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From the good old days…

My cherished Selectric III from the San Francisco Examiner

If I had the space and the money, I could happily fill a warehouse with a collection of vintage technology. Typewriter technology, after steady development for at least 150 years, reached its apex in the 1970s with the IBM Correcting Selectric III. I own one of these. I salvaged it from a basement junk pile at the San Francisco Examiner. During the 1970s, newspaper newsrooms were filled with IBM Selectrics. Reporters and editors used them, and the typed pages were sent to the composing room, where the text was scanned from the pages. In those days, computers were too big and too expensive for the desktop, so typewriters still ruled.


The San Francisco Examiner copy desk, c. 1978.


My Selectric still has its Typewritorium sticker. The Typewritorium was made famous by Herb Caen, the columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, because that’s where Caen’s “Loyal Royal” was sent when it needed repairs. Caen’s Loyal Royal is still on display in the Chronicle’s lobby.

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