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Subject: Re: First video terminal?
Date:    30 Oct 2000 18:39:38 GMT
From:    Eric Fischer 
Newsgroups:  alt.folklore.computers

David R Brooks   wrote:

> Flexowriter was not a hot-wired Selectric. Made by Friden (later
> Singer-Friden).

As I understand it, the Flexowriter story goes something like this:

The powered typewriter was invented around 1914 by John Smathers,
who originally intended to run a series of typewriters off a single
motor rather than having a separate electric motor in each.  But
his invention was developed by the Northeast Electric Co., which
saw it as a good source of business for its electric motors.  In
1925, Northeast and Remington made an electric Remington typewriter
as a joint venture, but the deal fell apart because of Remington's
inability to commit to any specific size of order from Northeast.

Northeast then continued the development on its own, resulting in
the Electromatic typewriter, and then around 1931 spun Electromatic
off into a separate company.  Electromatic then followed up with
a second typewriter model, this one designed for stencil cutting,
which introduced the "electric" keyboard layout, and an "automatic
typewriter" that read an enormously wide paper tape (one hole per
key, I think) to produce form letters.  IBM then (in 1933) bought
Electromatic and made it into its own typewriter division, but the
automatic typewriter instead evidently went to Commercial Controls,
Inc., which refined it into the Flexowriter.  Commercial Controls
was then bought out by Friden in the early 1960s, making them the
owners of the Flexowriter.


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Updated November 1, 2000