Here’s an interesting episode on Kids Devour Technology — where a group of open minded kids get some time with some “ancient typing machines.” Halfway through, ha– “I love this and I want to keep it, actually…” says one. The unseen narrator tries to paint typewriter use as a primitive privation, though… of course, it’s a TV kids’ “educational show,” so let’s no be too hard on them. Any typewriter exposure is generally a Good Thing.
This great magazine’s publisher, John R. MacArthur, says Paper is Still Relevant–and he keeps a loaded typewriter on his desk! He also believes writers should be properly paid for their work and points out this doesn’t happen when everything is free. Obvious, but rarely said so well. If you’re not a Harper’s subscriber–now’s the time. (of course JRM’s no fool–you can subscribe online Subscribe to Harpers )
Found this one in an Avalon NJ “Antiques” shop. Not sure if it is repairable, as none of the keys will move, and in fact, lack any real connection to the type bars, which, curiously, are lacking type. The staff at the shop weren’t very helpful either, referring me mainly to the price tag, and glancing nervously at the door in response to questions about warranty, follow-up service calls, replacement parts, etc. It is also only about 8 inches wide. After some cogitation, I have decided that the only possible explanation (other than it’s being a decorative item) is that this was in fact an ultra-rare “decoy” typewriter, used by harried pulp fiction authors with children. Its mode of use: toss the machine across one’s cramped studio apartment; the kids would then run after it, to press on its keys and chirp “Ding!” over and over, buying the beleaguered writer a few moments of peace to finish a page and a half per fling.
Two ideals: the Western jazz ballad and the Eastern state of shadow and quiet meet in this lovely advertisement. Typewriters, rain, vinyl, fountain pen, ink brushed on paper. Thanks for Steven Huang of www.brommieyummie.com for the connection.
While plotting and planning the next Type-IN, have cooked up an even humbler, less techno event–still set in a pub, since a person can get thirsty. It’s called PUBLETTERS.
Visit www.publetters.com for the sketchy details, and if you’re near Philadelphia, please come
by DOOBIES BAR on a Tuesday in July. BTW — if you can’t make it, but you’d like us to write
you a letter, send your mailing address to email@example.com. Thanks!
Well, for WTD, decided to make use of a lovely electrical outlet right along the bike path near my house–loaded up a bike trailer hitched to the trusty Brompton folder bike with an IBM Selectric II, a long cord and a little school desk. Stuck an Olivetti Lettera 32 in the Brompton front bag and rode 7/10 of a mile to the spot, right next to the Schuylkill.
Felt a bit like a snafu at first as runners and cyclists zipped past, not even bothering to look at the printout of the original Sholes, Glidden and Soule patent from June 23, 1868–much less the sheet proclaiming it World Typewriter Day. But soon enough some more curious types gave the Selectric a try.
Sadly, I was unable to follow through on R. Polt’s “alternative materials” suggestion. I had brought along a couple Chemex coffee filters to type on, but never got them out. Also a bit miffed that no one took me up on some suggested letter targets: had brought a sheet with the mailing addresses for President Obama, the Pope and Benedict Cumberbatch, among others. Maybe at the next Type-IN?
But this young man, a recent Upenn grad, did take the time to write a quick letter to a family member–I lent him a fountain pen to sign it with. Both action were firsts for him, I believe, and I suspect, for the letter’s recipient. As the sun dipped low, loaded everything back onto the trailer and was home in time for a little dinner. Bless you, U.S. Patent Office, for making this World Typewriter Day possible.
PS -An hour later, the mailbox had a snack, clunking its satisfaction at the evening treat from our Penn grad, now a consultant for Accenture.