Saturday, March 26, 2011

آلة كاتبة عربية

Here's a typing sample from Ned Brooks' Arabic Olivetti Lettera 32:

An early Erika folding (#3032):

A few stages in the evolution of the Erika, 1910s - 1950s:

My '50s Erikas (left to right: Erika 10 #1909032, Aztec 700 Super #1976404, and Arabic #2000670). The Arabic machine lacks several features of the others and has old-fashioned round metal keys, even though it's newer. I believe the others are both the "Super" version; they include include touch adjustment and tabulator, among other things. On the left of the keyboard is a lever for disentangling typebars, and a "+" key for setting tabs.

There are plenty of small differences among these machines. Consider the line spacing markings:

There are more differences under the hood. On the left (#1909032), a decal from VEB Schreib- und Nähmaschinenwerke Dresden (Volkseigener Betrieb, or "People's Enterprise" Dresden Typewriter and Sewing Machine Works -- the socialist successor to Seidel & Naumann). On the right (#2000670), no decal and a different system for securing the hood.

The Arabic Erika and its capitalist rival, an Olympia SM5:

The Olympia's logo:

Let's take a closer look at the Arabic Erika:

Who can tell me what these decals say?

The shift key is a work of calligraphic art:

For those of you who want to get into the nitty-gritty of proportional typewriting, here is a non-proportional mechanism (#1976404) and then the Arabic, proportional mechanism (#2000670).

And finally, here is Ned's Arabic Lettera.

Wikipedia article on the Arabic alphabet

Marty Rice on the Aztec 700

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Where to buy a typewriter in Cincinnati

Update, October 2020: If you're looking to buy a typewriter in Cincinnati, keep in mind Urban Legend Typewriters, benefiting WordPlay Cincy. I, Richard Polt, recondition the typewriters on sale and offer typewriter service and repair (contact me with questions at We have ribbons and typewriter pads, too. During the pandemic, we are currently not open for business, but feel free to write to me and I may be able to help.

* * * * * * * * * 

And now for my blog post from 2011 ...

Hamilton Avenue, Northside, Cincinnati:

Park Chili -- a classic greasy spoon. Cincinnati "chili" is a cinnamony meat sauce invented by Greek immigrants in the 1920s, served over spaghetti with cheese on top. Very popular here.

This shop, Chicken Lays An Egg, has found an innovative way to display its name: the static on an old TV shines through cut-out letters.

The local Ace Hardware is the Spitzfaden's of hardware stores -- tiny aisles crammed with everything you could imagine.

Within a few months, the coffee shop will be full of typists, and Vick's will be competing with Shake It to see who can sell the most typewriters ... right?!

PS: Sidewinder did have a Royal KMM on display in recent memory, and I recommend it as a place to meet a friend for conversation behind the building while rabbits scamper under your chairs (RP, 2020).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

And now for something completely different

No typewriters. No typecast. Just a doodle from the latest exciting meeting I was forced to attend.

We will soon return to our regularly scheduled programming.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Speedwriter from Saskatoon

Robert Messenger on the man behind Commodore

Will Davis on Consuls

PS, Dec. 2014: I assumed this was a Cavalier Speedwriter, but according to Canadian collector Uwe Wachtendorf, it is actually a Speedwriter Cavalier! See other Speedwriter models on The Typewriter Database.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Let There Be Typewriter

I just had to share this gorgeous Royal poster (circa 1930?) I spotted on eBay.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Followup story on Amherst typewriter man

Bob Green, as quoted in the Amherst Bulletin:

Previous stories here, here, and here.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Voss Taylorix Contofix Junior

PS: In answer to a request in the comments to see the "Senior," here it is. Quake in terror, mere mortals, at the awesome power of the Taylorix Zeilomatik!

... and here is an even more Godzillaesque Taylorix Contofix
currently on German eBay. 
Be afraid. Be very afraid.

PS: I got one of these typewriters in January 2012. Read all about it here.