Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Desert Types: KJZZ Story

Annika Cline of our local NPR station, KJZZ, recorded a very nice piece about typewriting in Arizona. It's a great read that features one of my students getting her very own first typewriter. You can find it at:


This story comes on the heels of the publishing of Richard's new book of which there is a hearty mention of First Draft, Phoenix's local typewriter-friendly venue. If you find yourself in need of a digital detox, grab your typewriter and head on over. Order a drink. Have a chat. Write a draft. Enjoy the nice weather and know that typewriting is alive and well in Phoenix.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Jittery Apostrophe

My Smith-Corona Electric has a problem:

My, what a jittery apostrophe. I think it has something to do with the power-roller. What do you think? Have you had this problem?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Heavy or Light: the KMM Mid-Production

The Rt. Rev. Munk's squiggly photo of
Bill Wahl. http://bit.ly/1LcCUgI
A few weeks ago I was in Tempe picking up some supplies from Tempe Camera. Since I was in the general area, I visited Bill at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange for a few hours.

It was nice to talk about the weather, our respective families, Arizona history, and the Royal KMM.

Among the many Royal standards I have in my collection, this is one that has eluded me. I have been waiting for a long time for a nice example but, there just hasn't been one that I wanted. Actually, I take that back. Early in my collecting experience there was a gentleman in Flagstaff that had a KMM that I wanted, but the price was too high and we could never agree, so I let it go. The superstitious part of me thought that maybe I cursed myself.

What's so special about the KMM? Nothing really except that it's crowning feature is honored in the name of my blog!

Richard Polt's Royal KMM
In reality, it's a fairly common Royal standard. There are people who love them (Richard Polt) and others have generally positive comments about them. I think they are very handsome in the same way that a late-40s QDL is a handsome typewriter. The dark gray finish is classy without the fussiness of a gloss. I have heard that the touch and feel is similar to many of the other Royal standards; very good. It is the quintessential typewriter.

Bill and I were talking about the KMM and in the course of the conversation he asked if I knew about the heavy and light versions. Two versions? I didn't know that there were two versions.

He told me the story. One day long ago when Bill was young man he had two Royal KMMs on the bench. He had to move both of them and noticed that one was very heavy while the other was noticeably lighter. In all honesty light is a relative term. A Royal desktop typewriter has never been known for its portability.

Bill took note of the serial numbers and NOMDA indicated that they were on either side of the 1946/1947 dividing line.

3096000 3273000

Magic Margin's aluminum? bodied Royal HH.
At some point between 1946 and 1947 Royal changed the KMM in some way to make it lighter. I know from experience that my HH has body of a non-ferrous metal as do my KMGs. These are probably aluminum and I would hazard a guess that Royal decided to use an aluminum frame to save money. Perhaps this is what Royal did to the KMM to make it lighter?

Do you have a KMM? What's the serial number? How much does it weigh? I am calling on the Typosphere to help me solve this mystery. I created a Google form (see below) that would let us gather the information in an easy way. It would be really cool to narrow it down and find out how much weight was saved by switching materials. With time and enough data points we could find an answer. We might even find out that this was the beginning of the cost-saving culture at Royal that would lead to the terrible Litton merger. Would it be fair to draw a line form that point all the way back to the 1946/47 KMM? We'll see, but let's find out how much these beast weigh.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The World Changes and a Typewriter Helps

Jamey Boyum of KLTV Chanel 7 in Texas (Just outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth) reports that a typewriter was used to issue the first same-sex marriage licenses in Gregg County.

The story states that Carla Chappell and Angela Lunsford has been waiting three years to get married,  but with the Supreme Court's ruling they were eager to peruse their dream. However, they weren't sure if Gregg county was ready to issue a license. They called and were told that their county, indeed, was ready to issue the necessary document.

But there was a glitch. The software that the county uses wasn't updated for the new license so County Clerk Connie Wade had to make a new one with scissors and tape and a typewriter.

Of course we can all tell that it's an IBM Wheelwriter and from my personal experience a Wheelwriter is the perfect typewriter for filling out forms. In fact, the office has two typewriters.

So here we are in the 21st century and a typewriter was an important part of making a love story come true. It makes me happy to be a typewriter collector.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

6th Phoenix Type-In Raffle Results

Here are the winners:


Jordan was on hand to claim his typewriter, but the others are still out there completely unaware of their typewriter bounty. The remaining three can pick up their typewriters at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange. If you have a feeling like you might be the Kama, Laura, or Henry mentioned, email me at tryanpa@cox.net and we'll sort it out.

Thanks to everyone who entered. Thanks to Eric and Ted who donated the typewriters for the raffle. I also know that Changing Hands also thanks you for your support.

Some Thoughts and Thanks About the 6th Phoenix Type-In

If you didn't make it out to the 6th Phoenix Type-In at Changing Hands you missed a great event. There were more people than ever interested in getting behind the keyboard of a typewriter. I thought it was fantastic to meet so many new people and hear their typewriter stories. 

We had a few new events that we never tried. First, was a speed typing competition arranged and organized by Jake Fisher. Jake printed out the typing assignment and really did a lion's share of the work on this event. About 5 people participated and it was a great time. Brian won the competition on his beautiful blue Selectric. He was worried that there might be a Mark Maguiresque asterisk next to his name because of his performance enhancing typewriter. But as the event was all in good fun no one begrudged him his place on the rostrum. Newcomer Rose came in second. Tori came in third. 

Second, we also had some great door prizes; four typewriters donated by Eric and Ted. I'll do a follow-up post with the names of the winners and information on how they can claim their typers.

Chanel 5 was on had to cover some of the event.

It was a lot of fun

I do want to take some time out to thank all the people who made the 6th Phoenix Type-In a success. Changing Hands has been a partner in the planning of this event. They offer the space and are so very supportive of interesting and fun things. We've held type-ins at a number of locations and by-far Changing Hands has been the most accommodating and the most excited to host us. Walt at Changing Hands was a huge help and very supportive. Thanks Cindy and Walt. I also must thank the Rt. Rev. T. Munk. I met Ted at the first Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up and Type-In at Hulu's and he was an early supporter of the Phoenix typewriter scene. If you haven't found his blog or the new, improved, and vastly better Typewriter Database you are missing out on some great internet. Go there now. Eric Jaros was kind enough to offer typewriters for the raffle. Bill Wahl was there for the first type-in and I am happy to count him as a friend. Bill spreads the word about all the type-ins to his customers and I think that more than half of the attendees knew about it from him. Thanks Bill

One final note. I didn't take nearly enough photos, but I'll include the few that made it to my Instagram feed. If you would like to follow you can find me at @tryanpa 

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Type-In Today!

Today (May 23rd), from 1-4, is the 6th Phoenix Type-In at Changing Hands on Camelback Rd. Come by and enjoy some beautiful typewriters.

You can read more about it here:


and here:


We plan on having some great things this year including:

  • A typewriter clinic with Bill Wahl from the Mesa Typewriter Exchange. Bill will be on-hand to give his professional opinion about your typewriter.

  • Jake Fischer, the typewriter wunderkind, will be holding a speed typing competition which may include fabulous prizes.

  • A special exhibit of The Typewriters of Mad Men. You can see, in person IBM Selectrics and a small collection of typewriters featured on the show. 

  • A chance to win a typewriter. Just put your First Draft receipt in the box and you can win one of three fantastic, beautiful, mid-century typewriters.