S.E.T.I.

Single Element Typewriter Interests …

Initially, the “single-element typewriter” referred specifically to the IBM “golf ball” Selectric typewriter, introduced in 1961. More than a decade later, when IBM began to license its Selectric technology, a plethora of copycat Selectric “clones” appeared on the market.

Many clones, like the Sperry-Remington SR-101, were more-or-less straight copies of the IBM machines, while more sophisticated clones replaced IBM’s mechanical tilt and rotate mechanisms with electronic control of the ball element.

While TA Triumph Adler found itself embroiled in litigation for breach of patent, Olivetti and Brother found innovative ways of getting around IBM licensing.

By 1983, “single-element” went without saying and the element in question was no longer a ball, but a wheel. Typewriter manufacturers (IBM excepted) were quick to realise that a single-axis, bidirectional daisy wheel was not only cheaper to produce, but capable of a much faster print speed.