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(Gizmodo)   10 of h sto y's most beaut ful typew ters *DING*   ( gizmodo.com) divider line
    More: Cool, Ters, typewriters, QWERTY keyboard, beauty, history  
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3673 clicks; posted to Geek » on 09 Aug 2012 at 12:23 PM (5 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2012-08-09 12:51:31 PM  
2 votes:
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Effing LOVED this thing!

And it's what we learned to "keyboard" on. Yes, the school's "Typing" class became the "Keyboarding" class in 1982, as they knew computer skills would be needed in the coming years. But there is no sound to compare with 21 IBM Selectrics simultaneously responding as the teacher calls out characters to the class... "B" THUMP! "A" THUMP! "Space" THUMP!

And, as an excellent example of mid-century style, it's a winner!

//officially old now.
2012-08-10 09:36:11 AM  
1 vote:

semiotix: Sylvia_Bandersnatch: Currently in my arsenal (all portable manual, unless otherwise stated):
- SCM Classic 12
- SCM Sterling
- SCM Super Sterling
- SCM Galaxie
- Underwood Leader (Korean War era)
- Olivetti Studio 44
- Olympia DeLuxe
- Olympia DeLuxe Cursive
- Smith-Corona Silent
- Royal 440 (desktop)
- Royal KHM (desktop)
- Brother SX-4000 (electronic)
- a couple others I forget right off (in storage)

How you doin'?

It's hard to explain, I guess. I don't even remember clearly how it started, or why it started when it did, which was more than a few years ago. In truth, it started when I was much younger, and had a Royal KMM that went missing many years ago. I'd used a profusion of typewriters through the years, but it's only much more recently that I've gone back to my roots with manuals, and I never owned portables before -- but the vast majority of my collection is manual portables.

At some point, I realised that manual typewriters were disappearing, and there are only a few ways to preserve them. Besides being cleaned up, fixed up, and safely stored, they also have to be used in order to stay in working condition, or they start to bind up. So in order to preserve them, I have to exactly that: use them. Using this many typewriters is not easy. I have to rotate them, and because some are in storage, I have to rotate them in and out of there, too. I use them to write letters to people and address envelopes, and try to keep them in rotation. Some are better for some uses than others. The Cursive is great for addressing Christmas cards, but not a whole lot else. But the Olympia DeLuxe gives a serious look to official correspondence. (I'm pretty sure the font was chosen for actuarial use, but I'm not sure. It looks serious and German.) Most of the ones on my list are scholastic-grade typewriters, favoured by college students and homemakers for general use. The '12' designation on some of them refers to a 12"-wide carriage, which allows standard letter-size paper to go in sideways (popular last century for some kinds of work, such as accounting or other matrices). The Royal 440 was a training typewriter, used to teach typing classes. The Underwood Leader is the kind of machine someone like Radar O'Reilly likely used. (I think he actually uses an upright in the show, but I suspect that may not be accurate for a 'mobile' unit like the one he served in.) It's short on features, but very rugged and reliable, with great action, and usable in its own rugged, easily-closeable box. Perfect for the busy company clerk on the move.

The Rooy portable is the world's smallest portable manual typewriter, self-boxing in a metal case with a self-concealing handle -- the laptop of the '50s. Only a small number were made in the 1950s, in France, and they are very hard to find. I can't even estimate what it's worth, or what I should be ready to pay for one if I ever get the chance. But it's among the few typewriters I'd pay to have new parts fabricated for if it was necessary.

The Super G was designed by Kharman Ghia, and has a sexy 'flight shell' case with a kind of racing stripe. It was sold only in a bright European aquamarine, and I believe even includes an extensible luggage handle. Designed for late '60s jet-setters. Yeah, baby!

The Tom Thumb was sold as a kid's toy typewriter, but over-engineered to the extent that it's actually superior to many 'grown-up' typewriters. This one appeals to me mainly for the novelty, I admit.

The Royal 10 is one of the more attractive early desktops, with large glass plates on the sides. Many had fine decorative tooling, too (a trait of some early typewriters).

The Fleetwood is just weird, and I love weird things like this. The carriage top is boxy, shaped like a Kleenex dispenser, completely covered in faux woodgrain, and has a transistor radio hidden inside.

There's another reason I do this, too. A typewritten letter is only short of a handwritten letter, in the intimacy it brings to correspondence. You know when you hold it in your hand that each letter was personally put there by hand of the writer, rather than by a computer, that the typesetting is exactly as it was done on the first and only draft. Like handwriting, typewriting forces you to compose in your head, because it's hard to go back, and the greater the change the harder it is to do. Want to insert a new paragraph between two others? Too bad. This kind of writing engages the writer much more directly than word processing. A typewritten letter is therefore a lot more personal and immediate than a word-processed one. Finally, my handwriting is crap. It was ruined over a the years by lots of manual labour, because strength and dexterity typically trade off with each other. Typewriting lets me write a personal letter that's actually readable.
2012-08-09 11:25:51 PM  
1 vote:
Still looking for a Selectric II. I could pay a fair amount for one, but I know somewhere there's a closet full of them. For writing first drafts of stories, there's nothing that is as gratifying as seeing your real hard copy book rolling out with every slam of the return key.

The Remington 5 is a really sexy older typewriter, too.
2012-08-09 12:10:41 PM  
1 vote:
I was always partial to my sky blue Olivetti. Great design, sleek, never had any mechanical problems and it was really really lightweight.

Also like the cast iron Royal that pops had. That thing weighed a ton but typed like a dream.

When we got an IBM Selectric we were really styling.

Christ I feel like a geezer.
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