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.......
There are also many fonts made for UNIX systems that would look different in images from the way fonts used for MS images would look. I think we can safely assume that the "document" was from an image file of some sort. And their are many file conversions (imports/exports from one file type to another) possible.
To me the smoking gun is wordwrap. Others have noted that the wordwrap of a manual typewriter works differently than a word processor.
In particular, MSWORD wraps the current word when the end of a word passes the right margin, so that no line of text exceeds the right margin. By contrast, a person typing manually finishes the word (or syllable with hyphen) he is typing when the right-margin bell rings, and then does a carriage return. The net effect of the manual typewritten style is that, if one draws a vertical line at the bell-margin, that line should go through (intersect) the last word of every line of text.
Clearly, from the 1 AUG 1972 memo (and possibly others), NO SUCH VERTICAL LINE CAN BE CONSTRUCTED THAT INTERSECTS THE LAST WORD OF EVERY WRAPPED LINE OF TEXT!
This fact says that the margin control of the documents was not done according to manual typewriting protocol. By contrast, the margin control ends up exactly what MSWORD produces.
I've pointed this out on other threads. And on another thread, bolobaby noted that "this is not definitive proof by any stretch of the imagination," because a typist has the option to manually violate the wrapping convention of the bell, and squeeze in extra words. But I replied, what are the odds that a manual typist, over the span of 4 memos, would exactly choose to squeeze in the EXACT SAME words, so as to "accidentally" coincide with what MSWORD would produce. I would say, with metaphysical certitude that the odds are nil. Bolobaby agreed.
Not to disagree but it's important to recall this was a photocopy and the .PDF is of the fax that CBS sent to the White House. At least that's what I've seen. There's a possibility we're just seeming the degeneration resulting from the photocopying, scanning, faxing and possibly rescanning processes. Those serifs are going to deteriorate terribly and depending on the algorithm settings for converting to B/W, it might well appear to be "squared off"--this is just a caveat.
Remember the a Perry Mason, where he showed that a document was actually typed on the murder's typewriter by palming the ball and switching them in court? Of course you do, it was "The Case of the Elusive Element". Tragg gets all flustered when Perry shows him how the forged document could have been typed on another machine without having access to the actual machine.
Let's call Rathergate, "The Case of the Elusive Element".
Don't even worry about it: The Selectric Composer cost as much as two cars, and was used to produce camera-ready copy. The procedures to compose a page required you to type it twice.
Typing "memos to self" on one of these things would be less plausible that asserting Col. Killian flew to work in a gyrocopter he made himself.
This story is nailed. The memos are a fraud.
That seals it. Microsoft Word circa 2004.
Is it known that Selectrics were used at those offices at the time.
Well take your expert talents and produce an exact match to any of the memos. There is $10,500 of reward money posted on this site, just waitng on YOU to collect it!
Amen. There's no way in hell some National Guard colonel is going to be doing his own typing on a rich-man's typewriter.
Explain to me please, why MS Word can create a document (using what you say is the incorrect font) that EXACTLY over-lays with the bogus memo. I mean EXACTLY!
The samples were typed with the wrong font. The font in the CBS pdfs is NOT a Roman type font.
It is not a perfect match, the font faces are different although the spacing appears to be almost the same.
If so, maybe for their printing office. These were high end machines used by printers or type houses. Besides, the above statement only claims that the Army tested the typewriters, it doesn't say that they purchased any.
As I recall, my Mom bought a Duster with a V-8 for $3100 in '73.
Also - in an active duty fighter squadron in 85-89, we had a couple of electric typewriters in the training shop and a couple in admin. The admin section also had ONE word processor that allowed you to type about 4-5 lines of text before it actually printed.
All the electric typewriters we had in the 80s were Courier or Elite font, as I recall. None were capable of proportional spacing. Of course, everyone knows the Guard gets the top-of-the-line stuff, like typewriters that cost more than two cars...
The issue is that the documents show sophisticated typesetting elements that were not available even on the most sophisticated typewriters of the time (i.e. IBM Selectrics). Elements such as kerning, proportional spacing of letters and some features of the way the wordwrap works as well as the superscript that appears when there is a reference to Bush's fighter group, the 147th. In the circa 1972 memos the "th" appears half-sized and raised, something neither the Selectric nor other common typewriters of the time could do. These are features of a word processor and they didn't come into common use until the late '80's, proof that these memo's are forgeries
Faxing always slightly changes the size of an image. This accounts for the "pulsing" you see in some image comparisons. Also, the fax had poor vertical registration, and the document was slightly skewed in the paper feed.
However, none of these distotrtions cover up for the fact that gross comparisons alone - line breaks, automatic superscripts in all places EXCEPT where a space is inserted, etc. - nail the documents as forgeries.
And then there are the dozens of diversions from military style in the documents.
And then there is the center-justified headings INSTEAD OF letterhead.
And on and on. At this point, you'd have an easier task making the Hitler Diaries be accepted as genuine.
There is no kerning in the CBS pdfs. For example, in the string "CYA" the space between Y and A should be reduced if kerning was done. It is not in the CBS pdf. Type the string "CYA" into MS Word and turn on kerning (it is off by default) from font properties to see what kerning does.
"...proportional spacing of letters..."
IBM Selectric Composer and IBM Executive series typewriters did proportional spacing of letters. As did a some other typewriters available in the early 70s.
"In the circa 1972 memos the "th" appears half-sized and raised, something neither the Selectric nor other common typewriters of the time could do."
Not true, I've seen at least one testimony on FR about the ability to make the "th" superscripts with IBM typewriters available in the early 70s.
Furthermore, although the resolution is very low, I'm almost certain that the character serifs in the CBS pdf are not of the 'curvy' Times Roman type. Times New Roman was used in the MS Word document prepared by Charles Johnson of the LGF blog.
It seems to me a comparison of authentic typed documents from that unit during that time would settle the issue.
Are you telling me that the CBS pdf has to be scaled to make it compatible with the Word document? If you allow scaling, the whole business becomes a lot more subjective.
"However, none of these distotrtions cover up for the fact that gross comparisons alone - line breaks, automatic superscripts in all places EXCEPT where a space is inserted, etc. - nail the documents as forgeries."
Is it so far fetched that default Microsoft document formatting would be based on industry-standard IBM typewriters?
"And then there are the dozens of diversions from military style in the documents."
Well, some of the documents seem to be made just for personal filing purposes.
"And then there is the center-justified headings INSTEAD OF letterhead."
"And on and on. At this point, you'd have an easier task making the Hitler Diaries be accepted as genuine."
All I'm saying that FR and other conservatives on the web will have a huge egg on their collective face if it turns out that the documents were indeed authentic. We should be a bit more cautious.
There's a marked difference between Times Roman and Helvetica. But, point taken.
If you compare the "th" in the forged document with the "th" on the second line of the official document - the one that Dan used to "prove" that superscript was available on typewriters, you will see that on the official document the top of the "th" is level with the top of the numbers preceeding it.
In the forged document the middle of the "th" is level with the top of the numbers preceeding it, and the top half of the "th" is above the top of the numbers. Can't do that with a typewriter.
IMHO, they had the best keyboard of any device known to man (well, at least this man!)
I've got one old IBM computer keyboard that comes close to the selectric in terms of feel, with a hard and distinct "key click."
Does anyone know where I might be able to find more keyboards like this? I've never seen them anywhere else, and it seems all the newer keyboards have a sort of "mushy" key feel, even the IBMs.
The keyboard I've got was old when I bought it (used), and that was at least 12 or 13 years ago!
If Col. Killian's business documents produced before and after the dates on these "memos" show any uniform and consistent flaws, then these memos would have to have exactly the same imperfections as the real documents, if they were produced by the colonel. Is there any repository of unclassified documents bearing the signature of the good colonel around the time of these "memos" that we can use to establish a baseline for the typewriter?
Phil Dragoo has provide a link which shows us how this forgery was done on a computer with MS Word 2002.
Go to the link and see what Howlin told us, unfold in about one minute.
Go to this link and see how the forgery was done with MS 2002.
Would a Composer's default vertical single space default line up PERFECTLY with a document made by MS WORD? The Killian documents line up vertically perfectly with the MS Word default single space for Times New Roman.
If the Composer's default verticle line spacing was not identical to MS Word, then it could not be the typewriter even if the fonts lined up perfectly (which they don't).