Monday, September 24, 2018

Friday, September 21, 2018

Guest post: Top ways to promote the Typewriter Insurgency

Thanks to Linda Smith for this guest post that's full of great ideas!

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Street typists around the world

Just a few examples of street typists I've seen on Instagram recently:

Party Poet in Fort Worth, Texas:

Shannon Monaghan at Burning Man ...

... and in Portland, Oregon:

Ary Katz in Los Angeles (photo by Brady Leffler)

Zachery Aaron Quale in New Orleans:

Pablo Urizal in Madrid:

Richa Pandey in Bangalore:

Try it where you live!

Monday, September 10, 2018

The takeaways

Congratulations to ZetiX for guessing the four winners from Friday's typewriter safari!

1. This Adler J4 was an obvious choice at just $29.99. It's an uncommon and well-made portable with interesting styling (reminiscent of its notorious big brother from "The Shining").

All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy:

And—bonus!—this J4 has a beautiful typeface known as Esquire (Rodrian 88) (thank you, Ted Munk):

2. I couldn't resist the Underwood Master, on sale for $40. I'm fond of this somewhat ridiculous attempt to streamline the boxy Underwood, and I'd been thinking that if I found one in nice shape at a good price, I might pick it up. Notice that this one even has a rare ribbon cover on the left spool.

It's not quite a giant, but it is a very beefy writing machine. It was made one year after the New York World's Fair.

Here's what it looks like after extensive cleaning and adjusting. I had to replace one foot and part of the backspacing mechanism. I found the second ribbon cover languishing in the innards of the typewriter!

3 and 4: These two Smith-Corona Classic 12s also came home with me.

Why? Look closely:

The scale on this 12-inch carriage only has markings up to 66 characters. And ...

... notice the lack of a red ribbon option.

Yes, these are magnatype machines, 6 characters per inch.

For $29 apiece, this purchase was a no-brainer.

The two keyboards are not identical: notice that the first keyboard below includes the usual symbols #, %, and &, but the second one replaces them with +, ÷, and =.

Both typewriters include this peculiar key:

Both typewriters actually print the same characters, including + ÷ =. One of the typewriters has an old ribbon, but I think the typeface is identical.

The weird character is an em dash (–), as opposed to an en dash or hyphen (-). The em is a little longer, and also prints a little higher on the page: see the ems and ens between the two typing samples above. I'm really not sure why you'd need both kinds of dashes, but I guess the em looks better as a minus sign.

The typeface is similar to Speech-Riter (another grateful tip o' the typebar to Rev. Munk). However, note that the a and 4 are obviously different from Speech-Riter, and there are other, more subtle differences. Sight Saver isn't a match, either.

According to information scratched into the back of one of these typewriters, it belonged to a fabric supplier in St. Louis. Now both of them are going to WordPlay, either for kids to use or for sale to the public.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

Mechanographical melody motivates me

Something was calling me to the antique mall on Friday morning ... some faint mechanographical melody.

And yes! It was a worthwhile trip. Can you guess which 4 typewriters I came home with? You may need to click on some photos to see the price tags or other significant details. In my next post, I'll reveal the answer and show you something really neat.

Friday, September 7, 2018

The last few little-known typewriters ... for now (W-Z)

Here's the conclusion of my series of images of little-known typewriters. Of course, this hasn't been anything like an exhaustive list of weird or obscure writing machines. I just tried to select some that are never or rarely discussed in collectors' circles. Maybe one of my readers will now take a second look at that dusty relic on the antique shop shelf . . . .

This impressive index machine is a Wagner Schneider.

The Watsongraph was a radio-operated IBM invented by Glen Watson. This one isn't so obscure to readers of ETCetera, who know it from Robert Messenger's recent story in issue 121.

The cute Winsor is a name variant of the Junior, made in Spain by Talleres Alonso (see previous post).

I have the next machine in my files as "WWII Japanese device." I think it's a typewriter made for the military.

Not too many typewriters begin with X, but one that I would love to find is the Xcel, which had some keys devoted to typing whole words at one stroke.

Here's another little index machine of the 19th century, the Yankee. This is one of the antique typewriters that are worth far more than they originally sold for (after accounting for inflation).

An 1898 ad: "As to speed, will say I can write."

The Young American is a variant of the American Visible index typewriter.

The Young Students is a toy marketed by Sears Roebuck. (You may recognize the atomic SR logo from their "Tower" rebranded Smith-Coronas.)

The Zenit is a Russian clone of a '50s Royal portable.

If you don't know what a Zerograph is, you should. You can find more information about this brilliant personal teletype online, including this fine page from Greg Fudacz. So it's not little-known to everyone, but I think it deserves to bring up the rear of this parade.