Word Processing Circa 1968

By  |  Friday, August 21, 2009 at 12:57 am

computerworldIf you’re as fascinated by the prehistory of personal computing as I am, the early issues of Computerworld at Google News are hugely entertaining. They date from a time before there were such things as personal computers, but there are hints of what was to come everywhere in their pages. I wrote about a 1968 story on a 75-pound pseudolaptop recently. And after the jump, I’m reprinting a story from the November 13th, 1968 issue on Astrotype, an extremely early multi-user word-processing system with 4KB of memory which stored documents on magnetic tape. Its creators said that by permitting the correction of text documents, it would be a boon to…would-be secretaries whose typing was too lousy for them to find work. Little did they know that word processing wouldn’t help more people become secretaries, but would instead dramatically thin the secretarial herds in corporate America over the next four decades…




2 Comments For This Post

  1. KevinF Says:

    Ha how funny the paper could blithely refer to typists as "girls". Let's see you try that today!

  2. Dave Barnes Says:

    My first word processor (1971) was an IBM 370/168 running CMS. I used Script.

    For you youngsters:
    1. The 370/168 cost about $10M in today’s dollars. It was a huge mainframe that required a staff of 5+ to run it.
    2. CMS = Cambridge Monitoring System. Later known as VM.
    3. Script was a markup language.