I was looking through my collection of old printing ephemera and found this lovely 1957 brochure for the Vari-Typer Model 160. Machines like this became practical with the spread of offset printing. Professionals pasted up proofs of hand-set metal type or output from a phototypesetting machine. But, if you were on a budget, the Vari-Typer offered a low-cost alternative.
It was essentially a fancy typewriter, but with proportional fonts, different type sizes and the ability to justify lines. It didn’t really look like professional typesetting, but it looked better than a typewriter, which was good enough for many purposes. It was desktop publishing before computers.
I really like the logo. But this is what made me want to post these scans:
I really wonder what was going through the minds of the industrial designers who created this machine. Did they mean for it to look like a little grinning monster? So easy to use—just stick your fingers in its mouth and type!