Monday, May 27, 2013


(Judge the typeface name for yourself using the NOMDA Blue Book
But I went back with a ruler and must correct myself: this machine is pica, not elite.)

The serial number is HHS-5430634 (1954). Does the S stand for Special?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Typewriter donations wanted for WordPlay Cincy

NOTE, June 2017: We do not currently have a need for more common typewriters, as we have a large stock awaiting restoration. If you have a rare or particularly attractive typewriter that you would like to donate to WordPlay Cincy, do please contact me, Richard Polt, as it could become a priority restoration.

This lovely photo by FD Harper showcases The Urban Legend Institute, the quirky curiosity shop that helps to support the kids' tutoring and writing center WordPlay Cincy. Today Ton S., who is briefly in Cincinnati, came to WordPlay with me, and director Libby Hunter treated us to an update on the good things happening here.

As most readers of this blog know, I have a dream volunteer job refurbishing and maintaining typewriters for the kids to use and for sale at The Urban Legend Institute. While the standard typewriters haven't sold yet, the portables have attracted a good deal of attention and 4 or 5 have sold so far. My typewriter cleaning and repair service has also found some customers.

I have a few other typewriters that I'm refurbishing for sale, but we could use more. So ...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

50 Common Typing Faults, by Albert Tangora

My favorite typing champion has long been Albert Tangora. Why? There's just something about his handsome face and smile that I find — well — winning.

Notice how Tangora's championship Underwood has a special extended lever instead of the traditional stubby one, for easy returns, and a huge, distinctive bell that he could hear over the din of a typing competition.

I even sneaked Tangora into my 2010 NaNoWriMo novel:

I recently found this pamphlet attributed to Tangora, published by Royal in 1939. It includes 50 tips, an illustration of Tangora at a Royal, and more propaganda for the latest Royal typewriter. You can download a PDF of this charming bit of ephemera (about 7MB) by clicking on its image.

You can see Tangora in action here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Gossen Tippa brochure

Readers of my post "Spires and square donuts" were impressed with John Lambert's deluxe case for his Gossen Tippa (above — notice the Tippa logo). John has now sent me these images of a brochure that shows the case.

"Ask for a nonbinding demonstration from Karl Schreiber, Freiburg/Br. Almendweg 27

"The machine weighs only 4 kg, is only 5.7 cm high, measures 30 x 28 cm, and nonetheless is extremely stable and reliable, and sophisticatedly equipped. In short, it is a high-quality typewriter with a normal platen, keys that are secure to the touch, and convenient levers; it has 3 line-spacing options, automatic ribbon reverse, stencil setting, releases for the platen, carriage, and paper, and even a touch adjuster. It is available in pica or pearl [elite] for nearly every language. In addition to the tried and tested sand color, it is also available in black, maroon, light grey, cerulean blue, or ivory white.

"Easy payment terms with minimal down payment up to 18 months!"

"The frame of the Tippa is cast in one piece—so every little screw 'sits' tight and can't be moved. A minimal depression of a key and a universal Schaltring [I'm not sure how to translate this term] permit the fastest writing, with noticeably precise impressions. The silent carriage return is also notable. At least 6 clean copies can easily be achieved. Since a carriage lock keeps the carriage precisely in the middle of the typewriter, it cannot be displaced even inside its case. Control openings in the paper guide show the end of the line. — Together with the elegant, sophisticated leather briefcase, the Tippa becomes a 'flying office.'

"Machine with metal case, DM 325. Special leather briefcase, DM 70.

"Gossen TIPPA: 'always there with you'"

One interesting detail about the Gossen Tippa is that the feed rollers are controlled by two separate levers on left and right. Why?

Thanks, John!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Nonagenarians in New Haven

Bust of Mark Twain

PS: Mr. Whitlock passed away on August 28, 2013 after an illness of about two months. 
Randall Beach of the New Haven Register reports that Whitlock wrote his own epitaph:

How many minutes? How many hours?
How many days or years?
How many miles? How many smiles?
How many laughs and tears?
Shall I leave here on earth and say ‘farewell’
and leave for a life unknown?
Heaven and hell don’t suit me well.
I’ll create a life of my own
Where the friends I have known, and have long since flown
Await me with open arms.
And the friends left behind will one day find
That no one is ever alone.