Re: IBM 1620 invalid character symbol

From: Ken Whistler via Unicode <>
Date: Wed, 27 Sep 2017 10:42:54 -0700


On 9/27/2017 10:02 AM, Asmus Freytag via Unicode wrote:
> In that context it's worth remembering that there while you could say
> for most typewriters that "the typewriter is the font", there were
> noted exceptions. The IBM Selectric, for example, had exchangeable
> type balls which allowed both a font and / or encoding change.
> (Encoding understood here as association of character to key).
> That technology was then only two years in the future.

And in some sense, not even... ;-)

By the 1950's (and probably earlier), enterprising linguists and other
special users were conspiring with skilled typewriter repair experts to
customize their manual typewriter keyboards and key strikers with custom
fonts. I have an example sitting in my office -- an old Olympia manual
typewriter with custom-cast type replacing the standard punches on some
of the key strikers, and with custom engraved key caps added to the
keyboard, to add schwa, eng, open-o, etc. to the typewriter. It also has
the bottom dot of the colon *filed off* to create a middle dot key.
Typing an actual colon on that machine requires an "input method"
consisting of 3 key presses: {period, backspace, middledot} A couple of
the keys that have raised accents on them were modified so as disable
the platen advance, thereby becoming permanent "dead keys" --
effectively emulating the encoding of combining marks. There are
probably thousands of such customized manual typewriters still sitting
around, over and beyond the various standard manufactured models.

Received on Wed Sep 27 2017 - 12:43:36 CDT

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