Saturday, February 9, 2013

IBM Model C Executive BEAST

The Oliver 9 volunteered to provide scale for the IBM Model C Executive.

Thanks for introducing yourself oh mighty and solidly built IBM Executive! I am impressed with the engineering and build quality that went into your making. Even the hood hinge assembly is solid and operates in an understated, yet competent manner.  This is just a quick post before we say goodnight, so how some more size comparisons?
Simply massive and has density approaching that of a black hole in spite of the aluminum housing.
When encased, the Roxy/Rooy almost fits underneath the IBM.
I admit that I did not think through the whole proportional typewriter thing. I'm glad I adopted this beast. The engineering is a joy to behold and the type is unique. But I honestly had no idea just how huge these things are!  Where to put it in the long term is a question I have yet to address.

I am looking forward to receiving and installing a new platen and power roll. It won't operate like it did in 1965, but the fact that it runs at all is a mark of good industrial design.

Oops! I forgot that the Roxy has never had a proper introduction.  Well, there is plenty of time left in the 2013 International Typewriter Appreciation Week!


  1. Hmmn, I suppose I oughta post scans of the Executive operator's manual I scanned in last week.

  2. It looks much cooler than the later Selectrics.
    If I remember right, you posted about the Roxy. You were in the woods hiking I think.

  3. I like these big machines a lot; they have plenty of character and are fantastic workhorses. My only complaints are two: they need a lot of free desktop space... and the power carriage return is so powerful it can make my poor old flimsy desk shiver and send the machine galloping all over the surface after a while. Other than that, which can be solved by using a proper desk with no Pledge-polished surface, I think the Executive and the lesser models C and D, like the one I own, are amazing machines and can be used for hours and hours without a single protest.

    And I agree completely with you in your appreciation of the engineering and build quality that went into these machines! I was beginning to feel lonely being the only typospherian who voiced his liking of these big electric machines.

  4. Congratulations on that find! It looks certainly massive and produces nice text.

  5. (turns head; looks at the Oliver 5 on the desk beside me).
    Okay... so that looks that big.
    (turns head; looks at photos on screen comparing sizes).
    Holy f**k!

  6. That is an impressive machine! I suspect it would be popular with letter recipients - especially with that typeface.

  7. Ted: Oh, please do post the manual! I still need to work through how the margin sets work and perhaps do a bit of lube and adjustment.

    Ton: It does have a look all its own and would fit well with an IBM mainframe full of vacuum tubes, transistors and magnetic tape drives the size of SUVs. I can't remember doing a teaser on the Roxy, but it has been a long year.

    Miguel: I'm of two minds on electrics. I very much agree with Richard Polt's philosophy that dependence on anything other than human created kinetic energy is not preferable. However, I wanted a proportional machine and am unlikely to come across an Olivetti Graphika. That said, I appreciate quality engineering in almost any form. It's been a pleasure to poke around inside a fully serviceable machine. The downside is that there are many moving parts to wear and break. The plastic bits could all become brittle at the same time 10 or 20 years from now. But I will enjoy it while I can. As for the carriage return energy, that is supposed to be modulated by a governor. I opened up the plastic housing on mine and was unimpressed by the size of the device. I may put in a drop of gun oil and see if it spins up better.

    Florian: Thanks! I do like the typeface and output. Clean, but not perfect. Richard commented on this in his "Executive Decision" post last year.

    Scott: Yeah, this is beastly. We're going to keep it happy so it doesn't start eating portable machines.

    notagain: Correct, you are! I need to crank out some letters. I've already done a postcard that needs to be sent on its way.

  8. Dwayne: I'm not sure if the procedure is the same in your machine, but I just posted on my blog how to set margins on an IBM model D. You can find it here:

    Nevermind the Spanish-language entry, I'm including an English translation at the end of the page. Hope it works for you.

  9. Love the early IBM electric models. Rocket-age good looks with electric efficiency!

  10. Miguel: Thanks for the assist! Your Model D looks fabulous. Now that I've moved my beast from the hefty slate workbench, the table underneath tends to shimmy. I think the governor is undersized.

    Mike: The styling is very much early space race. I've must sorry it doesn't have baby tailfins like the cars of this era.

    Power Roll Note: Someone sent me a message through my Fotki photo account about Power Roll sources. Since Fotki held all of its subscribers accounts hostage to extract more money last year, my page there is on autopilot. I'll probably pull the plug once I get more photos up in the Google Picassa product. Anyway, the Power Roll I bought was a lucky grab off ebay. The Ames platen from the same vendor was also new, but the rubber had dried out over time. Such is life.

  11. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I just bought my brown beast today for the low price of $5.00! I was looking for ways to change the margins when i stumbled upon you site and the link for the manual! I now know how to open it. Thanks again, you're a life saver.


Dang. My blog was hit by Spam comments. Comment moderation has been turned on for some time yet to be determined.