you read this, we will be on our way to the airport to fly to Texas to visit our daughter and son-in-law for a week. Cranberry Morning will most likely be on hold until we get back. We'll see. I'm not making any guarantees. I am taking my laptop along, just in case the separation anxiety is too great to bear. :-)


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Have a great weekend, everyone!

This post may be linked to some of the following: Mop it Up Monday  and  Cure for the Common Monday and Mealtime Monday and Clever Chicks Blog Hop and Mosaic Monday  and Barn Charm and  The Marketplace  and On the Menu Monday and  Mix it up Monday and Make it Pretty Monday and   What's in the Gunny Sack and  Making the World Cuter Mondays and Make the Scene Monday and  Something I Whipped Up Monday and  Motivate Me Monday and  Making Monday Marvelous and Get Your Craft On and   You're Gonna Love it Tuesday and Tweak it Tuesday and  Coastal Charm Tuesday and  Take a Look Tuesday and  Tasty Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday and Love Bakes Good Cakes and  Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays  and Overflowing With Creativity and Mom on TimeOut  and Adorned from Above and Cast Party Wednesday and  We Did it Wednesday  and It's a Party at Creative Princess and Artsy Corner Thursday  and The Self-sufficient Home Acre and  I'm Lovin' it Thursday and  Mandatory Mooch   and Foodie Friends Friday and  Serenity Saturday and Get Schooled Saturday  and Inspiration Friday(ThursNite) and Vintage Inspiration Friday and Photo Friday and  A Favorite Thing Saturday and Sunny Simple Sunday and  Saturday Nite Special


sweetbriardreams said...

Oh yes, I remember the old manual typewriters and having to press really hard for 'P' and 'Q' because that was the little fingers!! Then moving on to electric and then the wonderful keyboards we have today. I miss the smell of the ink ribbon and carbon copy paper though. Take care.

Paulette said...

I learned to type on a manual typewriter, used the IBM Selectric typewriter, an electric typewriter, a computer, an iPad, an iPhone. Wow, I'm old! What a fun post brought back memories.
Safe journey and have a wonderful visit.

Vicki @ lifeinmyemptynest said...

This was a fun post - I had to laugh at the memory of typing too fast and the keys getting stuck together. Have a fun and safe trip :-)

Trace4J said...

Oh I so loved the typewriter I had.
I was going to write a book at 12..because I knew soo
Have a safe and wonderful trip with your family.
Woolie hugs

Smalltowngiggles said...

Oh my. I learned to type on a manual. And the nuns were so strict. Couldn't rest your hands on the typewriter. After you reached a certain speed you moved up to the electric. I remember my first few times on the electric. I would type so fast, I would jamb those keys up. Talk about excited nuns. lol

Suzan said...

Love your picture with the font ball!
YES!!! I learned in high school, 67 & 68, how to type on a manual typewriter. Sister Mary Theresa loved Andy Williams and she would play Moon River and the album the whole class time. fff jjj ddd kkk sss lll aaa ;;;
But learning how to type correctly ahs saved me! I still don't understand why we don't teach typing in school since EVERYONE uses a keyboard now!! Also LOVE not having to use white out or back space and use white tape to erase your mistakes!!

Elizabeth Edwards said...

yes, i learned on a typewriter - our school still had them in 90's. also learning on an old computer ... so cool. have a great trip. take care. ( :

Unknown said...

I love your photos, Judy! Places I've never been or things I've never seen. The font ball is a new one! I learned to type on a manual typewriter but never saw a font ball. I like it as a conversation piece! Have a great trip.

Chatty Crone said...

You have a good time in Texas with your family and don't worry about us.

Did you learn to type on a manual typewriter? YES
Did you use one of the first word processors? YES
Have you known nothing but computers all your life? NO
Do you know what a manual typewriter is? ;-) YES
Have you seen an IBM Selectric with its interchangeable font ball? NO

I remember the white out and the having to start over and that purple paper to make more than one copy. Gee that had to be before the copy machine. I'm old.


MadSnapper said...

hang on to that ball, it will be worth a mint in your old age.. yes i learned on a manual royal and must say i do not miss changing the ribbons. i also remember the white out i used when i made a typo, unlike the computer where i just backspace. that is IF i see the typo.. LOL. never used the word processor, but did use computers at work since 1980, since i got my own computer in 97 have never touches a typewriter.. daddy types all his sermons on an antique, one of the first they ever made.

Primitive Seasons said...

I studied to be a medical secretary. Not only did I learn on the big ole manual typewriter and was very good at it but we had to learn Gregg shorthand, and all the medical terms, and type all that. Later on my job, we had the selectrics and they are one of my favorite typewriters. I love the computer but every once in awhile I think "this would be easier on a typewriter." I love to type either way!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Yes, I learned to type on a manual typewriter. Then I typed on the select, then went to word processor and finally the computer.
Have a good trip!

Muffy's Marks said...

Typing class........ failed it!!! Everytime we had a test the guy next to me would unloosen the carriage on his machine. When the test began, he would attempt to return the carriage it would fly off and in to my lap. That's how I flunked typing. We've come a long way. Miss Pawlowski would be proud of me today!!!

Ruth Kelly said...

Of course I learned on a manual type writer. I used the many kinds of typewriters and I was right there to try the first word processor. I was fascinated with computers and loved the spell check. There are those still today that do not use the spell check when it is so readily available.

Dewena said...

I hope you have a great trip!

I worked for what used to be called the Baptist Sunday School Board after high school as a stenographer. Then when the IBM selectric first came available my boss took me to the IBM office in town and had me try out the new machine. I loved it from the moment I typed my first sentence. Within a few weeks all our old typewriters were replaced and I was so proud of mine. My daughter had to make me, many years later, use a computer. She lent me her laptop and I was not very sweet about being dragged into the technological age. Now I couldn't do without it. I wish, though, that I still had that Selectric!

Angie Vik said...

I've always loved typewriters. I didn't like my parents'' because it typed in cursive. They gave me my own typewriter for graduation that , joy, had regular type. As much as I loved my typewriter, I had serious envy when the IBM select rid came out. I was so happy to find out the guy I was dating (and later married) had one. I like to tell him that I married him for his typewriter. Kinda wish we still had it.

Unknown said...

Yes, I learned on a manual-thought everything since was neat but without the magic.
I hope you have a wonderful trip.

Heide at ApronHistory said...

I have seen a few electric typewriters, think my Grandma had one for years.... I don't remember a font ball, maybe it was a different model.
When I was little my Dad had a computer. One with floppy disks that were really floppy! I remember playing games on it, some had graphics and some didn't! And of course, no mouse.

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

I have used a manual typewriter before! They are kinda fun I will the font ball-very cool!

Eileen H said...

Enjoy your trip, we'll be here when you get back!

Empty Nester said...

I do know what a manual typewriter is. And electric ones. But I'm not sure about the removeable ball thingy. LOL Computers? It's a love/hate relationship. Have a safe trip there and back and a truly wonderful visit! And take lots of pictures for us!

Terri @ A Creative Princess said...

I'm so far behind that you and Kevin are already there and having the time of your life. Enjoy and have a safe trip home!

Oh, and some days on this stupid computer, I really wish we could go back to the days of the manual or electric typewriter. They were much easier for me to figure out! Brandon had to come over the other day and show me how to insert a picture in Word. Wow! After this time under my little rock, my world is opening up! Lol

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this so much and can relate completely!!

Unknown said...

I am pretty sure that my first typing class had all IBM Selectic typewriters.... or at least something similar!! Oh man, do I feel a little older today after seeing that. Can you believe there are those that have never even seen a typewriter??? YIKES!

Yenta Mary said...

Have a wonderful trip!

I learned to type on an electric typewriter; but I remember my mother typing on a manual, that came in a tan carrying case. And when my grandfather died (at 98, I might add), he left a manual typewriter. Not sure where either of those went - it'd be so nice to have one or both of them ....

laurie said...

We all had to take typewriting class in high school.It was fun!

Rachel said...

In junior high I took a typing class and we used typewriters. When I was in high school my folks gave me a word processor. I loved it because I could type up to 20 lines before having to print it out (there was a little screen). I thought I was tough stuff. :) I didn't have my own computer until college (although I used them in my journalism class in high school).

Denise said...

Hated typewriters. Enjoy your trip.

Jean | Delightful Repast said...

First the shorthand, now the typewriters - you're taking me on a trip down memory lane. I, too, loveloveloved the IBM Selectric and was thrilled when my father-in-law got one for me to use at home. I thought that was just the limit! Of course, I don't think I could go back to mere typing after all these years of word processing.

J_on_tour said...

Haha, "Don't move Fontball" ... or rather "I'm not allowing anyone else to move you".

I moved a compact & err ... modern typewriter from my Mothers house yesterday and I'm not sure what to do with it, I used it some time ago to produce handout papers for students at work ... very time consuming at the time & especially if I made a mistake !

Hope you are enjoying your trip down south.

Mama Hen said...

I remember my mom typing all the time on a manual typewriter. I used to click away on it trying to type like she did. I finally learned how to type when I was in college. Now I watch my little one on the computer and am so impressed how much they are doing technologically so young. Hope all is well.

Mama Hen

gardenbug said...

My husband was in the second graduating class in computer science at Cornell. He is now 72. We used typewriters growing up, electric typewriters in college and grad school, and had a gigantic computer in our first minuscule house. We could balance our checkbooks with it and that's about all. Those were the days of punch cards, and things were pretty speedy: cards you submitted were usually read and the program returned by the next day.
I remain quite ignorant of computers, but our son works with them in third world schools while our grandson is an electronic toy addict. How the world changes!

RebeccaT said...

I rescued an ancient LP Smith typewriter that I love to use to write letters, I do get the glump of keys, but I am just fascinated that I don't have to plug it in to use it and if I walk away from it, it won't somehow get deleted! Love the letter, I have never seen that before...and I do believe the soldier is pewter.


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