Saturday, October 24, 2015

The great West Virginia typewriter meeting of 2015

A few highlights from today's big meeting.

There was a good crowd this morning for various presentations, including mine about my book:


Our gracious and loquacious host, Herman Price:


All eyes turn to Gabe Burbano, winner of this year's QWERTY Award for excellence in promoting typewriters:


Peter Weil describes his conservation process for his Universal Crandall No 3.


The results:


Bob Aubert showed us a Hammond for use by the blind. Its original owner won a Hammond typing contest in 1904.


This is a poor photo, but you can see the six special keys with raised rings that served as home keys for the blind user:


Bryan Kravitz of Philly Typewriter Repair gave us all copies of a fun brochure on typewriter care that he wrote in the '80s. You can download a PDF of it here


Brian Brumfield told us about his experiments casting replacement parts, such as Hermes knobs and Smith-Corona carriage release levers. The general moral: flat parts are easy, complex 3D parts are not.


Dave and Will Davis showed us their "Harry A. Smith" Victor and pointed out that many "outlier" features of typewriters — parts or characteristics that seem surprising for the time when they were made — probably were added when the machines were rebuilt. Just one rebuilder had rebuilt over 300,000 Underwoods by the mid-1920s.


Plenty of typewriters came out of trunks and were swapped and sold before rain came along:


Here's a Remington made in Italy and branded Commodore:


There were several Underwood electrics lying around:


These delicate, feather-light typewriters make excellent laptops:



Above, Ian Brumfield is practicing for the five-minute speed typing competition. We were given a text about Herman's ancestor Henry Francisco, who supposedly joined the army at age 91 and lived well past 100. I managed to edge out Ian by just a couple of words per minute, working on the Purple Prose Producer:


The PPP was also an entrant in the beauty contest, but it didn't get far.



The beauty contest winner was Herman's restored experimental Remington Telegrapher.

Finally, I had a good talk about minds and machines with Oliver fan and fellow philosophy professor Marty Rice, who brought this wonderful ad I hadn't seen before:


That sure is an aggressive writing machine!







13 comments:

  1. Looks like a lot of fun. I'll have to go to one of these some day. I wonder if that Underwood electric handles better than my massive Royal-Litton?

    ReplyDelete
  2. "Just as a battleship goes into action with decks cleared, so goes the Oliver--stripped of all useless parts." -- Brilliant!
    Thanks for chronicling the meeting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lucky, lucky attendees! I wish I were in West Virginia! The typewriters are so beautiful this time of year.

    That Oliver ad is a hoot - I'll see if I can get the cannon on my Oliver running :)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the pictures Richard - lots of coverage on the Facebook group also. Looks like yet another fantastic event!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh boy, that Underwood Electric, with two-tone keyboard! And, paraphrasing Elvis Costello: Oliver's navy is here to stay, Oliver's navy are on their way... Brilliant ad.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey, that Rice guy has a real eye for good graphic design, ... doesn't he? And Searle's Chinese Room argument is STILL relevant!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A simple viewing of Kubrick's 2001 is evidence that Searle was barking up the wrong tree.

      Delete
    2. You mean "Stanley Kubrick" was really a computer?

      Delete
    3. no,no--all the actors except for HAL were obviously (primitive) a.i..

      Delete
  7. How can anyone type with an Underwood All-Electric on their lap? It weighs between 1 and 2 million tons!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know! That must have left some bruises.

      Delete