RE: History of TW before the PC and the Internet

Subject: RE: History of TW before the PC and the Internet
From: "Harry Bacheler" <hbacheler -at- geo -dot- census -dot- gov>
To: "Curtis Brautigam" <curtisb -at- nurserysupplies -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 09:30:22 -0500

Wow, what a question to ask...

1) Technical writers have always been around.

It is just that the work to be done was almost always 'just part of the
job'. The ability of the PC environment to
bring the "publishing of documents" to the individual desktop has helped to
the Technical Writer career area to grow.

The noticeable trait of technical writers (IMHO) is their capability to want
to be
involved in all aspects of the documentation business. They'll do what it
.. whatever that might be... to understand and document (the product).
Other career areas seem to want to specialize in one thing, and one thing
and not be concerned with the documentation. (this is my own observation,
after many years.

2) Equipment

In the early days (1970's), you documented your own stuff,

I have been doing technical documentation for the past 30 years, in one
capacity or another.

(in the 1970's) Equipment - Remington, Underwood, etc, typewriters.
(in the early 1980's) Equipment - CPT, Wang, key punches (with cards), line
editors on mainframes,
connections to typesetting machines. (Some of the 'connections' were 'hand
the hardcopy to the typesetter'
and they rekeyed the information.
(in the later 1980's and through the 1990's) PC's with their advancing
capabilities (Visicalc, Multimate, Word 2.0 through Office 2000)

I'll stop here and let the thread continue.

Harry M. Bacheler, Jr.
VGS, Inc.

"The thoughts, ideas, and opinions expressed in my portion of this email
are mine and mine alone. They are not the thoughts, ideas, and/or opinions
of any past, present, or future employers, or any group that I might belong

> -----Original Message-----
> From: bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
> [mailto:bounce-techwr-l-20951 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of Curtis
> Brautigam
> Sent: Friday, 11 February, 2000 08:27 AM
> Subject: History of TW before the PC and the Internet
> I hope that this will be a very interesting discussion string.
> Are there any TW's on this list who engaged in technical writing before
> advent of the PC and the Internet (I have the Typewriter-Mainframe era in
> mind)?

.. snip, snip ...

> What did technical writers do in the Typewriter-Mainframe era? What
> additional skills did the profession involve (except for the ability to
> well)? When did technical writing (or technical communication) evolve as a
> profession? This is, of course, not to mention what technical writers did
> before the age of the typewriter and the mainframe computer
> (there probably wasn't a distinct profession known as technical writing
> ... snip, snip ...
> Curtis R. Brautigam
> Technical Writer
> Nursery Supplies, Inc.
> Chambersburg, PA.

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