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.


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


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.



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).

canon_AP_typewriter ad

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!


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…




Writing Under The Radar

One of the things I enjoy most about collecting typewriters is the astonishing historical information that gets dragged behind each machine that was produced.  While window shopping on Ebay this morning (always a dangerous thing for me to do- this activity often ends up with another typer coming into the house) I came across some listings for Consul typers.  I went off in search of more information on the production of these machines and found this wonderful blog entry.

Consul detail

The Consul machines were made in Czechoslovakia.  I found the following paragraph particularly intriguing.  It speaks of self-publishing, a very hot topic among writers today, and the typewriter apparently kept some of these independent writers out of hot water with the government by typing and signing their work to avoid suspicion.

“Communism created a typewriter culture in Czechoslovakia. While publication of books without approval through the state censors was forbidden, manuscripts, monographs, and short stories were not illegal per se. Obviously, if the content was anti-state and it became widely known that you were participating in seditious activities, you could be arrested. But if you hand-typed your work, bound it, and signed the front you were merely distributing a manuscript. It was a tenuous precaution against being accused of spreading unauthorized publications, but it worked. Thousands of publications of Czech samizdat (Russian for self-published) were typed and distributed in a network of underground manuscript-sharing.”

The importance of the typewriter in offices all over the globe can not be overemphasized.  They eliminated issues with legibility, documents were tidy and easy to file, they could be copied (using carbon paper), and they gave the appearance of professionalism.

Thanks to the many collectors out there that are keeping these machines pertinent through history and continued use.    Large cyber shout-out to Ryan Adney for keeping the smell of oil and the sounds of typers going in today’s classrooms.  ~TH~