Skip to comments.Found a Owner of a IBM Selectric Composer Typewriter (Very interesting!)
Posted on 09/11/2004 1:46:40 AM PDT by The Bandit
Talked back and forth with a typewriter collector named Chuck who lives in Redlands, CA. He happened to have a working IBM Selectric Composer Typewriter circa 1972! Here is the scoop I got from him....
IBM had a Roman font element, he said it was called "Aldine Roman." The element I guess is what we been calling a golf ball on here! He said it is very similar to MS New Roman, in fact ALMOST identical. BUT, he said the IBM element Roman font had a observable difference in the capital C. He says he does not see a IBM Selectric Composer Typewriter element C in the Killian memo's. He also said if the memo's line up exactly with text from MS Word then he would be very, very suspicious of the source.
About the superscript, he said it could be done but not exactly like it shows in in the memo's AND would take effort, not something he'd expect a unexperienced typist using a such a new type of machine.
Bottom line: memo's did not come from a IBM Selectric Composer Typewriter.
I am beat after all this, good night and hope this info is useful!
Back in my typesetting days I could mistakenly set a whole paragraph of type that was supposed to be Times Roman in a completely different font, such as Helvetica, and no one ... not even the proofreader ... would know the difference.
"Philip D. Bouffard, a forensic document examiner in Ohio who has analyzed typewritten samples for 30 years, had expressed suspicions about the documents in an interview with the New York Times published Thursday, one in a wave of similar media reports. But Bouffard told the Globe yesterday that after further study, he now believes the documents could have been prepared on an IBM Selectric Composer typewriter available at the time.
Analysts who have examined the documents focus on several facets of their typography, among them the use of a curved apostrophe, a raised, or superscript, ''th," and the proportional spacing between the characters -- spacing which varies with the width of the letters. In older typewriters, each letter was alloted the same space.
Those who doubt the documents say those typographical elements would not have been commonly available at the time of Bush's service. But such characters were common features on electric typewriters of that era, the Globe determined through interviews with specialists and examination of documents from the period. In fact, one such raised ''th," used to describe a Guard unit, the 187th, appears in a document in Bush's official record that the White House made public earlier this year."
"Bouffard, the Ohio document specialist, said that he had dismissed the Bush documents in an interview with The New York Times because the letters and formatting of the Bush memos did not match any of the 4,000 samples in his database. But Bouffard yesterday said that he had not considered one of the machines whose type is not logged in his database: the IBM Selectric Composer. Once he compared the Bush memos to Selectric Composer samples obtained from Interpol, the international police agency, Bouffard said his view shifted.
In the Times interview, Bouffard had also questioned whether the military would have used the Composer, a large machine. But Bouffard yesterday provided a document indicating that as early as April 1969 -- three years before the dates of the CBS memos -- the Air Force had completed service testing for the Composer, possibly in preparation for purchasing the typewriters.
As for the raised ''th" that appears in the Bush memos -- to refer, for example, to units such as the 111th Fighter Interceptor Squadron -- Bouffard said that custom characters on the Composer's metal typehead ball were available in the 1970s, and that the military could have ordered such custom balls from IBM."
Was that Selectric Composer an expensive typewriter in its time? If so, I doubt very much that the State of Texas (or any state) would have purchased it for the Army National Guard. The states and the fed tend to buy cheap office equipment to this day.
I would expect it to more likely have been a manual typewriter if it were used in the National Guard in 1972--maybe an Underwood or a Royal.
To give you an idea of how behind the times National Guard units are on office equipment, I saw clerks in some units using typewriters instead of computers and printers in the early 1990s.
Doug could run out and talk to the guy!
Having been a company clerk in a NJ Army National Guard unit in 1988/1989, I absolutely agree with your comment. for most, if not all of our official documents, we were using IBM Selectrix typewriters. I also was tasked at one point as an officer (went through OCS) to destroy all our documents in our safe (unit was deactivated). All the docs I destroyed, dating back to he MID 70's were typed on manual machines as well as typed on "onion skin" typewriter paper.
Now, the NJARNG and the TXANG may be different in how they funded their units for office equipment purchases, but they wouldn't be THAT much different.
I really would want to see the original source document to make sure - both the font as well as the paper.
Keep on at it.
I'm pretty sure the Texas Guard purchased through the military supply system just like any other military organization would have. The variety of would have been very limited and chances are in reality, the type writer was probably years old. Someone should contact the colonel's secretary who was mentioned by his son. She no doubt could cast some light on what they were using.
I think you're right about the font not being Times New Roman, or any type of Roman.
The Serifs on the sample look squared off, not tapered and curved like Roman.
I looked at the images of the memos, and tried to find a match using the Linotype font finder http://www.linotype.com/fontidentifier.html.
It didn't find a match, maybe because the image was not clear enough and a whole range of defining characters were missing.
I don't think the "forgery" was created using Word, unless the user had access to, and chose a very unusual typeface, and I doubt if it was created using a golf ball typewriter for the same reason, it would have to be a very unusual golfball.
I live in Redlands... and I am a reporter for a tech website. Please send me his contact info so I can get my videocamera over there!!!!
Dan Blather said there are other Bush records from the pentagon that have superscript.
how is it that we are sure what typewriter it was??
I went to HS 1962-66 we had ONE Selective machine in our typing class. It was large. They didn't use them in the office either. I would imagine that the military, especially the TANG were not given the most modern cerical supplies just as schools are not given them. Things like typewriters were not that important, and the ones you got lasted for decades.
The perfect match with MS Word IS the proof. The algorithm that produces the variable spacing was developed in 1981.
It is true that in a dems world, that would not mean much. There are as much chance of manually producing that spacing than winning twelve trades in cattle futures.......
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