Monday, May 23, 2011

Royal Gravitas

I have been thinking about the Royal Model O that I posted about Sunday evening. I am an unapologetic Royal fan. I have alluded to this before, but it wasn't until the Model O came into the collection that I have really come to an understanding of what makes Royal so special.

Royal, as a company, never set the world on fire with any feature. If the ads that Royal ran in Life are any indication, Magic Margin (after which this blog is named) was their proudest accomplishment. That's a little sad because I have always felt that Royal's margin system was a little over-designed and far from the greatest addition to the world of typewriters. It's more magical if you could figure out how it works. Touch-Control might pop your mind as being something entirely special, but key tension adjustment can be found on many typewriters of the time. It's not the styling that marks them unique. Every industrial designer at Royal must have shopped at the same Brooks Brothers because there is nothing daring about any Royal design. Even when daring is attempted it's done as if someone had suggested that cocktails be served a three instead of four. Scandalous! No there is something else that makes the Royal special.

That "it" factor is gravitas. Royals are weighty. Serious. They are as frivolous as a chartered accountant. You can ever go wrong with a Royal and if you do it's your own fault for not being serious enough. As seen in the advertisement from a 1942 Life, Royal's and serious things like war are synonymous. Would you want some little Smith-Corona or a pipsqueak Underwood doing war business? I don't think so.

Next time you find a Royal in a thrift store, don't discount it because of some fictional (yes, I refuse to believe the problem exists) escapement problems. They are wonderful serious machines.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Model O Gallery

So, the other typewriter that I received this weekend was a beautiful model O. It's in great shape too and even came with the original instruction booklet. (I'll scan it soon.) It works well and has a very small typeface. Enjoy these photos.

Even includes a mint instruction booklet.
Nice decal.

Clean, modern keytops.

My good side.

In situ. 


Saturday, May 21, 2011

New (to me) Royal Portable

Actually, it looks as if it new. Beautiful paint and bright nickel accents makes this machine look very fancy. It's in absolutely pristine condition. This machine came with another Royal portable that I will post later. It also is in great shape.

What's amazing is that there is very little yellowing of the keys. As you can see above, they have stayed uniformly white. Wonderful machine. I think I'll expand this post a little later, but in the meantime I hope you enjoyed the pictures.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The HH in Advertising

If you've read once, you've read a thousand times that I love the Royal Standard HH. Apart from being the most amazing standard desktop machine, it was also the subject of some of Royal's most mid-century advertising. Each one is rife with the subtle sexism of the decade, but it makes them no less enjoyable. So, please enjoy this little gallery.

Pink typewriters improve office morale!

Romancing the Royal.

Is it a little troubling that I want one in each color?

Put an HH on the back of your Vespa and that'll be the end of you.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

It'll Be A Blast!

Yesterday my email account had four RSVPs for the Typewriter Round-Up. So far it looks like we are on-track for almost twice as many as the last event!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Summer Typing

There is no holiday for the typewriter!
As the regular school year winds to a close, the Classroom Typewriter Project winds to a close too. I've started dusting typewriters, taking out ribbons, and packing up the typewriters in their cases. All of this work was going fine until I found out that I was hired for summer school. This means that the machines will get some use in the month of June.

Summer school in our district is credit-recovery, so the class will be filled with Juniors and Seniors who happened to fail the first semester of Junior English. Right now, I have 18 registered and that means we will be nearly 1:1 in terms of typewriters. With this kind of typewriter to student ratio I can start to really construct an idea of how low-performing students can benefit from using a typewriter in class.

There is a type of writing instruction called Writer's Workshop. The idea of this pedagogical approach is to give the students greater freedom in selecting the subjects for their own writing. Academic and creative writing are given equal weight. I think that this is how we will approach writing this summer, but I am going to add the typewriter twist. Workshop does contain a reading component, however when it comes to literature, we will keep it traditional.

The summer might be time off for some, but in my little classroom you will still hear the clack of typebars. I guess I better start unpacking those typewriters.