Found a small time capsule in this office out in the desert.

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When I started with IBM in 1977 this was the first mystery I was hit with. Why would IBM produce another typebar machine after inventing the Selectric. I asked my fellow CE’s why?( We were called “Customer Engineers.) NOBODY knew. Maybe customers were resistant to change, maybe the were cheaper to build or sell. Except for the covers, the C and D were the same machine. All parts interchanged. Basically, I was told, “Yours not to reason why. Yours but to do and die.” The best Selectric made was the Selectric 2, second model. I think they came out in ’76. Before that, they were held together with tie rods and had a dual transport system. It worked but the frame could be twisted easily and the Backspace drum wore out too quickly. After that the level 2 was perfect. No dual transport, backspace pawl drum support and a redesigned interposer restoring bail. Solid A frame. Most reliable. They screwed up with the Selectric 3. To accommodate the new 96 character keyboard, they had to change the filter shaft to 2 pieces. A slight twist in the 2 pieces (maybe only .0005 of an inch) could screw up the entire timing of the machine. Of course, they had to put plastic in something, so they replaced the correction torque bar with a plastic one. After changing about my 25th torque bar with the Selectric 2 one I was P OFF. I called Engineering in NY and gave them a 30 minute lecture on the tinsel strength of extruded plastic under heat. A few weeks later we got an engineering change notice to change out all contract torque bars. All in all the Selectric 2 2ond level was the best. IBM made some real dogs in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The Electronic 50,60,65,75 and 85’s were poorly engineered. They were rushed into production to compete with the Silver Reed 200 Series. Trouble was, the Silver Reed was a dog too. The Wheelwriters were great but support for them ended when Xerox won it suit against IBM. IBM sold it’s Office Product Division to Lexmark and had to share patents with Xerox. They decided to concentrate on the new XT Desktop computer. They scattered us to the wind. Sorry, I seem to ramble on tonite. I worked for a score of typewriter companies after that. Manual typewriters, electric and electronic. After almost 10 years IBM called me back and I worked as a sub contractor for another 5 years to finish off service contracts they still had. Then I started my own business.

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