2 of 27Image
IBM's museum at its UK base in Hursley doesn't only chart the early years of its century-old history but also tells the story of its more recent role in helping create the personal computer.
Before IBM began building PCs in the 1980s, it was a major manufacturer of electric typewriters.
In the summer of 1961, IBM's Office Products Division announced a technological breakthrough that allowed IBM to go on to dominate the typewriter market in the US.
The Selectric typewriter was IBM's first to print using a single "golf ball" — a spherical ball bearing 88 alphabetic characters, numerals and punctuation symbols.
Typists using the Selectric could relatively simply switch fonts, style and character set by swapping in a new golf ball. The ball also had the advantage of eliminating jams, where more than one key was struck at once and the typebars became entangled.
The type ball worked by revolving and tilting — according to the direction of a sophisticated mechanism — as it moved across the page. Each character had a binary code, one for tilt and one for rotate.
Thomas Watson Jr, the then president of IBM, called the "golf ball" the "most totally distinctive invention we've ever made as a company".
The "golf ball" printer technology was used in many other IBM machines, including computer operator consoles and terminals.
All images credit: Nick Heath / ZDNet.com
Announced in 1980 the Selectric III typewriter expanded the keyboard to 92 characters.
Like its predecessor, the Correcting Selectric II, it has a correcting key that can erase the previously typed character.
This IBM 1052 was a console output printer for System/360 machines in the 1960s.
It was a cut-down Selectric I/O printer with no backspace and no tab. Keyboard input was provided by a separate keyboard.