Sunday, March 26, 2023

A new case for an Emerson

Flushed with the success of improvising a new case for my Noiseless Portable and creating new instructions for the Emerson, I wanted my Emerson to have a case of its own before I give it to a friend. 

Originally, it probably came with a wooden base and sheet-metal cover, like most early typewriters. Here's a photo of an early Emerson with a base that I found online. But finding a base and cover especially for an Emerson, or making them to original specifications, was beyond me.

eBay to the rescue—as usual! But it took time to find something that had the right dimensions and also looked good. Finally, I found this vintage suitcase. It's bigger than it needs to be—about 18"x18"x10", roughly 1.5 times the dimensions of a typical portable typewriter case. Then again, the Emerson isn't exactly a portable.

This beautiful leather case was made to order, long ago, for someone with the initials S.M.M. It's deeper than most suitcases, which aren't nearly deep enough to accommodate a non-portable typewriter.

But how to secure the typewriter safely? I played around with chunks of styrofoam but wasn't satisfied. Finally it dawned on me that I had some memory foam from an old mattress.

The typewriter sinks down into the foam snugly.

Another chunk of foam tucked into the pocket in the top of the case provides gentle pressure from the top and ensures that the typewriter won't budge. Voilà!
This worked so well that I'm already thinking about doing the same for other typewriters that need new cases.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

The Grants 727 Medalist typewriter: bleached and beautiful

Click on the top two images for more on the Grants 707 and 737.

The typewriter was a bit yellowed.

Painting it with hair-salon peroxide ...

Wrap it in plastic to slow down evaporation:

Let it sit in the sun for a couple of hours:

Peroxide also bleaches clothes and skin! (The skin effect doesn't last long.)

Looking good!

Let's dig into the machine a little. The white part of the shell can be removed if you take out two screws and gently pry it off the turquoise base.

Here's the underside...

... and a video of some functions (tab, space, automatic spacer, typing).

Nakajima serial numbers are datecoded so that the first numerical digit 
in the serial number is the last digit of the manufacture year.

That would make this a 1971 machine.

Since the Grants sticker was missing, I filled in the space with the Urban Legend Typewriters logo. This typewriter will probably be sold sooner or later to benefit WordPlay Cincy.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

How to use the Emerson typewriter

The company's instruction manual for the Emerson must have baffled a few users back in the day. It's both unnecessarily technical and completely lacking in illustrations. I decided to make a new, illustrated user's guide for a friend, an expert in American thought, who will be receiving my Emerson as a gift.

Friday, March 17, 2023


And another one arrives! This Danish translation of the Manifesto by Mikkel H. and Tore D. landed in my mailbox today (on paper). Tak!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Въстанието на пишещата машина

The latest translation of the Typewriter Insurgency Manifesto comes from Mark G. in Bulgaria. Благодаря ти, Mark!

I have two Bulgarian typewriters in my collection. This one is a 1927 Merz no. 2 from Germany.

And this Rex, also from Germany, is a name variant of the G&O (Graf & Oertel). 
Read more about it here and here.


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Breker catalogue giveaway

The latest catalogue from Auction Team Breker includes just a few common typewriters, but there is much more to delight the heart of anyone who loves the history of technology. It's all printed on nice, slick paper—and it smells good.

Would you like to have it? Be the first to email me a picture of your typewritten mailing address (US only), and it's yours. I will add a note here when it's been given away. — The catalogue has now been claimed.


Wednesday, March 1, 2023

Rage, fury, and a Scriptor

These passages from a letter I received today speak for themselves. If you're seeing this, correspondent, my reply is on its way.