IBM Selectric Composer Font

I came across this the other day when cleaning out old files. It’s a font from an IBM Selectric Composer, a $9,000 souped-up IBM Selectric typewriter, which was used for typesetting in the ’60s and ’70s. It was the step in between linotype (hot lead) and the Macintosh. There was a different ball for each typeface, and when you wanted to switch from roman (plain) type to italic, you changed the font. The Composer was used by Stewart Brand for the Whole Earth Catalog and then by us for Shelter and our subsequent books up until the early 90s, when we switched to the MacIntosh.

4 Responses to IBM Selectric Composer Font

  1. Who says:

    My Dad put out the first cold type newspaper in the state if Alabama on this IBM Selectric! It was a weekly, came out in Thursday, approx 36 pages in half page format.

  2. Anonymous says:

    As an office worker, I remember how excited I was when this was introduced!

  3. Anonymous says:

    Worked my way through university on one of these…had to look up the 1960s commercial:

  4. Lloyd Kahn says:


    The Selectric isn't the same as the Selectric Composer. The latter was a very high-powered version, as I said, costing around $9,000. The Selectric Composer was used to set type. It's like the difference between a VW and a Maserati. Thanks for the comment!

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