Monday, June 23, 2014

Typewriter Day 2014


My Typewriter Day contribution is this Polaroid print with an assist from me. Typed on a Royal HH. The typewriter pictured is my Olympia SG-1.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Typing to the Stars

In addition to the Brother XL-800 that was dropped on my doorstep several weeks ago, I also received a plastic wedge.



We all have been given these by people who want to unload some junk. They are good machines for a purpose, but hardly collectible. There are a few that are interesting.



They might have lines that suggest a harsh modern future where everything was a little Bang and Olufsen.



Or they might have an LCD display.



Such was the situation with this typewriter.


It's none other than a Canon Typestar 5. An ultra-thin battery operated wedge that hosts two different typefaces, automatic centering, a correction system, and a novel thermal transfer printhead that works on standard office paper. Pretty swanky technology for the period. Alas, this one was missing both knobs and I was forced to make new ones out of Instamorph. My knobs look a little like albino jujubes, but they do the job. Originally there were flatter and matched the body color more closely.

This machine comes from a time that I readily remember. I come across one of these plastic wedges and I am immediately transported to the Electric Avenue section of Montgomery Wards. It's as if I had my own Midwest time machine powered by casseroles and Jello-molds.  It was a wonderland of word processors, computers, and electronic typewriters. These gleaming bits of consumerism were stacked in rows on neat and tidy shelves. It was a sight to behold.


What is it like to type on? It's like a computer. It feels digital. You feel removed front he typing act. At the end of the digital line the carriage zips across and prints a line. It's quiet and efficient and completely devoid of romance. I don't care for it at all.


Everything about this typewriter smacks of gadgetry. It's a fun little gadget to impress people, but can you use it for any length of time? I know that I rather use a good old mechanical machine, but it is fun to play around with something outside my collecting range.

The really interesting thing about Canon is that there is an interesting similarity between that company and Brother. I'll share more about that later. Now, I have to find a place for this thing. Luckily it it pretty small.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

I Just Flew In


This faux-feathered intrepid traveller arrived in my mailbox carrying a letter. Kid Magic Margin named him Eugene Onegin (after the character in Pushkin's poem). Why Eugene? Why not? He does look like a plastic pigeon dandy; a fancy fowl.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Rogues Gallery

Here are some pictures of typewriters that have gained notoriety in my classroom. This comes, mostly, from their erratic behavior and unique dispositions.


Paper-Eater McGill
Known to really curl and rip your paper. Only attacks on even-number days.


Terence "One-Knob" Oaks
Even with the set-screws nice and snug, the knob falls off. Usually on a carriage return.


Kaiser Drag
Once a fortnight you must tighten the carriage return arm.


The $10 Man
$10 for a tub of Instamorph made loading paper much easier.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Canadian Outpost

It looks like a fellow-traveller Derek Beaulieu has set up a cell in the Great North. Welcome my cold, Canadian friend.

Screenshot from Typewriter Heaven

Derek, a poet by trade, started using typewriters in his creative writing course. Apart from the physical similarities to Derek (baldness, facial hair, awesome glasses) he works with older students in a college environment and my students are the victims of the severe social-economic disparity that is endemic to the inner-city. Other than that, the goal is the same; challenge students to write. It's a beautiful thing to see this kind of inspiring work spreading. So, if you hear of kids and typewriters, send me a link or two. I would love to see them.

On a final note, we do look a little alike…




Saturday, March 15, 2014