INTERNATIONAL TYPEWRITER APPRECIATION MONTH.

We begin with a Royal Quiet Deluxe from the late 1940s, which incidentally is the machine that produced the hurried scribble above. This is about as good as a portable typewriter gets; it was made just before cost displaced quality as the primary consideration in manufacturing.

This is a very well-used Underwood Standard Portable from the early 1920s. It has a double shift: there are three characters on each type bar, with separate “FIG” and “CAP” keys to reach the different characters. That makes for a small keyboard and a tiny but very sturdy portable typewriter.

This strange creature is a Monarch Pioneer, built by Remington in the late Depression era as a cheap typewriter for starving writers. It is made with cheap sheet metal, with an abbreviated keyboard and no carriage-return lever (you have to turn the platen yourself after each line). It works well enough, though: the mechanical design is the same as the design of the well-made Remington Portables of the same era.

Behold the famous Woodstock Typewriter, a well-made office machine from the middle 1940s that was perhaps a little old-fashioned by the technological standards of the time, but built to last forever. This particular machine was in use at the corporate headquarters of the old G. C. Murphy dime-store chain until about 1990, when the office was closed and Dr. Boli rescued the typewriter. In honor of Mr. Alger Hiss, Dr. Boli uses this typewriter exclusively for his un-American activities.

Four typewriters are enough for today, but we shall see more before the month is out.

And now a word of advice for anyone inspired to put an old typewriter back into service. Typewriter ribbons are not always easy to come by, but “universal” printing-calculator ribbons are everywhere. They are identical to ordinary two-color typewriter ribbons except for the spool and the little ring at the end of the ribbon that triggers the automatic ribbon reverse. Just take the old ribbon off the old spools and wind the calculator ribbon around them instead; in place of the auto-reverse ring, stick a small wire brad through the ribbon near the end.

If you feel exceptionally flashy (and who does not so feel occasionally?), universal cash-register ribbons are the same as universal calculator ribbons, except vivid purple.  Anything you type with them, however, must be kept in a folder or drawer, because the purple ink fades when exposed to the light.

Was this entirely too much information? Wash it down with a tall glass of misinformation, available now wherever misinformation is sold.

Published in: on February 20, 2012 at 5:13 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love you Dr. Boli!

  2. I have that same Underwood portable and would, in days gone by, take it to coffee shops and pretend to type my novel on it. The other hipsters quickly acknowledged my superior irony and hailed me as their leader. I did, though, cease this practice when I realized that ‘Ironic King of the Hipsters’ was not a title worth having.


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