#history, #museum, 7|21|2011

Selectric Stamp
Photo: IBM Selectric stamp. Credit: U.S. Postal Service


Chicago Tribune cultural critic Julia Keller reflects on the 50th anniversary of the IBM Selectric typewriter, which is being honored with a commemorative stamp. [Does anyone remember the ORATOR font?]

She writes: Fifty years ago this month, an electric typewriter called the Selectric was introduced by IBM. To celebrate the birth of a device that changed not only business practices but also our ideas of how utilitarian objects can double as eye candy, the United States Postal Service has released a new stamp featuring the Selectric.

And in a bit of symmetry that befits a natty gadget such as the Selectric, the woman who designed the stamp — the aforementioned Derry Noyes — is the daughter of the man who gave the Selectric its captivating contours: Eliot Noyes (1910-1977), celebrated American architect and industrial designer.

Arnie Cooper, writing in the Wall Street Journal, has an update on Afghanistan’s giant Buddhas, which were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001.

Peace for London’s Pearlies? Alistair MacDonald writes about  it in the Wall Street Journal.


A jury in Philadelphia found that the U.S. did not act illegally in seizing gold coins from a woman who said they belonged to her late father. AP via Washington Post.

The 38-acre site of the proposed United States National Slavery Museum is being sold at a tax auction, with more than $215,000 overdue. Kate Taylor in the New York Times.

The Port Huron, Mich., Museum is closing the World War II-era Coast Guard cutter Bramble and offering it for $300,000, according to the Port Huron Times Herald.

Jodie Jacobs, writing in the Chicago Tribune, takes a look at the upcoming Jewish Heritage Day being honored in Europe on Sept. 4.

L.A. Daily Mirror and L.A. Crime Beat, lovingly assembled from Twitter by bots, on paper.li

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1961, Architecture, History, Museums and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to #history, #museum, 7|21|2011

  1. psigney says:

    I had a high school teacher whose every test was lovingly typed in ORATOR (on a ditto master, of course). Brings back memories of his Freshman English Grammar


  2. Arye Michael Bender says:

    The Selectric was solid, weighed a ton, and made typing much more fun. Watching that little ball twist & turn and bob up and down was an entertainment in itself. Also, when they came out with correction tape for typos, we thought we were in writer’s heaven.


  3. Diane Ely says:

    When I started office work in 1980, the Selectric was still in use (but on borrowed time). On Friday afternoons, just before leaving for the day, I would carry the four or five typing elements I used (which represented different fonts) to the restroom and scrub them with soap and water, using a stiff brush. This removed the dirt and carbon residue which had accumulated from that week’s typing. After that I placed them on my desk to air dry over the weekend. On Monday mornings the Courier element (I also used that one most often) was installed back into the machine, and the others went into their little orange storage boxes.

    Do you remember that the Selectric came in different colors? I remember blue, black, tan, and orange in our office.


    • lmharnisch says:

      @Diane: As I recall, the Selectric II in our office was a nonthreatening tan. I don’t think anybody ever cleaned the elements since the typewriter was in use 24/7 (it was a law enforcement-related facility operated by the county). I do recall dust and junk falling into the “pit” where the carbon-ribbon cartridge and ball were located. We got castoffs from other parts of the county, so the arrival of the Selectric II was a big deal. And thank goodness we got rid of the Wite-Out and little slips of correcto-type. Whatever they were called.


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