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Typewriters?
Old 06-15-2015   #1
KoNickon
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Typewriters?

Considering that many of us appear to love older technology (e.g. bicycles, fountain pens, mechanical watches), are any of you users/collectors of manual typewriters? There are many similarities with all-mechanical cameras, and so I have to think it's a natural fit.

For my part, I've discovered the goodness and precision of the Olympia machines (made in Germany), though there are a lot of nice machines out there. Some of the best were made right here in Hartford -- Underwoods and Royals.

What do you have, and what do you like about them? What's on the wish list?
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Old 06-15-2015   #2
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You will have to mug a hipster at a Starbucks to get a typewriter these days.
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Old 06-15-2015   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric rose View Post
You will have to mug a hipster at a Starbucks to get a typewriter these days.
Hit him over the head with your MacBook to get his typewriter.

Don't trip on the ribbon.
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Old 06-17-2015   #4
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Hi,

I don't collect but still have a use for a typewriter, in my case a Hermes who designed the original portable and have a camera connection in that they were made in Switzerland by Paillard...

BTW, the grandchildren are fascinated by it and spend hours turning out rows of soldiers with guns and so on. Something you can't do with a computer, like underlining in red, f'instance.

Regards, David
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Old 06-17-2015   #5
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Olivetti Lettera 22:
P1110026a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #6
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1936 Underwood Universal:
P1100811a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #7
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Royal Mercury, my beach typer:
P1100810a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #8
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Remington Ten Forty:
P1160357a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #9
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1930 Corona 4, with newly resleeved platen:
Corona 4 by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #10
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Olivetti Underwood 21 with LAROP (little ass roll of paper):
P1010508a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #11
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Royal Futura 800:
P1020642a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #12
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Olympia SM9 in "techno" font:
P1030334a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #13
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Remington Quiet-Riter:
P1060465a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #14
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Smith-Corona Galaxy 12:
DSCF2499a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #15
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1953 Hermes Rocket:
P1090717a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #16
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Smith-Corona Silent:
P1090721a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-17-2015   #17
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What do I like about typewriters? Portability, hence why I don't collect larger models. And they have to be functional; my collection I intend on using, not merely looking at.

Which models am I still looking for? A Groma Kalibri would be nice, as seen in the film "The Lives of Others." Many European portables are hard to find in the states.

As for the thought that typewriter users are mere "hipsters," I'm an old codger nearly 58 years old, hardly a hipster. There's an ongoing typewriter rennaisance.

~Joe
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Old 06-17-2015   #18
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Great pictures of your typewriters! I have a Galaxie that's exactly like yours, but I will be passing it on, I think -- it skips spaces too frequently. Sometimes mechanical quirks are charming, but this is annoying. Too bad, since it's a really nice machine in all other respects.

I'm hoping to get a Hermes Rocket like yours -- a guy has one locally.

I have an Olympia SM3, which is lovely (like a Barnack Leica) and I just got (for free) an Olympia SG3 -- a decidedly not portable (38 lb.) desktop. Think Mamiya RB67. A terrific machine.

I agree with your comments about this not being a hipster thing. I am a little younger than you, and find these wonderful to use -- very much like the enjoyment of using an older mechanical camera. And people get a kick out of a typewritten note.
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Old 06-17-2015   #19
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Hi,

There's nothing nicer than the Hermes portables, although they seem to change names when they go out of the country. I've two of them, one with the usual British keyboard and the other with the Continental one with accents etc. Plus the old electric and, as I said, they are made by a camera maker.

Regards, David
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Old 06-18-2015   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
Great pictures of your typewriters! I have a Galaxie that's exactly like yours, but I will be passing it on, I think -- it skips spaces too frequently. Sometimes mechanical quirks are charming, but this is annoying. Too bad, since it's a really nice machine in all other respects.

I'm hoping to get a Hermes Rocket like yours -- a guy has one locally.

I have an Olympia SM3, which is lovely (like a Barnack Leica) and I just got (for free) an Olympia SG3 -- a decidedly not portable (38 lb.) desktop. Think Mamiya RB67. A terrific machine.

I agree with your comments about this not being a hipster thing. I am a little younger than you, and find these wonderful to use -- very much like the enjoyment of using an older mechanical camera. And people get a kick out of a typewritten note.
The skipping problem can usually be fixed by applying some naphtha (Zippo lighter fluid) to the shaft of the escapement gear - a toothed wheel that controls movement of the carriage - then followed up with sewing machine oil. On many of the Smith-Coronas the escapement is easily found underneath.

Regarding the Hermes Rocket, it's a great typing machine, the only fault I can find is the short carriage return lever. Other portables like the Olivetti Lettera 22 have a folding lever that's a bit longer.

~Joe
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Old 06-18-2015   #21
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I had one of the Olivetti Letter 22 models for a few years. And did a lot of my college papers using a Smith-Corona portable electric (with manual return) and script typeface. Wish I still had that one; it was delightful to write with.

But my favorite typewriter was a wide carriage IBM Selectric 60. I bought one of those used in the early 1980s and pounded through many reams of paper with it. A delightful keyboard and action, superb speed ...

Ah, real typewriters were so satisfying to 'chunk-chunk-thunk' along with. :-)

G
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Old 06-18-2015   #22
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Yes, and you knew if/when you hit a key and nothing happened...

I guess we had more control and a little more work, just like our old mechanical cameras.

Regards, David
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Old 06-18-2015   #23
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And it's a lot harder than you think to type something perfectly. Using a computer to compose, which corrects some mistakes automatically and enables editing right up until you print, makes everyone think they're better typists than they really are!
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Old 06-18-2015   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KoNickon View Post
And it's a lot harder than you think to type something perfectly. Using a computer to compose, which corrects some mistakes automatically and enables editing right up until you print, makes everyone think they're better typists than they really are!
Oh, that much has always been clear to me. I moved to word processors in the middle '80s and was so relieved ... so much less re-typing, so much more real editing and improving the work! My output word count when I'm in the thick of it is up by 50-60%, but when I look at the uncorrected, unedited output, it's really about the same. Good new is that I don't have to retype all of it... :-)

But it's not as nice an experience as doing the original draft on a thunky-thunky real typewriter. They operate at a more "human" pace, give your mind time to think in between the keystrokes.

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Old 06-18-2015   #25
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Now that I've been a manual typist for these last seven or so years, I've often been struck by the similarities between manual typewriters and other manual crafts like manual film photography.

In the case of writing with the intent of outputting to printed text, certainly the interface of computer, software and printer does a neater, quicker, more accurate job. But a manual, especially a portable, dispenses with the intermediaries of computer and software and instead mechanically couples the keyboard directly to a printer mechanism. This has the effect of being similar to other forms of mechanical letterpress, where the qualities of the paper and mechanical imprint all combine to form a typewritten aesthetic.

A photographic analogy would be shooting with direct positive paper, or instant film, with few intermediary steps between pressing the shutter and seeing a print.

In this post-typewriter age, the function of typewriters is no longer to serve as the office workhorse, and so a direct comparison between typing by computer versus typewriter are like comparing apples to oranges. I type letters to people for the same reason people like to receive handwritten letters. It's mechanical, but also handmade.

I do like Godfrey's idea of typewriters operating at a more "human" pace. You can indeed walk away from such a machine for a week, in mid-sentence, and return to take up where you left off.

I like taking portables on journeys, to the beach, the mountains or wherever. No electricity or batteries to bother with. This last winter I wrote a short typecast from atop Delicate Arch in Arches NP, Utah, with the Hermes Rocket, before a raging blizzard rolled in. Crazy, perhaps. But also loads of fun.

~Joe

Typecasting atop Delicate Arch by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr

"At Delicate Arch" by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
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Old 06-18-2015   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoeV View Post
Olympia SM9 in "techno" font:
P1030334a by Joe Van Cleave, on Flickr
I have one of these. Probably my favorite out of the bunch, and it's believed to be one of the greatest of all time.

Right now, I'm only using the olympia sf delux. Do to its small size and weight. I used to be an avid letter writer in college, and the type writer always came in handy for art projects. Now it sits in my bedroom as a notepad between my partner and I; we pass sweet nothings or to do/reminders to each other, since we have such conflicting schedules.

like film, I like the surprise of what I'm going to get when I get home, rather than a forgettable text in my pocket.
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Old 06-18-2015   #27
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I'm always fascinated to hear how other people use their typewriters. For a while I had a "trunk typer," an older Remington I'd keep in the trunk of my car, winter or summer, just to have with me should the spirit move and I decide some typing is in order. Then a friend was looking to buy one of my machines and that one got shipped off. I should probably move another from my collection out of the closet to the car.

~Joe
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Old 09-10-2015   #28
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I would have a number of typewriters if my wife would "let" me.

Modern Communications
by JOHN EARLEY, on Flickr


Underwood Analog Word Processor
by JOHN EARLEY, on Flickr


Pound those Underwood keys
by JOHN EARLEY, on Flickr
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Old 04-18-2016   #29
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Hermes 3000 on left, chassis from similar Hermes 3000 in middle, Corona 4 to right.



I had acquired the second Hermes 3000 (whose chassis is in the middle) for a very reasonable price. While cleaning and servicing it, I noticed how much smaller the chassis is compared to its plastic body panels. The Corona 4 was included in the above image for a size comparison. Normally clad, the Hermes 3000 is much larger than the old Corona, and is also one of the best typewriters ever made.

That was when I decided I'd just keep the chassis sans clothes, and instead make a custom wooden mounting plate. Hence the "Nekkid-Riter":



I'm currently in the process of making a custom wooden carrying/storage box.

This project reminds me of when it became popular to "chop" motorcycles down to bare minimalism, after WWII, hence the term chopper. This is my chopped typewriter.

~Joe
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Old 05-18-2016   #30
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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIXXH3uqnO4
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Old 07-12-2016   #31
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This is my 1920s Corona. It's a beast to type on. I found a beauty of a typewriter while cleaning out a friends house back in 2008. It's probably from the late 70s. They just gave it to me. Made in Spain. Feels like a Cadillac compared to the Corona.
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Old 07-13-2016   #32
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Lovely , but not my type really ... pens and pencils have always been my saviours .

dee
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Old 07-15-2016   #33
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I've been journaling for over a decade. I still prefer writing the old fashioned way too.
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Old 07-15-2016   #34
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1937 Corona Standard. Just acquired last week. In immaculate condition, even the rubber platen, rollers and feet. Types like a dream (well .... a dream involving moderately loud clacking sounds).

Okay, can anyone post a corresponding photo of a camera built in that same year (1937)?

~Joe

PS: I did do some cleaning, degreasing and reoiling. And waxed the exterior; you can see the reflection of the glass-topped keys in the panel where the Corona decal is.

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Old 08-12-2016   #35
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Nice Joe! Looks like a beauty.
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