Friday, July 27, 2012

Central Phoenix Typewriter Hunting

Being a teacher you are on your feet all day. With all that standing I tend to wear through a pair of shoes in the course of one school year. Almost every summer I have to take my shoes down to my regular cobbler and have them resoled. Fun shoe fact: the Prince of Wales has had the same pair of black oxfords made by John Lobb of St. James for the past 40 years. He keeps having them patched and shined and they'll last a lifetime. But, enough about shoes.

While I was in the area I thought it would be nice to go to a few antique stores and see what I could find in the way of typewriters. I didn't find much, and what I did find was pretty boring, but it was fun hunting none-the-less.







The only bright spot was finding this Gestetner duplicator. I have no idea what it would take to get it working, but it was in nice shape and only $65. There seems to be a large plasticized canvas sheet that has disintegrated with time. Perhaps it keeps the stencil stretched taught over the drums. I have no idea even where you would get the parts to make it work. But if you could it would be fun. Repeat-O-Type has inks and stencils. Anyway, here it is:



Monday, July 23, 2012

I Just Noticed


The right knob. Probably newer.

The left knob. Probably original.

1926-1927 Royal 10

Friday, July 20, 2012

Typewriters are Everywhere

Mrs. Magic Margin is much more observant than me. She notices patterns that I think are just noise and coincidence. She has saved me more than once when I have glossed over a detail. So, it was no surprise when she leaned over to me while we were out seeing Moonrise Kingdom that typewriters are everywhere.

Example the First
Garnier BB face cream is for people who care about their face. I have always considered mine nothing remarkable, so commercials about this type of product fly over my ever-increasingly bald head. But, on the advice of Mrs. Magic Margin, I went to the Internet and found this commercial. It's the usual "make your face fresh" sort of stuff, but there is a typewriter in the last 1/4 of the commercial. It isn't a plot point or anything important, but it is a typewriter. You can plainly see from the two screen grabs below:



Example the Second
The Perks of Being a Wallflower has been in print for some time. It has just recently been turned into a feature film. (Fun fact: Chbosky wrote the novel and directed the film) I have never read it, but Mrs. Magic Margin says that it's a good book. The protagonist is shy and an aspiring writer and it's gospel that shy and aspiring writers need a typewriter. You can see from this still where Emma Watson (Harry Potter) and Logan Lerman (Hoot, Percy Jackson & the Olympians) are standing in front of a very nice Royal portable. However, the case is all wrong for the model. The prop master should have consulted with a Typospherian first.


Furthermore, the title is rendered in a typewriter-inspired typeface.


Example the Third
Now, I couldn't find any pictures for this third Proof, but the soon-to-be-released film, The Words has typewriters, original typewritten manuscripts, and literary theft. It's portrayed as a romantic drama about an author who finds a manuscript and plagiarizes the story as his own. As his literary celebrity increases, so does the price of stealing someone story. There are typewriters there too.

I could go on and on about the Pottery Barn catalog that features a Hermes Ambassador, or other examples, but you get the idea.

A Summation
What is going on here? What is the deal?

I think I have an answer. It's us. It's the Typosphere. Through our blogs, and type-ins, and articles, and documentaries we have brought the typewriter out of the dusty closets, musty basements, and stifling attics. We've started to make typewriters important; perhaps even more important than they were during the height of their use.

Regardless, it's a great time to be a typewriter collector.

Let's keep it up until typewriters are everywhere!



Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bill M., You Rock!

Whenever I verge on the edge of rude, the ghostly presence of Great-Nana Magic Margin descends from her ethereal plane to slap me up-side the head. I have meant and meant to post this thank-you to Bill M. a new donor to the Classroom Typewriter Project, but I have been derailed by Scientific keyboards and other little activities. 

Bill sent a very clean Japanese Olympia and a customized Royal Companion. The Olympia is a mate to one we have in the classroom. These snappy little typewriters are popular with students who are new to typewriters. They have a more modern look and a feel that is good for novice and expert typers alike. The Royal-- like all the other Royals-- will be loved and used. I am sure there will be some interest in the unique paint scheme.

Now, I have some shame and time and it's about time that Bill be recognized for some good old-fashioned thoughtfulness. Bill shipped these typewriters to Phoenix all on his own dime (as I am a teacher and very much out of dimes, nickels, or other form of pecuniary remuneration). It's his kind of kindness that gets these typewriters into the hands of students. And you know, there are other teachers out there looking to better the lives of students through non-digital writing. Think about sending someone a typewriter. They will appreciate it!

So, it's time I banish Great-Nana Magic Margin's ghost and say thank you to Bill. You rock!

Here are a few pictures:




Wednesday, July 11, 2012

An DHIATENSOR Phoenix

Ok, so it's a very early version and I have already had some ideas on how to make a modern DHIATENSOR keyboard better, but this is the keymap bundle that you can use to turn your modern keyboard into George's Dream.

Right now, its only for MacOS X, but I am looking into the possibility of making this map available for Windows and Linux. Perhaps there will even be an Android version (Apple will not let you change the keyboard)...but I get ahead of myself. 

To install the keymap, drag the bundle file "DHIATENSOR.bundle" (link at the bottom of this screen) to the "/Library/Keyboard Layouts" in either your home folder on on the system library. If you copy the file to just your home folder you will be the only one able to use the layout. If you copy the file to the system Library folder, everyone who uses your computer will have access to the layout. Drag the file to the correct folder and logout (Home folder Library) or restart (system Library).

Login and go to the "Language & Text" pane in "System Preferences" application. Select the "Input Sources" tab. Scroll down to DHIATENSOR (it has a small Blick 5 next to it) and check the box. Close "System Preferences"

In the upper-right-hand side of the screen you will see the flag for your keyboard. Click on that flag and select "DHIATENSOR."



You will now be using the very very proof-of-concept version of a modern DHIATENSOR. I tried it on my Apple aluminum keyboard and it works well. Mrs. Magic Margin's MacBook also seems to function with the layout. Here is a reference illustration:


Please do not use this in any sort of nuclear facility or in a situation where people's lives may be in peril. Neither George nor I want that on our consciences.

The problem with this method is that your keyboard still has the hated, inefficient QWERTY layout. If you have a model M laying around it's easy to switch the keytops around. Other keyboards pose more of a struggle. I have some ideas and I will save them for later. If you can try it, let me know how it works for you.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Copper-Clad Ambassador: It's Mostly Done

So, here is the result of some hard work. I did not have the strength to disassemble the carriage to paint it, so that might be another project entirely. In case you are curious about the paint, I used a copper-colored Hammerite. I think it was Krylon. I could check if you were very interested.





Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hermes Ambassador Pictorial

I have been working on the Hermes Ambassador renovation. I had originally intended to make it a Silver Surfer, but due to the variety of metals (both steel and aluminum) and the difficulty in making steel shine with mirror-perfection I decided to take a different tack.

Using the verdigris color of Hermes' typewriters as inspiration the Ambassador will look very different.

However, that is for another post. What I have here are a smattering of pictures of the base of this incredibly complicated typewriter. The carriage and all the shrouds have been removed for the important work, but this offers a rare glimpse inside the mechanism of this dual-ribbon monster.

Please enjoy.









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