Titans of the Typosphere

Typewriter Review

When I first got into typewriters, my initial reaction was how could anybody write on such a kooky machine? Though I must admit, my first experience was on a late 1960s Smith-Corona Galaxie 12, a modern yet somewhat under-achieving typewriter. Despite its shortcomings, there was still that special spark in the Galaxie I’m sure we’ve all felt in our own first encounters. It only spurred me to seek something better. Something smoother, more confident, better built and easier to type on. It’s a journey many of us still trod. It took a few errant side quests before discovering my 1947 Smith-Corona Sterling.

It’s not you who find the typewriter, but the typewriter who finds you. You’ll know it. Believe me. You might have a few in the constellation, but there’s the pole star that guides all your travels.

I suppose that’s what separates writers who use typewriters from those who…

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Pelikan, Brief(ly)

I just received some new (old) carbon paper sheets by Pelikan.  Yes, I type. Yes, I use carbon paper for my own copies.

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I like the photo on the box- so hip!  Did not realize that the Pelikan company was still around.  It began in Germany- now located in Switzerland.  More renowned  for their fountain pens, though they do still make carbon paper.  Just not printed in this style.

Here is a cool page on their website about the history of the company, with graphics.

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The plastic protection cover inside the box shows the logo, and it is marked Germany.

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Here’s the backing for a sheet.  I like the diamond pattern, and the small typewriter logo that is intermittently shown on the sheets.

Only one more mystery; can anyone identify the typewriter model that the young woman is posing with?  Hmmmm….  ~TH~

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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~