A Collection of IBM Presentation Slides from the 1970's

I recently found a collection of old 35mm IBM presentation slides among some of my dad's old papers and things (dad was an engineer and salesman for IBM from the 1950's into the '80's). These slides probably date from the mid-to-late-'70's.

In those days you couldn't create a presentation at your own computer. The first personal computers were just starting to be invented; a WYSIWYG interface and PowerPoint would not be released until years later. I imagine presentations during this time were designed by creative teams at the corporate headquarters. Slides would be developed, packed into boxes, and shipped out to the local branches. The local branch salesmen would load these slides onto slide carousels, bring them out to sales calls, and show them on slide projectors. Bulbs would get hot and burn out, and the fans that cooled them were loud and distracted at meetings.

Most of the slides in this collection are for a pitch for IBM 3660-series supermarket terminals (I was not familiar). I love how these slides have easy-to-read text with no bullets, elegant diagrams and flow charts, and an abundance of full-screen art-directed photography. Note the details like the period clothing and hairstyles, slightly futuristic corporate aesthetic, cartons of cigarettes piled up all over the place, the comparative metric of "millions of bytes per spindle", and the close-up of the "MEAT" button on the console. Notice also how some of the text slides have text that come in one line at a time on successive slides, so that the audience cannot read ahead. There is no title slide in this group which suggests these might have been set-aside and unused during the presentation. Unfortunately these slides have become badly faded over time; rather than color correct these, I thought it was more interesting to reproduce them as they are, with a sort of naturally-occurring filter.

I also found a promotional button mixed into this set, for something called the IBM 3290 terminal display. I always think it is a nice idea to tie a presentation into something like a little button or physical object. Could you image you and your team wearing matching buttons to promote your next campaign? 

Follow the author on Twitter @tj_katopis.