This design is based on one sophisticated, soft, pebble-like form for the main typewriter housing, which is then intersected by a single clean cut that forms the area where the typewriter keys go. The idea of intersecting one form with another to achieve a single functional composition is a contemporary idea and elevates the approach from just using crude enclosures to surround a mechanism. This results in a simple and less intimidating object.
The best part of this typewriter's design is the feel of the keys. The lightest of touch is required, the key tops are slightly concave, perfectly cupping the fingertips, and the vertical key travel is ideal. It allows fingers to fly confidently over the keys, typing incredibly fast — and the innovative printer ball design means that keys rarely jam. Built like a sleek tank, this typewriter has a solid, robust look and feel, providing the user with a feeling of confidence and control.
The miracle of the Selectric was its dancing print ball, an ingenious innovation over the bits of type on swing arms in a manual typewriter. Those swing arms were all of different lengths, which equated to a different inertial feel on the various keys. The Selectric's electro-mechanical connection between keyboard and paper allowed every key to feel exactly the same, enabling just about anyone to increase typing speed and productivity. I recall watching the ballet of the print ball in amazement. It moved faster than I could see! I marveled at the minds of those who created it.
This typewriter broke the monotony of the typed page in the 1960s by reintroducing the possibility of multiple fonts and regular page appearance. The impact on academic publishing is illustrated in the differences in the quality of the layout and typography of the dissertations published after 1965 or so. Now, I know that the IBM Selectric Typewriter was the source of those differences.