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Showing posts from October, 2012

Typewriters for Good: David Abraham and the Perkins

UPDATE: I seem to have forgotten a section I typed about the Foundation Writer. You will find more about this Brailler below.

Robert's fantastic post about the Hall typewriter really inspired this post. The question I had was simple; are there any tactile typewriters on this campus? My first phone call was to Aileen, the Vision Specialist department chair. She said there are two students who use Braillers in-class and several other machines stationed around campus.
This morning I took a few minutes to stop by and see these interesting type-writers. Eve, one of the teachers who instructs students on their Braining, gave me a brief tutorial on how the machine works and some of the features it has.
In the short time I was working with these machines I realized how similar and how different they are to regular sighted typewriters. Simultaneously they are familiar and foreign.
Before I talk more about their operation I should talk about the brand of Brailler Alhambra students use. …

Olivetti Everywhere

No doubt you have seen notagain's fantastic British-made Olivetti M44. Someone described it as looking like a coating of marzipan had been draped over the frame. I couldn't agree more. If you look at an Olivetti you can see the hours that went into desginging the product. They were the Apple of their day.
My mind then turned to my own Olivetti.


The operation is still plagued by the clicking pawls and when I have more than a few moments, I'll give them a closer look.
I tried to find some more information about this typewriter, the internet is silent. What I can find seems to repeat the same information over and over; it's electric and it came with an optional carbon ribbon attachment. I like the Italian name for a carbon ribbon; Carbongrafica.
There are a few advertisments from the era that give a sense to the size and heft of this typewriter.


 The cantilevered keyboard that you can see on the front of the Lexicon 80E is replicated in the Praxis.

Olivetti's design …

Understanding an Underwood

This is the only Underwood that I have in my home collection and I can't say that I love the touch right now. There is something gumming up the typebar. In reality I can only type about 10 words per minute, but the few bars that are free seem very responsive. The platen is shameful, but I expect that at nearly 77 years old, you wouldn't be tip-top anymore.

You're right, Typecast Ryan. This little typewriter has some classic lines.
I know that Underwood was thinking that having the touch selector move up for a lighter touch and down for a softer touch was a  stroke of genius. Sorry, boys. Up should be more tension. Down should be less tension. Be equating the switch with the sensation tends to mix up me up considering Underwood is alone in this nuttiness.




On a final note, wouldn't The Typebar be a cool name for a vintage-inspired watering hole? Drink names would be fun. I would suggest you try a Dry Ribbon, a Pitted Platen, or the Segmented Shift.

4.6 Million Words...Maybe

So, it's good news for the typewriters and the students, but bad news for my Netflix Poirot addiction. Yes, I am a mystery nerd. I will let my students make a decision about their own work, but I will be sharing my progress on this very blog. I can say that I am more than a little nervous. Also, as you can see by the badge, I am in the youth-y version of NaNo.

Shift

I had finished all my work for the day and I started walking around my classroom looking at all the typewriters on shelves. My eye was drawn to the lowly shift key. So much depends on the shift. A new sentence cannot begin without it. Passions are expressed with shift. The greatest questions of our lives are echoed only with the shift key. 

A shift in perception.

Graveyard shift.

Leftist shift.

Paradigm shift.

A comfortable shift.

Clearly a shift to the right.

Remington 12 Typeface

So, there were requests that I share the typeface from the newest typewriter in my collection. It's not exotic or exciting, but I like it. I even make a shopping list today on this very machine.



A Little Elbow Grease Makes All The Difference

The Remington Standard No. 12 is not an especially collectable typewriter. You can find them all over the place and this one (BZ73012) is from 1926. As you can see it was also pretty dirty. 

The styling is not exactly modern. The decals have a very non-1920s look to them, but Remington stuck with this design for many years. In fact, it was in production for nearly a decade. Keeping the styling of a product for 10 years is a little odd, especially for our modern consumer society. I digress. Interestingly, some 12s still featured the right-hand return, but this version featured a left-handed return.
There was dirt caked everywhere. 

The platen is rubbish. I need to either get it recovered or try Richard's shrink-tubing trick.

Is that a bug? It wouldn't be the first I ever found in a typewriter. After looking at the layers of dirt I was willing to spray it down on the side of the house. The weather was warm and the sun was out, so I had little fears of the thing rusting too badl…

No Magic Margin for You!

The drab grey exterior is not exactly charming. It's pretty institutional, but from Remington's advertising department it was nothing short of revolutionary.

This particular model is the Super-Riter. Being the grown-up version of the entire Remington line it had all the gadgets you would expect from a typewriter of this caliber; full tabulator, touch select, snappy response, and even a type bar un-jammer. There is one thing missing. The margin set is not automatic. You must reach behind the paper table and use the margin set tabs. Not a terrible inconvenience, but certainly not one you would expect to see in a full-featured desktop typewriter. I looked around at American machines from the 50s and found that the automatic set margin was pretty common.
Obviously, there's Royal:

and Smith-Corona:

Underwood was a little different with their font-set marginal stops, so they don't count.
This begs the question; Why do Royal and Smith-Corona typewriters have fancy margin set…