Sunday, August 27, 2017

IBM Personal Typewriter

This is the IBM Personal Typewriter. I know, it's a confusing name because when people talk about them, they don't mean it's their personal typewriter, that's the name IBM gave to this model. Some people call it the Personal Selectric, but that's not the official name. This model was only made for about 2 years, starting in late 1982 and ending in 1984. It has a lot in common with the Selectric II as it uses 88-character elements, but it also has the ribbon design that was introduced on the Selectric III.

This is a prime example in like-new condition. It was nearly un-used when I got it, but had been stored for many years and had frozen stiff. After a chemical wash to remove all the hardened grease and oil, it was relubricated with synthetic oil and grease to restore that like-new feel. Various upgrades were preformed to make it perform flawlessly for years.

After lubrication, all functions were checked and adjustments were made as necessary. This machine had barely been used, so it was in nearly perfect condition.

The old deteriorating foam was removed and replaced with new to make it run as quiet as new. Many repairmen remove the foam and either leave it out or replace it with something else. The correct foam matters and really makes a difference in the sound of the machine.

This machine was obviously someone's personal machine as the set-up date was Christmas Day 1982.

It has also been repainted in the original colors. This the only color combination these machines came in. There were no optional colors.

This is a 12-cpi, single-pitch machine, as they all were. Dual-pitch or other cpi spacing was not offered on this model.
This machine is so nice, I'm really thinking about keeping it, but I will accept offers.


  1. You don't seen many of these (Ted's Green Hornet springs to mind). I wonder why IBM made so few of them?

    1. I think because a manual typewriters and lesser electrics at the time cost FAR less than a Selectric. Businesses could afford Selectrics by the truckload, but bought the wider ones because they are more useful. The Personal was for a very small market of people who wanted a home typewriter and had a lot of money they were willing to spend on them.

    2. Official information is hard to come by, but rumor was the IBM Personal Typewriter was made to use up the scores of spare parts IBM had for the Selectric II, since it was being phased out of production and replaced by the Selectric III. Most of the IBM Personal Typewriters that I've encountered were originally owned by IBM employees. It's just speculation, but I think they were offered internally to employees first and then to the public. Although some ended up in the hands of businesses, they were better suited for personal use since they were only 12-cpi, single-pitch machines.