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Typewriters ... Any Interest?


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#1 Dickkooty2

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Posted 18 December 2017 - 02:00

I am accumulating mid-century portables whose design I like or that have an external history.

 

I can't seem to find a low-profile US-made and marketed portable. I have the Royal Safari but it loses by comparison with the others in my list (below), even the Olivetti Valentine. From my design POV at any rate.

 

I welcome suggestions for other models I should have, particularly the US. Typewriter design in the US seems to me to follow auto design of that time: bigger is better for the US buyer.

 

I have 5 Hermes (Swiss) - 1933, '37, '47, '62 Babys ( showing design changes as the classic postwar model developed) and a '62 Rocket, the replacement for the Baby.

 

Erikas a '38 S and a '52 9 (German)

 

Olivetti Lettera 22. '52 (Italian)

 

Olivetti Valentine '60 (?) A red heavy larger portable designed by Ettore Sottsass of Memphis* design group in Milan

 

1 @ ssen TippiGorma KolibriCole-Steel,(German) ... all mid-fifties. The Kolibri was the hidden typewriter in "The Lives of Others" **

 

Brother '62 first low design in the States. Japanese and sold by Monkey-Ward under the Signature 100 label

 

1 Royal Safari '64. Looks like the styling on '50-'60 cars. the blue and white color scheme was on my Chevy BelAir. This is my only US Model.

 

Olympia MS9 early '60s - big and heavy but there is an interesting book *** featuring paintings of the typewriter in various moods. (German) You could pack for a long weekend in its' case.

 

I look forward to amy questions and/or suggestions.

 

Dick

 

*  https://en.wikipedia...i/Memphis_Group

 

**  https://en.wikipedia...Lives_of_Others

 

***  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Story_of_My_Typewriter



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#2 MYU

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 19:47

Did you know that actor/producer Tom Hanks has a thing for collecting typewriters?  Look him up -- there might be some useful info on his collection.

 

A little typewriter trivia: 

JJ Abrams, a renowned movie producer, purchased the old National Typewriter building in Santa Monica California and had it completely refurbished/upgraded, while preserving the original exterior aesthetics (it still says "THE NATIONAL TYPEWRITER COMPANY").


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#3 Mr-Dickens

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 19:57

I've had a couple. I don't have one at the moment. The ribbons are harder to get hold of these days.

I find the laptop easier. That said there is a typewriter shop in Sutton in Surrey or at least there was a few years ago. Maybe I'll see if it's still there next time I'm in town. Here's the link to it. http://www.everestty...ers.co.uk/sales



#4 JakobS

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 20:15

 My collection tends toward the early 20th century, my two Royal Portables being the closest from the 30's, but a few suggestions I think might meet your needs are:

 

Royal Futura

Royal Quiet Deluxe (Standard or Rugged), made throughout the 40's and 50's 

Smith Corona Portable (Standard, Sterling, or Silent (AKA Super Silent))

Underwood Golden Touch

Underwood Quiet Tab 

Smith Corona Electra (One of the first electric typewriters) 


Edited by JakobS, 21 December 2017 - 20:15.

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!For Sale: TBA

#5 dkirchge

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 20:35

I used to have a Royal manual portable typewriter, but I wound up not really using it and gave it away. While I appreciate typewriters, I doubt I'll ever go back to them for serious usage. Pens and paper (or pencils and paper) are cheaper, easier to maintain, much more portable, and a lot quieter when I get the itch to do some writing. Also, I get to keep my cursive in practice that way.


Edited by dkirchge, 21 December 2017 - 20:36.

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#6 MYU

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 20:41

My biggest gripe with typewriters is the intolerance of error.  I type fairly fast, but not with a minimal error rate.  Maybe it's the sloppy habits of modern word processing... where you can bang out content and then easily go back to correct/revise it.  I have one typewriter.  Just for kicks.  But the ribbons are about dried out.  That's another pain.  If I had the kind of funds of Tom Hanks at my disposal, I'd probably have a talented typewriter restorer on call to come maintain and fix my typewriters.  The designs are simply amazing and it's so nostalgically fun to use them.  But not practical... given today's demands of efficiency.


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#7 JakobS

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 21:05

I find that I use my Royal Model 10 desktop more efficiently than my Mac or PC desktop. I dont know why, but I find that a blank screen is harder to start writing with, than a blank piece of paper. Typewriters certainly demand much from a typist, without a dependence on spell, grammar, or auto correct!

Edited by JakobS, 21 December 2017 - 21:09.

FP Ink Orphanage-Is an ink not working with your pens, not the color you're looking for, is never to see the light of day again?!! If this is you, and the ink is in fine condition otherwise, don't dump it down the sink, or throw it into the trash, send it to me (payment can be negotiated), and I will provide it a nice safe home with love, and a decent meal of paper! Please PM me!For Sale: TBA

#8 Studio97

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 01:30

I used to have about 15 old mechanical typewriters just for nostalgic reasons. Ribbons were hard to find. My storage space was too small. Finally gave up my nostalgia over them. And they are noisy. Sold off some and gave away some. But they were cool.

Edited by Studio97, 22 December 2017 - 01:32.


#9 vjones

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Posted 02 January 2018 - 21:39

Gramercy Typewriter is in my town.  I believe it is where Tom Hanks gets his typewriter repaired.  They do sell various reconditioned typewriter models, so maybe they have what you're looking for?   https://youtu.be/MP0t2dKolJs

 

Another link about this store:  https://youtu.be/PFOhyY3l3bM

 

If I ever get my own office or work space (my dream) I'll get a typewriter. 


Edited by vjones, 02 January 2018 - 21:46.


#10 GoldenNibs

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 07:18

I have a small collection of these. Mostly glass key examples. I have to take a look at them again but I know I definitely have a glass sided Royal, Smith Premier with two sets of keyboards one with caps one without. an understrike Underwood, Dupont Green Corona portable, Corona model 3 portable, and I think thats but I might be wrong.



#11 Dickkooty2

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Posted 14 January 2018 - 22:10

I finally realised that I had lost count of what I have, have out for repair/clean,or am waiting for delivery:

 

[url=http://www.fountainpennetwork.com/forum/uploads/imgs/fpn_1515967914__inventory_jan_18.png]fpn_1515967914__inventory_jan_18.png

 

There are two outliers, the Valentine by Ettore Sottsass and the Olympia MS9 accumulated for the book. To make up for this, I bought an Olympia SF --- small!.

 

I am now trying to get advertising and merchandising to back up the sense of time for these portables for further comparison and contrast.

 

If I do get another (gosh, this sounds like pen collecting but with the problems of storage and display). it would be a US private label Nakajima *. Like Brother, Nakajima met US market demand with small, light-weight portables. US manufacturers were making big portables in automobile colors but the market had shifted in preference.

 

* Nakajima ref showing flexibility to produce and market products in changing environments :

 

http://www.nakajima-...you_syareki.htm

 

Go down to the sewing machine



#12 Aquaria

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 13:46

I have too many bad memories of typewriters, particularly from late 70s high school and 1980s college, when we had to type all of our major papers. Then there were those long years working in admin during the 80s and 90s. I have had to put up with all of these things long enough and often enough to write novels about them:

 

The mess of carbon papers

The mess of Liquid Paper (in multiple colors! for the anal color-coding frenzied boss from hell)

Untold days of my life lost to waiting for Liquid Paper to dry

Having to keep Liquid Paper thinner on hand because bosses were too cheap to keep me stocked with it and I had to get every last dreg out of every single bottle of the stuff to correct their "Oh, let's word this differently so I sound less stupid" corrections

Having to correct someone else's typing after that someone else had worn completely through the paper from usage of a "typing eraser," which was no eraser at all, really, but seemed to be an incremental hole-making device created to make an admin's life more difficult. Which meant I had to start over from the beginning and type the whole thing all over again.

 

But those aren't really problems with typewriters, per se, only some of the auxillary problems that come with them. Here are the problems with the typewriters themselves that routinely gave me headaches, back in the day:

 

Messy typewriter ribbons

Tangled typewriter ribbons

Cheap bosses who expected me to REWIND used typewriter ribbons when they were made of cloth and put them through a second use, to save money (if only I were kidding here.) 

Tangled typebars

Chronic tangled typebars

Worn out letters on typebars

Misaligned typebars

Unresponsive keys/typebars

Misaligned typeguides

Typeguides rendered useless from years of Liquid Paper usage by previous users of a typewriter

Off-kilter platens that skew everything you type at a ten degree angle, one way or another

Platen releases that refused to release paper

Platen releases that wouldn't lock down

 

And yet I was still expected to turn out work with typewriters that typically had several of these problems going at once.

 

This was pretty much my opinion of typewriters when I had to use them:

 

:wallbash:

 

And my opinion after over 20 years of not touching one?

 

Not no, but hell no.

 

If someone gave me one, I would literally heave it out the nearest window. And I wouldn't care if said window were open.


Edited by Aquaria, 18 January 2018 - 14:09.


#13 Dickkooty2

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Posted 18 January 2018 - 16:26

Aquaria,

 

True horror stories indeed!

 

My own experience was limited to college in the 50s with a graduation-gift Royal. I would type short stuff myself with type overs or xxx outs. Ok for submission if reasonably readable. I don't think correction fluid had been invented. Fortunately in the small college town were typists who could bat out a key paper faster and better than I could ever hope to... and at some reasonable cost per sheet.

 

At work, even in NYC on Mad Ave in those days, typing was not a requirement ... first the typing pool, then a sec'y. As tech came in, you could dictate into a phone 24 hours a day and have the product on your desk before the end of the day. The introduction of the IBM electric seemed to speed things up immensely.

 

My experiences that came closest to yours were writing a long paper. This involved yellow lined legal pads, #2 Dixon Ticonderoga's, scissors, and plenty of Scotch Tape. Then the problems with typewriters began as I handed it in.

 

Now of course, I type on a wireless keyboard and see the results instanter.

 

So I can look at my typewriters without the bad memories and simply enjoy them as design artifacts.



#14 Inky_paws

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Posted 01 February 2018 - 10:20

Ahh typewriters.

 

Years (decades actually), I was working along a main road here and there in the window of a second hand shop, was a little, grey portable typewriter. I walked in a bought it... then spent a week coercing some life out of the thing. Then I borrowed my Mum's Pitmans Typing course from back when she was a young girl and taught myself to touch type.

 

I wrote a lot on that little typewriter - I've still got it in the linen cupboard (can't get up to see what it is, I've got a Siamese on my lap).

 

Scroll on a few years, lots of paper through that little typewriter, and I was able to sell a short story for full pro rates which gave me enough to buy an electric typewriter with an erase function. I hammered that thing until I got my first computer and the rot started.

 

I pulled the little grey typewriter out of the cupboard a few months back to show my 16 year old daughter. She was fascinated... but not enough to start using it.



#15 Dickkooty2

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Posted 02 February 2018 - 01:40

@inky_paws:

 

I pulled the little grey typewriter out of the cupboard a few months back to show my 16 year old daughter. She was fascinated... but not enough to start using it.

 
Yes, I get bemused smiles from my grandkids. However, one neighbor teen finds typewriters a nice inclusion in her retro-centered interests, ie vintage tee-shirts with long-ago icons.
 
Have you returned to the little gray portable for some paras of submittable prose?
 
A silent mouthed 'meow' to the Siamese.


#16 Inky_paws

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Posted 07 February 2018 - 08:37

I haven't had a play with the old typewriter in years. Funny, word processors really ruin your typing because it really doesn't matter if you hit the wrong key. Can't do that with a typewriter... well, you can, but it gets very frustrating.
 
Said meezer has now had a play with everyone of my writing implements... and not because I let him, the little brute imagines that the world is his and we only borrow bits from time to time.



#17 Dickkooty2

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Posted 08 February 2018 - 20:30

... and a tail of a dog:

http://www.fountainp...1-34/?p=4001267

 

fpn_1518118270__kaloibri_note_and_ruby.j



#18 Dickkooty2

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Posted 13 February 2018 - 23:25

\fpn_1518564241__p1040390_copy.jpg

 

]fpn_1518564429__p1040391_copy.jpg

 

fpn_1518564698__p1040389_copy.jpg

 

A valentine on the 1969 Olivetti Valentine designed by Ettore Sottsass.leader of the Memphis design group of Milan. The back of the typewriter becomes the top of the case, including the handle. Those orange reels are a real punch!

 

https://en.wikipedia...Ettore_Sottsass



#19 Inky_paws

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Posted 14 February 2018 - 06:31

Nice. I'll have to remember to did my old girl out this weekend



#20 shamwari

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 19:53

Another fan here but haven't used my one and only typewriter, an Olivetti Lettera 22, for a long time.  Having tried it just now I'm quite surprised that the ribbon is still inked, both the black and red sections, although it doesn't really show up in the photo.

 

My one was actually manufactured in Great Britain according to the Olivetti name plate on the carriage (hidden by the paper in the picture) and was bought, second-hand, for me by my parents when I was a young kid and we were still in Zimbabwe (or Rhodesia as it then was).

 

Olivetti.JPG

 

Re Tom Hanks, he commissioned an app for the iPad, the Hanx Writer, to replicate as far as is possible on a tablet like the iPad, the look and sound of a typewriter, but, unfortunately, the tactile feedback of the typewriter is sadly missing. 


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