The Golden Age of IBM Advertising

Big Blue's classic midcentury campaigns for "card-programmed calculating machines," newfangled typewriters, and other miracles of technology.

Posted by  | Monday, August 30, 2010

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December 1980
Fast-forward twenty-two years. By the early 1980s, the typewriter was a dead gadget walking–not just because of the personal computer (IBM would announce its first PC a little over six months after this ad appeared) but also because of word processors such as those popularized by Wang Labs in the 1970s.

This ad shows just how incredibly mature typewriters had gotten: IBM couldn’t claim that the Selectric III would boost your career or impress your customers. Instead, it had to try and get prospective buyers jazzed about refinements such as non-reflective keys. It took another eleven years for it to get out of the typewriter business period. Mainframes, however, it still makes.

More tech nostalgia on Technologizer:

How 1940s Whiskey Ads Predicted the Future

The 13 Other Greatest Error Messages of All Time

The Odd Fates of 25 Legendary Tech Products

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8 Comments For This Post

  1. Bill Says:

    Read the fine print. At that time you had to have 2 years training. This training was in so called electronics, Which in 1956 was a glorified electrician. Everything was vacuum tube and relays.

    I joined IBM as a Field Technician in 1970 after 4 years as an Airforce technician. By the 1980s they wouldn't even consider an applicant that didn't have a college degree. Even though the job at that time was getting less technical every year.

    I must say however that they did provide a career. I worked for they in one capacity or another for 30 years.

  2. ankit malik Says:

    IBM really did a great service on the tech industry. They revolutionized the evolution of computers.

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  8. Charles Carmean Says:

    I hired on with IBM in Tucson AZ in 1980(circuit card test tech) and the manufacturing business was going great building circuit card till 1989 when the plant started downsizing and I took a transfer to Charlotte NC and this business lasted till 1998 when once again the manufacturing of circuit cards moved to China. Everyone who thought that they had a lifetime job with IBM found out the reality of cheap labor overseas. In its heyday IBM was a great place to work and employees were taken care of.