IBM’s Element of Surprise

In an Adaptation post from July 2018, I pointed to the similarity of the caps on second generation IBM Selectric golf balls and those on Silver Reed EX series electronic typewriter print wheels …

I didn’t know it at the time, but the same wheels exist with an IBM branding.

So what is the origin of these wheels? The question was asked on the TypewriterTalk forum back in September 2018, however no definitive answer was arrived at.

An obvious avenue of investigation is to search on Silver Reed EXP series daisy wheel printers and look for any kind of link with IBM. After-all, if IBM were happy to supply their clients with dot matrix printers made by Epson, and laser printers made by Hewlett-Packard, why not daisy wheel printers made by Silver Reed?

Lo and behold it turns out this OSE Silver Reed EXP 770 Daisy Wheel Printer PDF is an IBM document:

IBM machine type: 1003-S05

The above is a broken link, however the text of the search confirms that Silver Reed daisy wheel printers were either leased or purchased by IBM. 1003 was the code assigned by IBM to OEM printers and their associated interfaces and consumables. 1003-S05 refers specifically to the Silver Reed EXP770 daisy wheel printer.

So there you have it: “IBM” branded print wheels as used in OEM Silver Reed printers (and compatible with Silver Reed EX series electronic typewriters).

Mystery solved.

But made by IBM or made for IBM? (26/04/2021: For the answer, see: Lex Machina)