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20 August 2008

Best. Junkshop. Find. EVAR! [More:]

Envy me kidlets, because last night I found a Correcting IBM Selectric III at the junky-junk-junkshop up the street. Which is pretty ossom considering that junk shop has never had anything worth bothering with before. And they only wanted $45 bucks for the whole thing, which is incredible considering most places want over $300 for a reconditioned one of these.

It had 5 typeballs PLUS a couple spare ribbons and correction tapes in the bag taped to the side, and BEST OF ALL? The bands are in perfect condition so I won't need to repair it or do much more than give it a lube and go to it. Time will tell if the ribbons and correction tape haven't dried up and become all brittle / unuseable but that ain't no thang since I can get those for $5 a pop at the office supply.

for all you philistines out there wondering why I'm stoked about this dinosaur... well, let's just say if they could make a computer input terminal with the same durability, ergonomic feel and action, I'd be willing to pay hundreds of dollars for it.
Huh. So old IBM typewriters are still worth something? My dad bought a fancy IBM typewriter in the late 80s that had some computerish capabilities, like memory for macros or templates or something. Maybe it also had a serial or parallel port. I think it's still kicking around in my mom's basement.
posted by DarkForest 20 August | 11:31
OMG. I loved those machines and could type 20wpm faster on a Selectric than any other typewriter or keyboard before or since.
posted by essexjan 20 August | 11:35
Wow, that is a SWEET find, lfr!

My parents' IBM Selectric got me AND my brother through high school and college... they do indeed have a great "feel" that computer keyboards just don't live up to.
posted by BoringPostcards 20 August | 11:36
LFR, have you seen these?

There was also an AskMe about it too.
posted by essexjan 20 August | 11:43
I learned to type in high-school on one of those.
posted by octothorpe 20 August | 11:54
I have a couple of Model M keyboards in my office, if anybody else loves retro-IBM.
posted by theora55 20 August | 12:00
me too, octothorpe, me too. And a decent proportion of the work I did in my early office jobs was done on them as well. There's a Selectric II down the hall here at [big pharmaco] that gets used for all manner of odd jobs still to this day.

jan, I've used those old IBM mechanical clicky-clack keyboards. That's the trick, they're spring-action as opposed to the newer stuff of today.

They do feel good and they're definitely durable but they still don't have that same incredibly silken intuitive feel of the Selectric. This is apparently due to the steel ball-bearing "tumblers" on the Selectric that prevent fatfingering / dual keystroke input. It won all kinds of design / engineering awards when it came out and the revolutionary "golfball" typehead was apparently the inspiration for IBM's World's Fair building in 1965.

Mine is dirty beige, ugly as sin, loud as hell and probably older than a significant population of MeCha posters, but goddammit, you plug it in and it works.
posted by lonefrontranger 20 August | 12:01
I am retro in many things, but typing is not one of them. Aesthetically, I think it is cool to clack away on an old typewriter but I am fumble fingered enough that anything without a delete key is best left in the past, I would go bankrupt on the correction tape alone. I heart word processing.

But for retro type related goodness, I once had the brief opportunity to pick up an old honest to goodness Teletype machine that I wanted to use for decoration, but I didn't act fast enough, the person who could have got it for me was laid off. I was bummed, that thing was cool. Of course a big honkin' teletype machine would have hogged a lot of useful floor space, so maybe that's for the best.

posted by King of Prontopia 20 August | 12:20
I have a couple of Model M keyboards in my office, if anybody else loves retro-IBM.

You can still get those. A company has the rights to manufacture them, I want to say Unicomp, but I could be wrong.
posted by King of Prontopia 20 August | 12:26
Holy crap, they finally released the Optimus keyboard? Not that I'd pay $1600 for it, and apparently typing on it sucks, but still, it's awfully pretty. I figured that this was never going to make it past vaporware.
posted by The Pusher Robot 20 August | 12:32
I'm a Model M (well, buckling-spring, really) obsessive--I've got at least a half-dozen of 'em, all picked up at thrift stores.

theora55: Huge longshot, but I don't suppose you have any Model Ms with TrackPoints in 'em?
posted by box 20 August | 13:25
What's with all the spam today? || I have a (stupid?) question about Flickr.