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03-8-2020 02:27:58  #1


Selectric vs. Wheelwriter Typing Speed

I was recently wondering about the maximum archivable typing-speed the respective mechanisms of the IBM Selectric and the later electronic Wheelwriter are able to keep-up with. I have read somewhere once that the maximum theoretical typing speed archivable on an IBM Selectric is well in excess of 200 WPM. That sems about right to me, the Selectric is an insanely fast machine. The Wheelwriter, from my experience, is quite significantly slower in printing text then the electric, and often needs to catch up when I type fast.
 
I would like to know if anyone has any idea just how much slower a Wheelwriter types compared to a Selectric.
 
Theoretically: Would the Daisy-wheel mechanism have been introduced first by IBM (instead of the Selectric), and would it have been incorporated in a electro-mechanical design similar to the Selectrics (instead of an Electronic one) would the speed difference still be that apparent? Would the Wheelwriter perhaps be able to match the Selectrics speed? And if not, just how much slower would have been? Would it even be noticeable?
 
Keep in mind, would a daisy wheel typewriter be electro-mechanical in design, the response time and shifting of the wheel would be instantiations. There would be no delay like we are used to from Wheelwriters or other electronic daisy wheel machines. As lower-case and numbers are located on one half, and upper-case and symbols on the other half of the wheel, if the shift key is pressed the wheel rotated by 180 degrees (like the ball is on a Selectric when shifted), the daisy-wheel would only ever have to complete a quarter rotation to select any one character.
 
The strengths of the daisy mechanism when compared to the Selectrics is its inherently much simpler and more rugged design (quality being equal). There are fewer moving parts and less adjustment needed for the typewriter o function correctly, as the daily wheel only moves around one axis. Such a machine would have had much longer service intervals and would require much less care in the long term compared to a Selectric (which are notoriously complicated and finnicky). I also dare to say that replacing a Daisy wheel is faster and simpler then replacing a golf-ball. Because of the simpler mechanism, such a typewriter would have been cheaper to manufacture, and could in turn be sold at a lower price, making it available to a much larger crowd. It seems to me that, would the Wheelwriter have come first, we might have gotten a much better machine because of it.
 
But please, proof me wrong. This is a discussion.


Learned watchmaker and office machine enthusiast from Germany.

 
 

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