‘Tronics

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the search for a suitable name for the latest and most innovative electronic typewriter inevitably led manufacturers to opt for a name that well and truly associated their product with high-tech.

Hence a plethora of -tronic, -onic, and -tron name endings, Early examples were the Smith Corona “Typetronic” (October 1980), the “Facitronic” (AKA Facit 8000, March 1982), and a series of “Remtronic” electronic typewriters (also 1982) manufactured by a South American spin-off of Remington Rand USA (Remington Industria e Comercio de Sistemas Para Escritorio s.a.).

From the early-to-mid 1980s, Hermes Precisa released various models of “Top-tronic”, initially manufactured in-house, and then manufactured on an OEM basis by the likes of Nakajima, Robotron, Triumph-Adler and Olivetti.

Brother preferred to name their typewriters using a two-letter prefix and number, EM-1000, AX-450, etc., but did release several models of “Compactronic”, “Correctronic” and “Executron” in the USA – early examples being a pair of moveable-carriage daisy wheel typewriters: the “Compactronic” 8300 and the “Executron” 9300.

Like Brother, Silver Reed generally preferred a two letter prefix and number naming convention (EX-44, EZ-20, etc,), but did release an “Editronic” thermal mini-wedge (circa 1984).

AEG Olympia went the literal route, selling its Japanese-made “Electronic Compact” as early as November 1982. This was followed by the release of a “Report Electronic” in 1985.

Odd to think IBM didn’t register “Selectronic” as a trademark. Silver Reed America used the name at least once., long before IBM released its first Wheelwriters, referring to them initially as “SuperSelectrics”.

This”Selectronics” Word Finder dates to 1988:

The only other instance I could find was this “Selectronic” typo

If IBM had released a range of “Selectronic” typewriters, at least their customers would have known what they were getting – namely a Selectric electro-mechanical typewriter with added electronic components.

Competitors at the time, took every opportunity to emphasise the difference:

The distinction was not lost on IBM themselves …

… who were keen to retain their customer base JUST LONG ENOUGH to switch them over to their Personal Computers.

Not all typists who made the switch were happy about it …

2 thoughts on “‘Tronics

  1. Yeah, in all other ads this typewriter was simply referred to as the “Silver-Reed Self-Correcting Electronic”. I think when they say “typing elements and ribbons are interchangeable with IBM” those typing elements and ribbons *are* IBM typing elements and ribbons. 😉

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  2. Huh, the Selectronic ad pictorially suggests that the Silver-Reed machine was an electronic golfball machine rather than a daisywheel. I even dare to imagine that it claims that a Selectric II element will work in the Selectronic, or at least it doesn’t disclaim it. Now I very much want to see one…

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