Monday, December 10, 2018

Manifiesto Mexicano

Here's the new manifesto from Armando Warner of Californication Typewriter in Mexico. (English translation follows.)


Saturday, December 8, 2018

Open house at Urban Legend Typewriters

We had an open house today at Urban Legend Typewriters.

Our shop is beautiful and enticing ... but would anyone come by?

The "new" typewriters I brought in today include this bright red Correcting Selectric II. I don't repair them, but this one is in excellent working condition (Brian Brumfield had previously worked his magic on it.)

I also brought in this Tower Citation with fantastic circa-1960 styling ...

This '63 Royal Safari ...

... and this Remington Letter-Riter DeLuxe from the late '50s. We don't currently have serial number records for this model. It uses manually-set tab stops (unlike the similar Quiet-Riter, which has a tab set and clear lever to the left of the keyboard). To get access to the tab stops and margin stops, you push down the paper table (marked "Tabulator") and it pops up; then you push it down again to shut it.

And I can't forget this new addition to the shop, a 1954 Imperial 66 with removable keyboard and carriage. Common in the UK, very rare in the US.

To amuse ourselves while waiting for customers, we gave ourselves writing prompts.

Here was my response to the prompt "secret Santa," typed on the Imperial:

Someone came through the door! — but only to drop off this poster for a neighborhood event.

And finally ... yes! We had customers come in to browse, to chat, to buy (the Citation, the Safari, a flat-top Corona, and an unrestored Quiet De Luxe just donated by Dave Brechbiel all found new owners), to pick up serviced typewriters, and to drop off 7 more for work.

It's great to meet fellow typewriter lovers. As a rule, they are creative, thoughtful, full of stories, and friendly.

I leave you with a poem that one of our customers has composed and attached to the case of his sparkling Remington no. 3 portable.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

A car driven by a typewriter

Self-driving cars? Nonsense. The car of the future will be controlled by typewriting!

(For the real story behind this image, visit Robert Messenger's blog, and take note of the country where he lives.)

Saturday, November 17, 2018

The typewriter revolution in Sweden

Many thanks to Charles in Gothenburg, Sweden, for sharing his family's enthusiasm for typewriters and for the COLD HARD TYPE project.

Friday, November 9, 2018

COLD HARD TYPE update, with deadlines

A Collaborative Project

Initial deadline for submissions: February 1, 2019
Deadline for revised work: April 2, 2019
Provisional publication date: June 1, 2019

E-mail all submissions to
Richard Polt at, or mail by post to:

Richard Polt
Dept. of Philosophy
Xavier University
3800 Victory Pky.
Cincinnati, OH 45207-4443

This book will be an anthology of futuristic typewriter fiction—a subgenre that has been explored occasionally in the typosphere. (Examples:,, Stories, poems, illustrations and photos are welcome.

            Imagine that digital civilization collapses, and that some people adopt typewriters as their tools of choice. What will their adventures be? These are the tales of their struggles, defeats, and triumphs as they try to bring back typewriters from the grave of “obsolete” technology and restore them to their rightful place in the sun. All contributions to COLD HARD TYPE will be set in the future, when digital civilization is collapsing or has collapsed, and will involve typewriters as an essential part of their content. The final versions of the texts will also actually be typed on typewriters.

            The basic premise allows for many possibilities: there are different scenarios for the partial or complete breakdown of digital technology and culture, various reasons for the collapse in different parts of the world, different stages of the process, and many possible results. The theme could be called “dystopian,” but maybe the new Age of Typewriters would be a utopia. It could be called “post-apocalyptic,” but the end of digital civilization does not have to come in a single, apocalyptic event. Stories can be set early in the process or centuries later. They may be funny, dark, violent, light, ironic, or profound. They can be suitable for an adult audience, but should not be out-and-out pornographic or sadistic. They can range from short-shorts (1 page) to a maximum of 5000 words.

            Submissions should be sent to Richard Polt by e-mail or post (see above). They will be reviewed by Polt (author of The Typewriter Revolution: A Typist’s Companion for the 21st Century,, novelist Fred Durbin (, and Broward College English professor Andrew McFeaters (

            First drafts of fiction and poetry may be either digital or typewritten, but the final version must be typewritten.

            Submissions of illustrations may include color cover designs and grayscale interior artwork, including photos. Illustrations should fit appropriately within the dimensions of the book’s pages, 6x9 inches. Resolution of digital images should be 300 dpi or better.

Initial deadline for submissions: February 1, 2019. Submit a draft of your work by this date, at the latest. The editorial panel will consider it and may suggest corrections or revisions. In some cases, we may decide that the work does not fit this volume. However, we hope for wide participation and want this to be a fun, inclusive, and diverse project.

Deadline for revised work: April 2, 2019. This is the date by which we must receive final contributions.

Provisional publication date: June 1, 2019. Around this time, the book will be available for purchase as a print-on-demand volume. It will not be available in digital form. The price will be as affordable as possible; no one involved in the project expects to make any profit from it. The book will contain no digital text, only images of typewriting.

Formatting instructions for final work (tentative guidelines, may be updated; not necessary for drafts):

The printed book will be 6x9 inches, and there will be one-inch margins on the pages, so all typing must fit within a 4x7 inch rectangle (10.2 x 17.8 cm). On most typewriters, this is 42 lines of typing, 40 characters per line in pica type or 48 characters in elite type.

Do not use a typeface smaller than elite (12 characters per inch) or larger than pica (10 cpi). Sizes in between the two are OK. Use an easily legible typeface (no script typefaces, please) and a fresh ribbon.

On the first page, type the title of your text, centered, starting two lines down from the top of the rectangle. After a blank line, type your name, centered and without the word “by”; after two more blank lines, start the text.

Every paragraph should be indented by five spaces. Do not put blank lines between paragraphs.

At the end of your text, after two blank lines, type the make and model of the typewriter that you used, starting at the left margin, without indenting.

Please be careful with grammar, spelling, and typing. This book will use American spelling and punctuation. (Use “double quotation marks,” and put commas and periods inside them.) The editorial team will not be able to correct most typographical errors. Some mistakes will undoubtedly get into the book and add a little character; perfection isn’t necessary. However, text should be as neat and correct as you can reasonably make it. To fix typos, we recommend using correction tape or plastic film correction tabs; do not just type xxxx over mistakes.

Numbers and page headings will be added in the final production process. You can number your pages if you want to, for your convenience and ours, as long as the numbers are outside the 6x9 rectangle of the printed page.

On a separate page, type a brief biographical statement (maximum 3 lines), beginning with your first and last name in ALL CAPITALS. The bios will be collected at the end of the book. You may use a pseudonym or remain anonymous if you like.

Typescripts may be sent by postal mail to this address. Avoid folding or bending the pages.

      Richard Polt
      Dept. of Philosophy
      Xavier University
      3800 Victory Pky.
      Cincinnati, OH 45207-4443

Alternatively, you can scan your typescript and e-mail it to Scans must follow these guidelines:
      • Grayscale
      • Resolution 300dpi or better
      • PDF or JPEG

Photos will not usually have the same quality as scans, but they may work if there is no better alternative. Light the piece evenly, keep the camera parallel to the page, and do not get too close or too far from the page.

            Is poetry allowed? — Yes, but it must fit the theme of the book, and we expect that most contributions will be stories.
            May authors collaborate? — Yes.
            Can I submit more than one piece? — Yes.
            May I use a pseudonym or remain anonymous? — Yes.
            What about foreign-language or bilingual material? — The language for the collection is English, so submissions must be in good English, and any bits in other languages must also come with a translation, so that readers who do not know those languages can understand.
            Can work have been published previously? — Yes, but we do prefer contributions that are new or not well known. Any previously published material must follow any copyright conditions attached to the previous publication.
            Can they be republished later? — Yes. You will retain copyright on your work, and after the book is published, you may publish your work in other formats, noting that it first appeared in Cold Hard Type.
            Will I be paid? — No. No one will make any money from this project. We will profit in the form of joy, fun, and the satisfaction of contributing to the typewriter insurgency.
            Will I at least get a free copy of the book? — No, but we will ensure that it is very affordable.

If you want to be sure to receive all updates on this project, send an e-mail to Richard Polt at

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Bonanza in Carmichael

The day after the extravaganza in Auburn, I stopped in Carmichael, next to Sacramento, to visit a large office machine store. It has been closed for about a decade, and the family is now trying to clear it out. They are looking for takers for machines, tools, equipment, and more ...

In the photo above, the top shelf is all empty cases, including some nice Olympia cases. There are lots of electrics, especially Selectrics, but also manual standards and portables. A Torpedo 18 in a case is on one of these shelves.

Here are some of their older machines.

There are also checkwriters and adding machines.

There's lots of miscellanea, such as shelving and this box of plastic office machine covers:

The lights aren't working in the repair shop, but using a flashlight I spotted this useful tool. There is lots of other repair equipment and parts, as well.

A couple of neat dealer labels:

Are you interested? Write to Denise Martinez.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Extravaganza in Auburn

On the heels of another amazing weekend at Herman's (which has been chronicled in the typosphere here, here, here and here), I flew out to California at the invitation of Gary Moffat, to participate in a big event in the Gold Country.

Auburn is a lovely place:

I should have said mid-19th century ...

Gary Moffat, mastermind:

Edie Lambert, who interviewed me along with Gary, has also interviewed President Obama.

Payson, his Lego typewriter, and his beautifully working Bennett:

The insurgency lives, on Steve's arm!

Effie J. Eisley of Auburn was a typing champion in 1924 ...

... and 94 years later, the winner of the Auburn typing contest brought home a beautiful Underwood, expertly restored by Ole Kehlet of Kehlet Typewriter in Sacramento.

What a night to remember.