IBM Selectric-based Terminals

Paul Birkel pbirkel at
Mon Dec 14 23:54:09 CST 2015

> - intention was to rip all this out and convert it to a full I/O serial terminal, using an Arduino-based setup
>     that Lawrence Wilkinson has already built and tested:

Looks very nice!  Is there documentation for it somewhere?  I also have a Selectric (unfortunately it's located distant from me at the moment so I can't provide particulars) that I worked on interfacing to a micro in the mid-70's.  I was using a MC6800 in my recollection, but I don't believe that I ever achieved operational status.  Presumably I was working from an article in one of the hobbyist magazines of the era.  I would have guessed Byte, but that doesn't seem to be the case based on recent search.  Any hints from folks on what magazine/article that might have been?

The Selectric wasn't one of the curvy(ier) office models; I recall it being a rather boxy affair with plenty of right-angles on the housing and a medium shade of blue -- presumably "IBM Blue".  Rather utilitarian in design.  Even *more* utilitarian than this one:

It included a full keyboard.  I'm not sure anymore whether it operated in local-mode or was set up as two separate devices and therefore needed to be connected up to a remote controller to get local copy.  It might have been a rehoused Selectric mechanism in a third-party enclosure and the IBM-like color a red herring.  My recollection is that it was longer front-to-back; presumably the rearward extension housed the additional electronics.  I have absolutely no idea how I acquired it.  No luck finding a matching photo online as yet.

I believe that the Selectric came configured for remote operation, but presumably using an EBCDIC-based data stream.  I vaguely recall a DB-50 connector, but it's been an awfully long time ...

Does this description sound familiar to anyone?


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