From Hot Metal to Cold Type

Making Book

This is one of the saddest movies I’ve seen.

(If you get this post via email and don’t see a video here, please click on the title of the post to view in your browser.)

It is a re-training film made in the mid-sixties by the International Typographical Union. It is amazing how quickly the process moved on from this early response to technological change. None of what you see here survives in today’s print industry (including the union itself. Founded in 1852, with a membership of about 100,000 at the time this film was made, the ITU finally withered away in 1986 and merged in 1987 with the Communications Workers of America.)

The tone of the film is optimistically up-beat, showing the way forward into the new world. In fact these guys were facing the elimination of most of their jobs. The union had an interest is portraying a labor-heavy process: see the…

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CANON For Feminists… NOT!

Well, here we go down a rabbit hole I never thought I would enter; large business machines/typewriters.  Due to a foolish glance through area craigslist-ings, I stumbled upon a business machine at a very fair price.  The seller was about an hours drive away, and the weather was perfect for a Sunday drive.

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Here we have the CANON AP-810 III.  Looks just as sexy as it sounds, right?

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I had a couple of days to research this animal before meeting up with the seller.  To my surprise, there seems to be very little information about Canon business machines on the interwebs.  That is to say, Canon typewriters from the 80s.

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Lots of printers.  Lots of copiers.  Why so little on the AP series?  These were built (I assume) to compete with the IBM Selectrics.

Like all great things from the dawn of the computer age, this thing is over-engineered, with more features than you can shake a stick at.  And all clearly explained in the manuals (assuming you’re one of the engineers who designed the thing).

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Be sure to read the copy.  Then take a shower.  Gah!

I can just hear the girlish giggling as the boss-man presented this new machine for his dainty workforce to figure out.  I know he wasn’t going to train them on it.  He had an important three martini meeting to get to!

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This beast was presented to the business world in 1984 by my estimation.  Gloria Steinem first published Ms. Magazine in 1972.  Twelve years later?  Um… uh…

Uh-oh.

~TH~

 

Just Because

Consider this a bookmark post.  I’m aware that I have a few noble subscribers, and ya know, I just don’t want you to think you’re being neglected.  Frankly, I’ve been spending the past two months communicating with people via snail mail (onion skin paper, carbon copies for my files, fancy stamps from the past).

I did recently post on the Facebook page Antique Typewriter Classifieds that I would be going to see a collection of 38 machines for sale.  Well, I went to see the collection, then left with disappointment in my wake.

Aside from a very nice Hammond and a nice Bing – everything else was in fairly poor condition.  NOTE: I did not test the Bing or the Hammond – they appeared to be in good condition cosmetically.  There were three upstrike machines and 3 Olivers. Very few portables, all in poor condition.

I will post some photos from the visit soon.  I didn’t even bother talking money with the owner because there were no machines I wanted.  The machines are located in northern Virginia, and I doubt the owner is willing to pack and ship.  If, after this glowing review, you’d like to see the machines for yourself, let me know and I’ll happily act as an intermediary.

If I were a betting man, I’d guess this guy is going to be hanging on to most of those machines for quite a while.  Photos coming soon.  ~TH~