Have not been as active here at stevenread.com as I'd like to be, been on something of a summer break. I've been working on this website for 7 years now and I do suffer the occasional burnout. But I have been active posting content elsewhere at ye ol' ebay.com, where my posts actually put cash in my pocket! I'm a semi-pro-amateur antiques picker who specializes in digital weirdness. At a recent estate sale I found this electronic panel sitting in a junk box under a workbench in a basement. Was intrigued by the "Associated Press" markings on the front so I bought it. Doing some research it turns out to be the control panel of an "Offsetter" from 1966 which "converts wire-service signals directly into camera-ready copy" according to the MonoType Imaging website. Cool! This refrigerator-sized computer sat in newspaper offices processing AP news wires and printed them out formatted and ready for press (or the trash bin). It must have saved thousands of typesetting manhours, but likely at the cost of losing some creative control.
The found control panel has a whopping 3 buttons "prime" "start" and "stop". When consuming news media what else do you really need? Only a few thousand of these units were made by Compugraphic, a company based in Wilmington, Mass. I assume not many folks have heard of these. I never had. But it seems like an important, pre-internet computer, as networked article feeds are practically the fuel of today's Internet. I am determined to find a good home for the rare vintage Offsetter panel and so if you know of someone who might want this it is currently for sale on eBay. During my research I found some great newspaper articles from the 1960's showing the device in action. Here are some of those: