History of the IBM Typewriter

IBM Typewriter Milestones

(sources: ibm.com)


IBM acquires the tools, patents and production facilities of Electromatic Typewriters, Inc., of Rochester, N.Y.

IBM invests more than $1 million to redesign the Electromatic Typewriter, improve research facilities and establish service centers.

The IBM Electric Typewriter, Model 01 (Improved), is introduced. Customer acceptance soon makes it the first successful electric typewriter in the United States.




The Electromatic Typewriter Model 01 (Formsholder), Model 02 (Formswriter), Model 10 (Front Feed) and Model 01 (Carbon Ribbon Model) are announced.






The Electromatic Typewriter Model 03 (Hektowriter) is announced.



The Electromatic Typewriter Model 06 (Toll Biller) is announced.



IBM announces proportional letter spacing. However, the war effort delays product (Model 04) introduction until 1944. Also that year, the Electromatic Typewriter Model 08 (Auto. Formswriter) and Model 09 (Manifest) are announced.



The IBM Electric Executive Typewriter, the first typewriter with proportional letter spacing, is introduced.The IBM Electric Typewriter Division moves from Rochester, N.Y. to Poughkeepsie, N.Y.



The Chinese Typewriter and Model 04 Arabic Electric Typewriter are announced.



The Model 07 Card Stencil Typewriter is announced.



The IBM Model A Standard Electric Typewriter, which gives the typist a new feeling of comfort and control, is announced. Carriage return, back space, tabulator and shift are operated with a finger tip touch. A "multiple-copy control" ensures legible carbon copies and stencils. Also announced is the Electric Typewriter Executive Model A. It is available with either proportional or standard spacing. The Model A remains the staple of IBM's typewriter product line until 1954.The Automatic Line Selector Models 01 and 06 are announced.



The Carbon Ribbon Typewriter Model 1 is announced.



The Model A Electric Formswriter is announced. Also introduced are partial carriage return and left hand palm tab.



IBM rolls out the Model A Decimal Tabulation Typewriter, offering electric tabulation for statistical typing.



Changeable typebars are announced.IBM begins manufacturing typewriters in pastel colors.



The Model A (Model 3) Toll Biller Typewriter debuts.The Models 1 & 6 Electric Typewriter - right hand palm tab and Model 6 Electric Pinfeed Formswriter are introduced.



IBM introduces in March the IBM Model B Standard Typewriter and the IBM Model B Executive Typewriter. Both machines feature cushioned carriage, electric ribbon rewind, changeable typebars, multiple copy control and pastel colors.The Typedesk and form line selector are announced in May.



The Electric Typewriter Division moves from Poughkeepsie to Kingston, N.Y., making it the first IBM division to have its own manufacturing, development, sales and service organization.



The Model B Electric Typewriter (Input-Output) is announced.IBM breaks ground for a new typewriter manufacturing facility in Lexington, Ky.



IBM begins to manufacture typewriter ribbons and carbon paper in Lexington.



The IBM Electric Typewriter Division celebrates its 25th anniversary and delivers -- in Lexington -- its one-millionth IBM typewriter.The IBM 632 Electronic Typing Calculator with card output is announced.



In January the IBM Model C Typewriter and the IBM Model C Executive Typewriter with 28 new features introduce more productivity enhancements, including personal touch control. A quarter million Model Cs are sold within the first 19 months.The Model C Hektowriter is announced in July.



The IBM 632 Electronic Typing Calculator with paper tape output is announced.


To indicate more accurately the scope of its product line, the Electric Typewriter Division changes its name in August to the Office Products Division (OPD).The IBM Magnetic Tape Selectric Typewriter is announced. The MT/ST is capable of producing error-free typing at speeds of 150 words per minute (wpm).

The IBM Selectric Typewriter is unveiled in July. This product replaces typebars and the moving carriage with a spherical printing element.

The IBM Selectric Composer and Magnetic Tape Selectric Composer are introduced.

IBM introduces in April the Model D Executive Typewriter and the IBM Model D Standard Typewriter, the last IBM typebar typewriters. In all, the Model D incorporates some 250 improvements over the Model C at the time of its introduction.The IBM Paper Tape Selectric Composer is announced in May.A second OPD plant is opened in Austin, Tex. The 200,000 square foot facility occupies 400 acres.

IBM announces the Mag Card Selectric Typewriter.

The IBM Braille (Model D) Typewriter becomes the first powered Braille writing machine available for individual use. Its keyboard is almost identical to that of a standard typewriter.

The headquarters of the Office Products Division (OPD) is moved to new and much larger space at Franklin Lakes, N.J. The new site is completed the following year.

The IBM Communicating Mag Card Selectric Typewriter is announced in July. This invention allows mag card typewriters separated by thousands of miles to send information to each other over voice-grade telephone lines.The IBM Selectric II Typewriter, which lets the typist switch from 10-pitch for correspondence to 12-pitch for business forms and reports, is unveiled in September. The IBM Tech III Ribbon cartridge, also introduced, permits "clean hands" ribbon replacement.

The IBM Mag Card Executive Typewriter debuts.

IBM introduces the Correcting Selectric II Typewriter in March. The machine's Lift-off Tape allows the typist to lift typing errors literally off the paper.The IBM Mag Card II Typewriter is announced in April. Its electronic memory holds up to 8,000 characters.OPD assumes responsibility for IBM facilities in Boulder, Colo., and engineering and manufacturing operations for IBM copier products are transferred from Lexington to Boulder.

IBM rolls out the Memory Typewriter, a desktop typewriter that stores everything typed and allows the operator to recall and revise previously typed material. It has a 4,000 character memory, with a 50-page storage. Also available is a 100-page storage.

The IBM Electronic Selectric Composer is launched in January.The IBM Mag Card/A Typewriter debuts in September.

IBM announces the Office System/6 in January.The IBM Mag Card II Typewriter - Communicating is announced, also in January.The IBM Correcting Selectric Right to Left Typewriters (Hebrew, Farsi and Arabic) are introduced in March.The IBM Memory 100 Typewriter debuts, also in March.The IBM 6240 Mag Card Typewriter is rolled out in June. It operates at speeds up to 55 characters per second.

The IBM Electronic Typewriter 50 and Electronic Typewriter 60, the first electronic typewriters, introduce a new dimension of features, including automatic error correction, underscoring and centering.

The keyboards of the IBM Selectric III and IBM Correcting Selectric III typewriters feature larger, non-glare keys and a lighted margin scale.

The Office Products Division, along with the Data Processing and General Systems Divisions, is consolidated into two new divisions: National Accounts and National Marketing.

The IBM Electronic Typewriter 65 and Electronic Typewriter 85 are introduced. They have automatic right-margin justification, triple pitch and electronic keyboards.The IBM Personal Typewriter, a compact model for student and home use, is sold for the first time.

The IBM Selectric System/2000 typewriters, a family of totally electronic machines for a wide range of applications, are announced.The IBM Quietwriter 7 Typewriter features a new, patented resistive ribbon print technology, plus easy-to-use electronic functions.The IBM Wheelwriter 3 and Wheelwriter 5 typewriters offer cartridge printwheels along with advanced electronic functions.

The IBM Actionwriter 1 Typewriter provides versatility in a typewriter for schools, small business and the home.The IBM Wheelwriter System/20 and System/40, and the IBM Quietwriter System/20 and System/40 typewriters represent a new level of typing power and sophistication. Plug-in cartridges like Mailing List, Information Organizer and Spell Check deliver software solutions for a variety of tasks.

The IBM Wheelwriter 6 and Quietwriter 8 typewriters provide advances in speed, power and convenience.

The IBM Personal Typing System combines the simplicity of a typewriter and the flexibility of a word processor with the power of a personal computer.

In the largest typewriter announcement in IBM history, the IBM Wheelwriter Series II typewriters and the IBM Personal Wheelwriter Typewriter provide solutions for virtually every typing application.

IBM announces that it will form a wholly-owned subsidiary consolidating the company's typewriter, keyboard, intermediate and personal printers and supplies business in the United States, including manufacturing and development facilities. IBM also reports that it is working to create an alliance under which Clayton & Dubilier, Inc., would become the majority owner of the new subsidiary, and that IBM is studying a plan to include the remainder of its worldwide "information products" business in the alliance. The new U.S. company includes IBM's information products facilities in Lexington and Boulder.

IBM and Clayton & Dubilier, Inc., create a new information products company -- Lexmark International, Inc. -- to develop, manufacture and sell personal printers, typewriters, keyboards and related supplies worldwide. Lexmark is licensed to use certain IBM trademarks and has access to IBM technology and licenses to patents related to its business activities.