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Icons of Progress

The Selectric Typewriter

The arduous—and sometimes humorous—seven-year development process of the Selectric is captured in these recollections of the IBMers who were involved.

The Selectric was released on July 31, 1961. Despite the years of research and experimentation that went into its creation, few people expected it to meet with such enormous—and instantaneous—success. Even Bud Beattie, who led the engineering process on the Selectric, expressed surprise, telling a USA Today reporter in 1986, “I always thought it would be a viable product, but I never thought that it would be as successful as it turned out to be.” The comments below reflect just how much the Selectric amazed—and captivated—the world.