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Showing posts from December, 2010

Typewriters in the Movies

My wife and I went to the movies (a rare occurrence with a year old at home) to see The King's Speech with Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth. It was a wonderful movie. There is a scene where Geoffrey Rush's character, Lionel Logue, is seen using an Oliver.

Another movie, while not specifically about typewriters, is about the conflict between the modern and the traditional. Spenser Tracy and Katharine Hepburn are hilarious in Desk Set (1954). Hepburn plays a reference librarian for a major television studio and Tracy is a computer scientist. When Tracy's character is hired to computerize the office, Hepburn's character matches wits and ultimately falls in love with the computer scientist. It is definitely a comedy film, but it crystallizes a time in the history of human experience when a paradigm was about to change. The digital age was gaining momentum and would soon change everything.

New Old Stuff

I have been enjoying the post-Christmas bliss so much that I haven't posted anything, but that is soon to change. I have a number of things in the queue, so check back soon!

On Monday a dozen new old stock Eberhard Faber typewriter erasers arrived in the mail. I am unsure of their age, but the rubber is still soft and pliable. They are a beautiful green with fun little brushes on the end. I would love to share the joy of these erasers so I am willing to give away 6 of them. Drop me a line (typed is always appreciated) at and I'll send you an eraser. With these little denial-sticks 2011 will be mistake-free.

Fact: Santa Prefers Royals

I hope there is a typewriter under your Christmas tree. Happy Holidays!

Phoenix Type-In March 5th

Thanks to Dana from Hula's for being willing to host this event!

UPDATE: Sorry for the confusion. I have corrected the image above with the correct date. We are still a go for March 5th.

Save the Date!

If you are a Phoenix-area resident or are going to be in the valley, please join us for an afternoon of typewriter fun on March 5th, 2011! I will bring several of my favorite machines. Email me at if you are interested in attending.

The Most Beautiful Typewriter

When the Olympia arrived in the mail, I immediately wanted one for myself. I began the process of looking for a light blue SM3. Surprisingly, I was able to to find one here in Phoenix in an identical color. It really is a very attractive typewriter. I thought this was, perhaps one of the most beautiful typewriters in the world. The color is blue like a summer sky. The chrome shines even on the grayest of days. The gentle lines are at once playful and very serious. It is a joy to look at.

But as lovely as the Olympia is, there's only one typewriter that I think truly deserves the moniker of "The Most Beautiful Typewriter" and that is the Olivetti Studio 42 designed in 1935. I know many will disagree with me. I would love to hear the disagreements.

I  do not have an Olivetti Studio 42, but I dream of owning one. If I found this machine (in good condition) I would stop collecting. It's that special.

To assist in proving that the Olivetti Studio 42 is "The Most Beaut…

Student Typecasts Pt. IV

Juan had this to say about typewriters.

Last Day of Finals

As today is the last day of finals I have to start packing away the ribbons for the typewriters. If I leave them out they will, of course, dry out a little too much. Right now I have cobbled together enough spools and ribbons to serve all 10 of the machines in the room. I want to get new ribbons for all the machines sometime this break. It'll be a bit pricey, but I think it will make the machines more useable. I'm going to do a summary of the semeter in typewriting and detail some of my plans for the future of the project.

Even though the semester is ending, I'll still be thinking about typewriters (much to the chagrin of my family) and working on a few projects. I haven't forgot about the DCC (Digital Carbon Copy) Project yet, I need a few bits and pieces and I'll be able to work on that some more.

In the typosphere, Philly Type-In has quickly become the big typewriter story of the moment. I'm sure a similar yet Phoenix-themed version of this event would be po…

Olivetti Ivrea

I came across this interesting photo set of the Olivetti factory in Ivrea taken around 1970. I have no idea what they are making, I am sure that a typewriter is in there somewhere. The pictures are amazing and have a wonderfully grainy composition. The photos offer a glimpse behind the svelte lines and carefully crafted industrial design of Olivetti.

I've never have used an Olivetti, but if I find one I'm sure that these pictures will come to mind.

Typecast From the Front Part III

Today, we have another typecast from Jonathan.

Olympia SM-3 Pic

Today I found a few moments to snap a picture of the blue Olympia. Our office is decorated in a very 50s style, so this typewriter looked right at home.

I went to the hardware store and bought some small rubber washers to replace the original squashed frame bushings. Such a small repair made the world of difference. I want to go through and clean all the eraser dust (there is enough in there to make a new eraser) and play around with the shift in hopes to make it lighter. It's a wonderful machine with a smooth action. I'm excited to see some reactions to it.

Typecast From the Front Part II

Yesterday Enrique shared his views. Richard commented that the spelling and typing were very good. I would have to agree. Today, we will be hearing from Zaul, also in my 5th period. I have gone ahead and enhanced the images using GIMP rather than wasting time rescanning each page. This sould be much more readable.

The Olympia Has Arrived

When I came home from work I was greeted with a box. In this box was the new Olympia. After a little cleaning-up it looks wonderful. It's a nice heavy typewriter. I'll post a few pictures and a little commentary sometime later tomorrow.

Typecast From the Front

Enrique's response to "What do you like about using the typewriters in class?"
EDITORIAL: I apologize for the quality of this scan. I intend to rescan it as soon as possible. The paper on which it is written is not, in fact, gray.

Digital Carbon Copies

Although typewriters do consume a fair amount of my time I do have other hobbies. I am an ardent Halloween decorator. I am a licensed amateur radio operator (KC7RZR). I love vintage television programs. I also dabble in programming microcontrollers (especially the Arduino).

I am always trying to find ways to marry my interests. This can be difficult but I have a cunning plan. I've been wanting to build a better (for me) version of the USB typewriter. Jack Zylkin has created a kit to convert your typewriter into a USB keyboard. This is really cool. The heart of the system is an Arduino microcontroller (an Amtel chip with a custom bootloader). I, however, do not just want a keyboard for my computer. I actually don't want to connect the typewriter to my computer at all. What I want is a way to create digital carbon copies of what I type. This would be a smart typewriter. I prefer typing onto paper, but sometimes I want to make duplicates and the computer is a perfect way of stori…

The Young Truth

The Weekly Inventory (which at this rate should be renamed The Often As I Can Inventory) has been returned, tabulated, and analyzed. So far, the data has been supporting my view that typewriters are still a useful tool in the classroom and that many high school students will use one if given the opportunity.Is this any surprise? Anecdotal examples are all around. Tom Furrier, by way of his interesting blog, says that he has noticed that a trend has become a movement. Matt, a 16 year old in Massachusetts, has his own typewriter-centric blog called Life in Typewriterdom that is clearly a source of author's pride. Typewriters are not just for crusty old journalists or the social contrarian.

I could go on and on about how much the inventories support this information. For example, 100% of 53 students who use a typewriter in my classes "enjoy using the machine" and find that they "feel their writing has more meaning" when they use a typewriter. I could mention that…

New Data Set

Today I collected a new set of inventories and I am working on analyzing the data. There is an interesting mass on the horizon. I'll have a bit more information later today.

I have been a little scant on the classroom component of this blog, so for those of you interested in that will find plenty to chew over the weekend.

Olympian from the West

I love it when Greek mythological allusions make it into products. I am thinking, of course, of Zeus' messenger; Hermes. He is the winged sandal-wearing trouble-maker. Our Hermes, however, has never caused an ounce of trouble. But there is a new member for our typing pantheon winging its way across the United States.

An Olympia SM-3 (from an anonymous donor) is on its way to Phoenix (more Greek mythology). The donor was a student at ASU in Tempe (as in Vale of Tempe) in the late 70s. This particular machine is a blueish color with all the wonderful chrome bits and pieces. I think it is a really pretty machine.
 I am excited to finally have an Olympia in the collection. I have never used one and there have been some requests for more European machines. We'll see what condition this one is in and if I need to do a few tweaks. There are some bits I have been reading about rubber bushings that might need to be replaced.

I am also proud that this is my Diamond post. 60 is the large…