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.

About Lloyd Kahn

Lloyd Kahn started building his own home in the early '60s and went on to publish books showing homeowners how they could build their own homes with their own hands. He got his start in publishing by working as the shelter editor of the Whole Earth Catalog with Stewart Brand in the late '60s. He has since authored six highly-graphic books on homemade building, all of which are interrelated. The books, "The Shelter Library Of Building Books," include Shelter, Shelter II (1978), Home Work (2004), Builders of the Pacific Coast (2008), Tiny Homes (2012), and Tiny Homes on the Move (2014). Lloyd operates from Northern California studio built of recycled lumber, set in the midst of a vegetable garden, and hooked into the world via five Mac computers. You can check out videos (one with over 450,000 views) on Lloyd by doing a search on YouTube:

4 Responses to IBM Selectric Composer Font

  1. 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.
    Mimi

  2. Anonymous,

    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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