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Showing posts from 2011

Happy Holiday!

Magic Margin is now Taking Applications

The Typegrant Application is available right now! Just click on the Typegrant button on the right and you will be transported to a PDF you can print off, fill in, and send to:

Magic Margin Typegrants c/o Ryan Adney Alhambra High School 3839 West Camelback Road Phoenix, AZ 85019
This grant is open to all high school students currently enrolled in a comprehensive high school in the continental United States. There are four typewriters available, two of which are reserved for Arizona applicants.

Just A Couple of Things

This post is more of an update on several parallel activities happening at Magic Margin rather than new content. It has been a rather busy build-up to the holiday season. 

I am putting the finishing touches on the Typegrant application form. If I can get a few minutes on the computer, I'll post it tonight. As it stands the application is about two pages long. It's not a remarkably difficult application process and should only take a few minutes to fill out. I don't want to make the entire thing unduly difficult.

The first Typegrant application deadline is scheduled for March 2nd, 2012. The grants are open to any high school student currently enrolled in a four-year high school and on-track to graduation. 

There are four typewriters that I am in the process of getting cleaned up and ready to give away. I have set aside a Smith-Corona Sterling, an SCM Classic 12, a '50s Royal QDL, and the Hermes 2000 for Typegrant awardees. I think that this small collection represents a…

A Salvo Into the Fortress of Hipsterdom

UPDATE: As you can see I have completely sold out of typewriters. The experiment proves that, with a reasonable price, a nice typewriter sells itself on Etsy. I have a few more that I plan on offering, but I want to get these other ones sipped out before I do. It's been a crazy few days. My prices were a little on the high side and they still sold. However, my prices are more than 1/2 of the nearest competitor. Now I have more than enough money for Typegrant ribbons.

Maybe it's my imagination, but Etsy has been largely ignored by the Typosphere. The boutique prices  seem to be the major detraction. However, I think that an over-priced market is a great place to introduce a lower-priced alternative. That's why I went ahead and set up an Etsy Shoppe (old-timey spelling intentional). I've priced the three typewriters lower than any comparable typewriter on the site. That still makes them much more expensive that I would have normally spent in thrift stores and the like. W…

Facit-nating Turn of Events

Last night I got another email message from Eric saying that he found 9 more typewriters in the back of the storage unit. I was floored. My mind started imagining fantastic impossibilities. Silver Sterlings. Gold-plated Royals. Lamberts. Odells. Sheer madness.

When Eric dropped of the machines I was a little more realistic, but still excited to find a few machines I have never had the chance to see in person. The one that caught my eye was this little Facit TP1.

Having never used one, I was in for a suprise. It's an absolutely lovely little machine. All metal and very rugged. The looks are modern and understated.

I love the detail of the name across the back. Robert has gone into more detail than I could every attempt (, but there was one surprise lurking in this little Swede. See if you can guess it. 

So, while you try to solve the mystery, I am going to find a place to put all these typewriters. Enjoy these …

Plan and Preview

The idea what to do with all these machines has really started me thinking. Sure, I could keep them in the classroom collection, but that would only impact my students. I want to share the love of typewriters with many people. That's why I have decided to create a new program called Typegrant. Typegrant is designed to get typewriters into the hands of creative young people. While the application process is still in development, a student under the age of 18 can apply to receive their own beautiful typewriter. Each one will be completely working and filled to the brim with ribbons, paper, and Ko-Rec-Type correction tabs. This machine will be their to keep. Exciting, no?
I will be working out the details over the weekend and hope to have a completed application and plan in the next few days. In the interim, please enjoy these pictures form the Eric Lawson donation!

Things are Happening!

A Type-u-copia

Typewriter Gifts

A Little Organization Goes a Long Way

I took some time to dust my home collection and I thought that some people might enjoy a look at how I have them displayed.

These are just the home machines. The ones at school make for the sum total of the collection. I really like this IKEA shelf (Expedit) because each cube is the perfect size for a typewriter.

Typewriter Activities: Part III

For those of you just popping in, I have put together 5 activities for teachers to use typewriter in a classroom setting. This is number 3 of 5. So, please excuse all the education lingo. 
Response Zine
This is my favorite activity so far. I like it so much that I am going to use it when we get to Romanticism (in a few days). It’s such a great thing to see student-made publications. When it comes to examples there thousands of good (and school-appropriate) zines yo could bring for inspiration. Look in your own community. I am sure you’ll find something.

Supplies Needed 
Several typewriters
Access to a Xerox machine
Saddle stapler
Old magazines
Zine introduction slideshow*

Set-Up Steps 
1. Have the Zine presentation queued up and ready to go.
2. Arrange your desks into groups of four.
3. Put all the supplies the students might need on group desk.
4. Set up a “binding station” on a table or desk somewhere in the room.

Activity Overview 
By creating a Zi…

Typewriter Activities: Part II

Typing Discussion (Silent Discussion with Typewriters) As an activity, this one is pretty easy to do. The only challenge is that you need to keep your class silent for the discussion. What do I mean by this? Read to find out more: Supplies A number of questions for whatever you’re teaching. (Hint: try to have questions that require a longer answer. “Who is Paine’s audience in ‘The Crisis’”? is a fair question, but “How does Paine use pathos to persuade his audience?” is a better question.)1 typewriter per question.Pieces of paper.Larger pieces of paper (legal or tabloid would be great). Set-Up Steps Write one question on each of the larger pieces of paper. Make the question clear and easy to read.Set up the typewriters at stations where they are relatively far apart.Type each question on a sheet of paper.Load those sheets (with the typed questions) into the typewriters. Have the typewriter read to go.Post the questions on the larger sheets of paper above the corresponding typewriter. Instru…


While I am working on the description of the next classroom typewriter activity, I thought you might enjoy some pictures of the newest machine to enter my private collection.

As you can see it is a pre-war Royal Arrow made for the US Navy. I have no idea what kind of service record this little typewriter had, but it did serve for some time in the Oregon Civil Defense.

The odd keyboard layout is one clue to the unique nature of this typewriter. The other clue to its specialness is the type style.

Sans-serif, with a slashed 0 is the hallmark of a "Radio Mill" typewriter. This machine was used to transcribe messages sent over wireless.


It boggles my mind to even think about what kind of messages this typewriter typed. There is definitely some history there.

The light white-gray paint was so dirty and grimy that the machine looked yellow. It was shockingly filthy, but the dirt created a protective layer ensuring that the paint, when clean, would look new.

Typewriter Activities: Part I

This is the first of five blog posts focusing on how a teacher can use a typewriter to enhance classroom activities. Most of these strategies are really modifications of existing best-practices.

I’ll start with an activity that has a huge visual impact. it’s called “The Never-ending Story.”
This activity relies on a variation of the big roll of paper that you may have seen mentioned in various corners of the Typosphere.

A manual typewriter (desktop models work well for this).
A very large roll of paper or a significant amount of continuous-feed paper.
A hanger.
3 or 4 binder clips.
Something long, thin, and heavy..a metal ruler would be good. Be creative.

Set-Up Steps
1. Find a nice, safe place where you can set up the typewriter and have the paper feed easily.
2. Hang the hanger from the ceiling above the typewriter. You can jimmy it into the false ceiling of your classroom.
3. Feed the paper to the typing-ready position.
4. Think of a basic conflict for a story.
5. Star…

A Typewriter is a Mental Restorative

Having Blog, Blog Not, and Having Fingers, Type Not

Up-To-Date Textbooks

Well, it would be up-to-date in 1963. I was given this book along with a plethora of other things. My other hat at Alhambra is advising the Newspaper and Yearbook staff. Publishing and design has come a long way and I could not imagine making a yearbook in a pre-digital manner. However, I would be willing to give it a try.

What interested me about this book was the section about "Other typesetting machines." The Varityper, of course, is pictured, but there is another machine I have never heard of. I wonder how it works?

How To: Cleaning Wrinkle Paint

You either love wrinkle paint or you put up with it hoping that a machine in shiny black comes your way. I happen to love the finish. It's very rugged, hides a myriad of metalwork sins, and can come in some very sober and serious colors. As great as I think this paint is, it is a magnet for dirt, grime, and crud. Dirt invariably make its way into the wrinkles and makes your typewriter look tired and grungy. However, the innate ruggedness of the paint makes it easy to clean. This is the process I use. Your mileage may vary. 
To start with you need some simple supplies. A couple of soft cloths, a small Tupperware container, a household laundry detergent without dyes or perfume, an old toothbrush, a utility spray bottle, and a blue Olympia SM3 (or whatever you happen to have). As with the other How-To, I recommend you dust/wet-dust your typewriter first. It takes a minute and "Water is the best solvent."

This process assumes that your typewriter is clean on the inside. There …

Harlequin Creature

School is out for October break. We have been school-less since Monday. Our school district makes us go back to school a week earlier than everyone else so we can fit in the break mid-October. It's nice to be out of the classroom when the weather is this nice. Projects are getting done. Halloween decorations are up. Other hobbies are indulged.

I opened my email to find a letter from Nicole Ray, the talented Ann Arbor artist who made the banner for Magic Margin. She ran into a young woman, called Meghan, who is also doing something interesting with typewriters. She has a blog called Harlequin Creature. Her web site is the virtual counterpoint to a literary journal of the same name.

What makes this journal interesting is that every copy is hand typed. Meghan shares the work in small groups called "typing bees." The idea is similar to the quilting bee; people gather to complete a shared task. It is an exceptionally novel idea.

From what I can gather, the first edition is pl…