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Typewriter Section

Now we're at the typewriter section. The electric typewriter was not invented at IBM. Watson decided he would buy the technology, rather than reinvent it. So, he bought it from the Electromagnetic Typewriter Corporation of Rochester, New York in 1933. Some of the other examples you'll see show how it improved over the years. Now the earlier typewriters had what as what are known as type bars. You press a key on the keyboard and the type bar for the corresponding letter would go up and hit the paper. The problem with those is that often the type bar would jam. So, what IBM did to improve on that is they invented the Selectric typewriter. That typewriter used what's known as a type element. Some people call it a golf ball because it certainly looks like one, but if you look at one of these type elements very closely, you'll see every letter of the alphabet on that ball.

So, the ball would move across the page instead of the carriage moving back and forth, and it was much faster and no jamming. This was improved to have a correcting Selectric typewriter later on. The next kind of machine we see is a magnetic card typewriter. You would type your document as normal, but you could store it on a magnetic card. The card was the same size as a punch card, but ahead of magnetic film, like the Stripe on your credit card, where it would store the data. This enabled you to file the document away and recall it later on, or share it with your other secretaries. Then could go to their workstation to read your document and continue on with the work. Next to this is a display is a wheel writer, and it's another form of storing and sharing documents. With these, you would type your document, hit the appropriate key and it would be stored internally. So, it has the advantage of no magnetic cart to file away. But it was disadvantageous because of the lack of ability to share. We do have two working samples of the original, the Selectric too, and an original IBM typewriter with type bars. If you ask, perhaps they can be turned on so you could see how they work.

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