Thursday, December 27, 2012

Give a Typewriter for Christmas... 2012

Another news item featuring Tom from Life in a Typewriter Shop via a Boston-based blog.

The most encouraging thing about Furrier’s posts, however, are the before and after photos he takes of machines that look like they were drudged up from the depths of the most foul swamps.
Here's the article.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Indiana Jones writes to the University of Chicago

Contributed by Dwayne of Vintage Technology Obsessions:

This is a great piece of fictional correspondence. It is funny that they are so mystified. I know several people that would construct a package like this for fun!

(What do you all think of that typed label? Was it really typed? --Richard)


UPDATE: Here is the solution to the mystery!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Change "Bench Grinder" to "Burroughs-Moon-Hopkins Adding Machine Typewriter" and you'll understand

Wondermark is a regular web comic put together with Victorian-era clip art and contemporary dialogue. I think today's strip is especially apt for typewriter collectors with long-suffering significant others, at least around my household.

Be sure to hover over the comic for the bonus "alt text" joke.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Typecasts from the storm

This post is open to all typospherians' reports from the megastorm. It will be updated as new typecasts, images, or links to your reports come in. You can e-mail them to Richard Polt at or Michael Clemens at, and we'll add them here.

Some typospherians will be typing during power outages and may not be able to digitize their typescripts for some time, so this post may grow over the next week or two.

From shordzi (Sommeregger's Sammelsurium):

From Tlogger: Tlogging the Hype, Day 1 and Day 2

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Typewriter in Full: Tom Wolfe Needs the Typosphere

Where are all the typewriters? In some sort of bonfire? 

Tom Wolfe wrote his new novel, Back to Blood, entirely by hand. But the author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Bonfire of the Vanities also says that wasn't entirely by choice — he'd rather have used a typewriter.
"Unfortunately, you can't keep typewriters going today — you have to take the ribbons back to be re-inked," Wolfe tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "There's a horrible search to try to find missing parts."

Can't keep them going? Re-inked ribbons? Where have you been, Tom? Typewriters are very much alive.

Richard Polt's website lists many repair shops in the New York area. One of the most famous is Gramercy:

Gramercy Typewriter Company, 174 5th Avenue, Suite 400, New York, NY 10010. 212-674-7700. "Since 1932, serving the New York City area for typewriter sales and repairs of all makes and models. Specialist in IBM Selectric and Wheelwriter models. Overhauls on your old manual typewriters. Expert service on your Hewlett Packard laser jet printers too! For all your typewriter and laser jet printer needs, just call. Ask for Paul. He has been in the business for over 45 years. He must be doing something right! Call 212-674-7700, and on weekends call (917) 833-3277." Here is an article about owner Paul Schweitzer, here's another about him and his son Justin, here's an NPR story, and here is another story with video.

So, Tom, grab your walking stick and go visit Paul. I know he'll set you right up.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

National Day of Writing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville

The second floor of Hodges library was abuzz Monday, Oct. 22, with the sounds of clicking typewriters and English professors prompting students to “write on the floor.” The excitement spurred off of the English department and Hodges Library staff celebrating the fourth annual National Day on Writing.
Has the Classroom Typewriter Project spawned an imitator? Well, at least for a day...
Volunteers from both the library staff and the English department spent the morning, and early afternoon, encouraging passerbys to “write on the floor,” check out a variety of student publications, write postcards and to try out two vintage typewriters.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

USA Today asks...

Why use a computer when you can use a typewriter?

I think we can offer a few reasons. :-) Links to the typewriter movie, this site, and a few blogs besides.

Greetings to all who wound your way over here from that article: if you've got a few hours to spare, why not read some of the musings under the Mighty Blogroll over there on the right of the screen?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Typewriter film to be shown in Lowell, MA on October 9

News from director Christopher Lockett: There is a screening of "The Typewriter (In the 21st Century)" at the Jack Kerouac Literary Festival in Lowell, MA on Tuesday, October 9 @7p, free, at Lowell National Historic Park Visitor Center. Details about the screening and the festival itself are here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Venice Type-In: The Aftermath

Lots of write-ups and photos on the type-in held this past weekend in Venice, California. Looks like lots of sun and fun was to be had...
Plus, some coverage in the LA Weekly blog:
While some of the folks featured [in the film] had an almost mockable naivete -- earnestly wondering why the typewriter went out of fashion -- others recognize them for what they are: really cool antiquated devices that combine nostalgia and literary functionality.
I'll let you decide which category yours truly falls under. (I'm hoping for geeky naivete, personally.)

Did you attend the type-in or the movie screening? Drop a note in the comments and let us know how it went.

Friday, September 21, 2012

To Get Your Munson On

Boing-Boing has a short blurb on a Munson typewriter recently added to the Martin Howard Typewriter Collection. I find it interesting to see these different early mechanical design that ran rampant before the turn of the 20th century.

Seeing those familiar octagonal shaped keys from my own Oliver 9, I wonder if the Munson's keys were really like that or if this was a rebuild.  I'm thinking the latter, but I am sure someone around here with more knowledge on these earlier typewriters can correct me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A Woodstock's Story

"I'm an old, 98 year old Woodstock typewriter ...." Read the rest of the story, as told to Jeff Hendrie, in this 4-page PDF. And you can see the machine itself in the September 16 post.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

"When Hell freezes over"

I've been corresponding with 16-year-old Jeff Hendrie, a passionate typewriter user who sent me this shot of his 1914 Woodstock (published here with Jeff's permission):

Jeff has created a font based on the typing of his Woodstock, which he used to express just how much typewriters mean to him:
Jeff's further comments (click to enlarge):

If you'd like to have the Woodstock font, you can download it here.

Thanks, Jeff, and keep on typing!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Relevant to our interests

Here's a slideshow on "retro activities" that includes "using typewriters" AND "vintage sewing machines" in the list.  The Type-in linked to is the first Snohomish type-in.

Link here

Monday, September 10, 2012

A Real Typewriter Store?

Gary Yokoyama/The Hamilton Spectator

Over at Hamilton Spectator we find this delicious article on a shop that still sells typewriters, pens and rubber stamps.  A throwback from when it opened in the 1920s.  I'd love to step inside this shop!

A Highlight Article of Chuck Ternes of Petaluma

 Jeff Kan Lee / PD

I've spotted another typewriter repairman article over at the Press Democrat. There's a bit too many references to key chopping or the end results thereof, but I still find it interesting to read.

Now, over at Flavorwire there is an article and some images of typewriters, but this time it's not a story on the old typewriter repairman or that "last repair shop", but a new Kickstart project to create a large format 244-page book. The project is 65% funded, so there is still a ways to go.  For $45, you can get a copy of the hardcover book and be listed in the acknowledgements.  Not a bad way to spend your money!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Young Novelist at the Keys

Spotted on

Young mystery writer shuns technology while plying craft

Plante said he first started collecting typewriters when trying to think of a project to do with a visiting aunt who would soon be leaving. As he enjoyed doing restorations he suggested they fix up an old typewriter.
Plante recognizes it's time to begin gradually refining his typewriter collection. He said he will soon weed out the ones he doesn't like and focus on specialty items: continentals, or maybe typewriters from Russia. 
 Future Typospherian and Brigade member perhaps? Somebody alert the Nano Rhino!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Southern California Type-In, Sept 23

There's a type-in planned September 23 in Venice, California, if anyone finds themselves yearning to lay hands on some famous keys (for a donation.) As Gary from the typewriter movie sent this my way, perhaps his is one of the films being shown?

SoCal Typospherians, gotta represent!

Typewriters in the News

There's a nice little "discovery" article over at a Philly Burbs blog. Writers are often nostalgic and I think we are all connected to the writing tools of the past, no matter how hard some may try to deny it. I've never had the pleasure to type on an Underwood, save my cross-branded Lettera 32, but it doesn't take much imagination for me to remember the magic of playing with a new typewriter.

In other news, the Canberra Times posted an article, written by our very own Robert Messenger, on the first and only Australian typewriter inventor. As most of us are accustomed to from his blog, ozTypewriter, Messenger packs a lot of information in a well-written and researched topic.  It is an excellent read!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Never Tire of Reading a Typewriter Repairman Article

I came across this article about a Staten Island repairman.

Here's one image, courtesy of New York, but there are some others and a little video worth checking out.

I'd really love to see these pockets of repairman start sending more platens out for recovering. I'd think they could increase the cost of their wares to offset the cost of the platen and then all of us could benefit from the lower price...or maybe that's just a dream similar to Mr. Ardio's.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The Typewriter Survives

I came across this article from the Indian Express. Something I am sure some of us, especially the like of Ryan Adney, can appreciate.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Be (cooperatively) shocking!

If you're a member of the Typosphere, don't tell me you haven't had fantasies of doing something like this. Maybe you've even done it. (The great illustration by Andrew Joyner is for a not-so-great article in Businessweek about offices that are behind the times. Someone in the story refuses to use a typewriter to make labels and uses a Sharpie instead.)

Now, there is strength and courage in numbers, so it would be easier and more fun to type on the subway or at a Starbucks if you had partners in the caper. This is why I find videos such as these from Improv Everywhere inspiring:

The No Pants Subway Ride
Mobile Desktop (people lug desktop computers into a Starbucks)

Where I live, I'm not sure I can find enough like-minded typists to pull off something like this. But maybe some typospherians in larger cities would be interested in organizing some cooperative insurgent activities. If you do, be sure to share the video with us!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Power cut forces courts to pull out typewriters and reschedule hearings

Can this be a post-apocalyptic sign of things to come? The article is not as thrilling as my imagination, but here it is, in case you want to read it.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Chromatic Typewriter

Image courtesy of Core77

The Chromatic Typewriter is a conceptual art piece consisting of a modified late-1930s Underwood typewriter that types a spectrum of colors, rather than the letters of an alphabet. Click here for more information on this amazing typewriter art.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

10 of History’s Most Beautiful Typewriters?

Take a look at this list and suggest corrections.
For myself, I love the Hermes 3000, but as striking as the looks are, I wouldn't call them "Beautiful" and I can think of three machines - SM3 and two Remingtons - I would put in this list instead.

What are your thoughts?

Here's the FARK thread on this story:

Monday, August 6, 2012

The International Correspondence Initiative

Reposted with permission from A Machine for the End of the World:

The International Correspondence Initiative

What it is: A project to make the world a smaller, more engaged and more interesting place the old-fashioned way: via snail-mail

Who it is: Anyone who is interested can participate!

Where it is: Global

Materials used: Typewriters, pens, pencils, paper, business card stock, cameras, braillers, steno machines, adding machines, craft supplies, greeting cards, scanners, computers

Purpose: To send out and receive unique correspondence (dubbed 'Typograms') and to post it to the Typosphere once it arrives at its intended destination

Content: The sky's the limit, as long as it's tasteful and safe for work/younger viewers

Comments: This is quickly becoming a pet project for me. I'm excited to get started with making and sending things! And I have some creative ideas for what I will receive, too. If privacy is a concern for any would-be participants, rest assured that your address would absolutely not be made public. Of course, all participants are to be held to the same privacy standards.  Participants will receive addresses in round robin fashion; once a Typogram is sent to and received by one addressee, the sender will get another, random addressee. It will be up to the individuals involved as to wether they would like to continue correspondence with one another after the initial Typogram.

Contact: Please email any questions, comments or requests to Anna here.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Qwerty is a rainbow.

Art by Louise Ann Marler. Read a story about her and the typewriter renaissance (including the Typosphere) here.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Learn to Type the U.S. Navy Way

Spelunking around today and I uncovered these videos on proper typing position, some classic machines... good stuff!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Asbestos: A Typist's Best Friend?

Well, maybe not. Don't mind me, I'm just trying to identify the typewriter that was the model for this drawing. I'm thinking a round-top Royal QDL, myself...

Asbestos! Use it on your desk! On your clothes! Near food!

(from the Modern Mechanix blog)

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rare Typewriter Hiding in Tasmania

This article bubbled up on my "typewriter" newsfeed the other day. It's short on details, though:

Tapping into untold markets

A rare 19th-century typewriter, which was heading for the tip, is now the centrepiece of a house lot that goes under the hammer in Burnie [July 21st].
"The North's Typewriter had been in the family for 80 or 90 years and was destined for the skip bin," Mr Broadfield said.
"It is a very rare design. Only four models of this kind of typewriter, where the type stroke is not visible, were made."
For want of a better term, it sounds like this is a "backstroke" typewriter, with the bars striking not the front or the underside of the platen, but the side opposite the operator. I'm hoping for some guidance from Richard or Alan here. In the meantime...

Attention Tasmanians: kindly check your attics!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

21st Century Typewriter Repairs Made Easy

Just reading Scott's latest update on The Filthy Platen about getting a replacement part 3-D printed for a Remington. Folks, the future's here, no doubt about it. And I think there's a certain poetic beauty to using modern printing techniques to repair a classic printing machine.

Now, let's get Shapeways hooked up with the guys behind this video and we'll all be printing our own Remettes*

* Some assembly required

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Raining typewriters in Northern Kentucky

It's raining typewriters -- and adding machines -- in Northern Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. This guy has a collection of many machines which he'll sell for $150 -- for all of them. But you have to take them all, you can't cherry-pick. I think I see an Oliver, an Olympia SG1, a Remington 12, etc. Maybe someone in the typosphere would like to rent a truck and come out to get these?

Here is the craigslist ad.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Post Your Typewriter Day Links Here

Hey everyone -- I should update the "Typewriter Day" page to reflect the 2012 events, and I'm far too busy/lazy to scrube through everyone's blogs. Can you please post a comment with the link or links to your celebrations/blog posts/acts of typewriter awesomeness?

As with any major holiday (ahem) the celebration didn't strictly have to take place on Saturday. Show-and-tell time, everyone!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

cafe la cuna distinguished by the typosphere

Breaking news: typewriter-friendly Café La Cuna in Basel, Switzerland, was awarded the "typewriter friendliest café" certificate on the occasion of a spontaneous type-in. The diploma was handed to the owner by the present representatives of the Swiss and American branches of the typosphere and respective runners of sommeregger's sammelsurium, maschinengeschrieben, and manual entry. !Viva la typosfera! !Viven typewriter friendly cafés!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Typewriter Day 2012

Typewriter Day: June 23, 2012
Thought I forgot, didn't you?*

Typewriter Day 2012 is this Saturday. Last year we had a trans-global virtual type-in with video and noise and suitable amounts of goggling at some members' superior finger-speed.

This appears to be the year of the occupier, so how about something a little more insurrectionist (within the bounds of civility, that is)? What would be a suitable radical activity/celebration for the 'sphere this year?

What do you say, Typosphere?

 * To be totally honest, I might have come this close to forgetting.

Salon article: Time for a typewriter renaissance?

Max likes to scan the documents he writes on his typewriter and post them to his blog. He’s not the only one who’s discovered this quirky pastime. Aficionados call it typecasting and they’ve named their Internet subculture “the typosphere.”  ...

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

I write in order to lose time

From an interview with novelist Javier Marías:

Q: Why do you keep using your old typewriter [an Olympia Carrera de Luxe]? Is it a phobia of new technologies? Superstition?

A: No, I just like writing on paper, taking out the sheet, correcting it by hand, crossing things out, making arrows, typing it over again, and doing so as many times as I have to. I'm not in a hurry, I don't have to "save time" when I'm writing. To the contrary: in part, I write in order to lose time.

From the original Spanish text of the interview:

P. Cual es el motivo de seguir utilizando su vieja máquina de escribir ¿fobia a las nuevas tecnologías? ¿superstición?

R. No, simplemente me gusta escribir sobre papel, sacar la hoja, corregirla a mano, hacer mis tachaduras, mis flechas, volverla a teclear, y eso cuantas veces haga falta. No voy con prisa, no necesito “ganar tiempo” mientras escribo. Al contrario, en parte escribo para perderlo.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

They want typewriters, not iPods

I just thought this bit of news was worth reblogging from Kevin L. Ferguson's typecast:

"I’m heartened that at least 2/3 (so far) of the winners of a college-wide student writing contest have elected to take, as their prize, a typewriter rather than an iPod."

You can see the machines here.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Typosphere Keyword-o-Rama

(Idea shamelessly stolen from the munchkin wrangler)

Besides obsessively reloading the stats on my own blog, I thought all you fine folks might want a little view behind the Typospherical curtain. Here are the keywords folks used to locate this fine site this past week:


Hi! Yes, you found us! Unless you were looking for the Web Home of Science Fiction Writer Ron Collins or the Ruby language blogging software. Then you might be a bit lost and very confused.

typewriters for sale

Not here, sadly. If you have deep pockets, you can look at Mr. Typewriter or My Typewriter. If you're in the New York City area, maybe Brady & Kowalski can hook you up. If you're fortunate enough to live near a repair shop, I'm sure they have some machines you can come in and try: Tom at Cambridge Typewriter spreads typer-joy, as do the fine folks at Blue Moon Camera and Machine. Or Mesa Typewriter Exchange. A good search engine will be your friend here.

Don't discount local, though. Flea markets, church bazaars, yard sales, thrift and charity shops. Typewriters are uncommon until you start finding them. Oh yeah, and that big auction site, but be wary of careful packing. Typewriters are fragile critters.

custom typewriter

Maybe you're thinking of Richard Polt's "silver surfer" technique? Or just spend some time clicking around the blog links over on the right: lots of us have painted or decorated our own machines. I'm currently taking a hard look at a grubby old Skyriter after seeing this racing-inspired customizing.

welcome to the typosphere

Hi, yes. We've met.

10-characters-per-inch pica 87 font

You probably want to go look at Ted's scans of the NOMDA blue books, which have typeface styles. Sounds like you got in reallly close and read that little number on the typeslug. You've got better eyes than I do.

bicycle typerider nyt

You must mean Maya Stein. Isn't this a great thing? We already know that typewriters like to be photographed out-of-doors, but who knew they liked interstate bike rides, too?

christopher lockett seattle

Chris is the director of the typewriter documentary "The Typewriter in the 21st Century." He's a nice guy, too, and I'm not just saying that because he ran a microphone up my shirt. Amazingly soft hands, Chris has.

dean jones kasbah mod

And speaking of customized typewriters. I get itchy to buy paint and noxious chemicals when I take a look at these machines.

hammacher schlemmer manual typewriter

"is probably crap." There, I finished that for you.

Little old us once again. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Campy Rhinos?

Nano Rhino

Anyone out there in the 'sphere going to give Camp Nanowrimo a try this year? It's like regular NaNoWriMo, but held in June and August. I tried this last year, but had trouble working up the motivation to write every day during the peak of a California summer when the pool was so inviting. I could be convinced to "cheat" this year and spend a month rewriting and digitizing my 2011 draft. I appear to be crippled into inaction without a menacing deadline hanging over my head. Seems like this would be the perfect time of year for our Southern Hemisphere members to play along, too, as it's the depths of winter.

Anyone? I could be convinced to slap a little sunblock on the Nano Rhino. He's been hiding on my desk since November, and might enjoy the chance to dance on the keys again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rocking the Kasbah

Perhaps, like me, you've seen Kasbah Mod's beautiful custom typewriters.

But I didn't know that "around 75-100 machines are sold each month at prices ranging from $200 to $1,200."

The success of Kasbah Mod and USB Typewriter make me start to believe that the time is ripe for what McGet calls a 21st-century typewriter. What do you think?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Latest typewriter news from NPR and LA Times

Latest news:

Steve Soboroff collects typewriters of the famous (L.A. Times story including references to the typewriter renaissance and a comment from me).

Zach Houston makes a living composing poems in public on a typewriter (NPR story complete with a clip from Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter").

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Share Your Typewriter Stories

Along with a slightly oily-musty-sulpher smell and the occasional half-used eraser, many typewriters come to us with a story attached. Gary Nicholson (of typewriter documentary fame) is collecting photos and stories to include on their website in advance of the release of their film. Here's the information from Gary:

Do you have a personal relationship with a typewriter? Do you remember using one that you loved? Your father's or your grandmother's?  Do you use one now? We'd love to hear your story and if you have a photo, all the better. We will be collecting them for our website on the Typewriter in the 21st Century to coincide with the release of our feature film in Fall, 2012.

The email for responses is:

Thank you!

Obviously the Typosphere has a few stories about, and even if you're not part of the group proper, I'm sure Gary would be happy to hear from you.

Friday, April 6, 2012

How is a Typewriter Like Google?

Well, if it's a Chinese typewriter -- or any designed to handle a large number of ideograms -- then there's a certain level of prediction that can be built into the system to help figure out "what's next."

Google does this when you type in the search box. I get as far as "typosp" before Google has figured out "typosphere" and placed this blog up at the top of the results (*blush*) This video talks about how Chinese typewriters pre-date the current predictive systems in use by engines like Google. Not coincidentally, it's a Google talk:  

A Chinese Typewriter in Silicon Valley

And in case you've never seen one in action, here's some footage of a Chinese typewriter in use. Note the two-handed motion to slide the symbol-picking mechanism as the type-tray is also being arranged.

 Chinese typewriter 中文打字機 1978

 Thanks to the Typewriter Movie guys for the tip!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Typewriters: The Long Farewell

Suzanne Fischer writes a little essay about the typewriter resurgence in this piece in the Atlantic, titled "The Long Farewell: Typewriters as Objects of Nostalgia." And this:
As a historian who cares about objects, I'm pleased by this new appreciation for typewriter aesthetics, and I'm hoping it will mean a decline in keychopping. Keychopping is the arguably pernicious practice of removing a typewriter's keys to make jewelry or to decorate olde-tyme projects. To typewriter enthusiasts and collectors, keychoppers are the enemy, destroying the integrity of typewriters and rendering them useless scrap.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Typewriters featured in a short video about NYC

rEVOLution from EFT Harmony on Vimeo.

Featuring typewriters made available by Rob Neuwirth and Andrea Haenggi at Occupy Wall Street a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Typewriters in film

Even though other typospherians have covered the issue better than I ever could, I thought I'd share some cinematic examples of mechanical writing machines. Mild spoilers, typewriter violence, and bad screencaps ahoy. You have been warned.

Our first example is found in the 2011 film, The Help. The glimpse is but fleeting, allowing yours truly to acquire little more than a hasty snap, but that Royal portable is there all the same.

On the one hand, the quality of this picture is terrible. On the other hand, Emma Stone.

Next up is the 2001 film, He Died with a Felafel in His Hand. Tough to describe this one, but try to imagine if Clerks and Trainspotting had a baby. In Australia. Professional weird-looking guy Noah Taylor plays a distracted and disenfranchised writer who just so happens to have a penchant for Kerouac.

Even the title cards are typed out.

Typing away.

Of course, HDwaFiHH is not all sunshine and roses. After a particularly disheartening event, Taylor's character does something...drastic.

Where...where you goin' with that typewriter, fella?
 For God's sake, man! Don't do it!



Ironically enough, he receives a BAROP sometime later. Oh sweet irony.

Next is 2011's The Rum Diary by noted typewriter-user and stark-raving lunatic Hunter S. Thompson. I neglected to take any screens while I was watching it, so these images are courtesy of the 'tubes. Note also that Depp's character, Kemp, uses a Nakajima typewriter, which wasn't even available at the time (thanks to ozTypewriter for the info on that one). Still, several Royals are seen in the film, so I'm gonna give it credit.

Johnny Depp, looking like Johnny Depp.

Same here.

Last and certainly not least we have 2009's Paper Man, starring Jeff Daniels and – once again – Emma Stone. DO NOT JUDGE ME, INTERNET. Kind of a weird flick, it features a SCM Electra pretty prominently.

Hardly an Underwood 5, but I'm going to allow it.

Like Felafel, unfortunately Paper Man too indulges in scribeosadism when Daniels' character, in fit of...something pries the H key off the poor machine and promptly loses it for the rest of the film.

That's kind of thing is contraindicated by the service manual, you monster!

You deserve to look miserable, Daniels.
That's it for now! -M

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Denver TV news typewriter story

A Denver TV news show has devoted five precious minutes to the typewriter revival. They gush over a cursive Smith-Corona and show a local repairman.

Story here.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

3rd Phoenix Type-In, March 31

Type Rider

Maybe well-timed, considering the recent movie trailer for On the Road, but Maya Stein is going to head out with a bike and a typewriter and a head full of poetry and trace a route that looks like it's going to come within shouting distance of many in the Typosphere.

She's got a Kickstarter page up about the project. Anyone out there in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, or Wisconsin? (That's a silly question: of course there are.)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

100's of typewriters for sale in L.A. area March 16-17

A sale on March 16-17 in San Pedro, CA includes lots of typewriters, especially postwar office machines but also plenty of portables and some older machines (such as an Oliver 9). I expect it will be a good chance to get an affordable Selectric, KMM, SG3, or other excellent writing machine.

Go to this page and scroll through the photos until you start hitting the typewriters.

Right now they don't provide any details on exactly where and when the sale is. But you can send them an e-mail through their site, or visit them on Facebook.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

"On the Road" trailer

This trailer for "On the Road" prominently features Kerouac's Underwood portable and his famous continuous roll of paper.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Antiques & Auction News story

You can read my story about typewriter collecting and the typosphere in the latest issue of Antiques & Auction News:

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Future definition of a typewriter

William Pannapacker has written a great article on typewriting that appears in the Chronicle of Higher Education, and with his permission I've also added it to my collection of "Typewriter Tributes."

Here I wanted to share one of the readers' comments on his article, which I think is perfect. (I fixed a few typos.)

We really aren't old until the definition of a typewriter becomes:
The typewriter was a device used back in the 20th century that printed characters one at a time as the keys were pressed on its keyboard onto a storage device known as paper, which was highly susceptible to fire and could not easily be shared with more than one other unless additional copies were made using a labor or machine-intensive process. Some advanced typewriters used electricity and had the ability to delete single characters at a time but older versions did not require electricity and could only have corrections made by applying a white liquid to the paper called "correction fluid" to cover up the errors, thus destroying the audit trail. In the latter half of the 20th century, the computer made such devices obsolete except for their use on equally obsolete forms that had a crude copying technology called "carbon paper". Carbon paper allowed individuals to simultaneously copy material onto multiple pages without the use of the now ubiquitous photocopier. When corrections were made using carbon paper, the carbon paper required the use of an eraser. The eraser was a correction device found at the end of another obsolete device known as the pencil. A pencil allowed people to make corrections by rubbing against paper, thus lifting the graphite impression left in the paper by the pencil. Luckily, these indentations were usually still present, allowing individuals to view the audit trail. However, this ability to correct is, of course, a defect since the audit trail is obfuscated. In any case, all of these technologies suffered from the defect that it was impossible to exactly determine who had actually written the documents in question. Thus in order to achieve proper identification people used another device called a pen to "sign their names" using an archaic process called "cursive writing", which no one really understands or uses now that biometric chips instantly transmit identification signals onto all transmissions. Correction fluid was needed to eliminate errors when pen was put to paper, which again destroyed the audit trail. However, the bigger problem was that names were not automatically attached exclusively to one individual. It is reported that the number of individuals with the moniker of "John Smith" may have exceeded one million. This made tracing the originator of the documents very difficult. The solution was that each signature was supposed to be unique but inventions like the "autopen" destroyed this reliability. The typewriter was replaced with the ancestor of the biometric chip called a computer. It had the nasty habit of rebooting spontaneously without warning, which led many to decide to stick to the older technology. Only with the passage of legislation mandating biometric chips in all individuals did we achieve the elimination of all of this environmentally wasteful material. Now we instantly transmit all information and thought to all individuals around the world using our advanced biometric devices. This has the additional advantage of allowing governments to instantly detect subversive content, know exactly who has said what, and require individuals to attend reeducation camps to ensure that they are fully in compliance with all regulations concerning attitudes and belief systems.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Hammacher Schlemmer Flimflam?

Witness the Classic Manual Typewriter for sale at Hammacher Schlemmer, a catalog retailer in the U.S.. Priced at $199.95 and sporting a profile not at all dissimilar to a late-model Brother, this machine is supposedly newly manufactured, "not refurbished" (as the catalog proudly states.)

Just for comparison's sake, here's my own machine: $3 from the thrift store, plus a can of automotive paint:

Brother Correction 7, After

I bet $199.95 spent at someplace like Cambridge Typewriter will get you a better machine than this new "Royal" whatever-it-is, and will actually last, too.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

contribute to the typewriter encyclopedia

Please join and contribute to, a wiki-based encyclopedia for typewriters and all things related.

Wishing for a good start,

yours, shordzi    

Collaborative typewritten poetry in Winnipeg

Winnipeg poet Christoff Engbrecht owns between 30 and 40 typewriters, all manual, some of them dating back a century. The click-clack-ding and the spooled ribbons, ink-smudged fingers and tangible byproduct of all that clacking turn the writing process into both an auditory and visual experience, he says. "It's like you're seeing writing happen."

Engbrecht, 37, is one half (along with David Streit) of the "writing-event collective" Poor Tree, which uses old typewriters and portable turntables to create their sound art. He and Streit will co-write (alternating lines on their respective typewriters) and then read aloud their poems onstage, sometimes alongside live musicians.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Typewriters are in style

Design by Mary Kantrantzou.


Another story shows a Kantrantzou dress featuring typewriter keys.

A closeup (source) shows that the typewriter is a QWERTZ:

UPDATE: the image on the dress was almost certainly based on typospherian Adwoa's photo of her repainted Olivetti Lettera 35 (see comments).

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Untouched Poetry

You name a subject, you name a price, and Knowles writes you a poem. ... "I love typewriters, because I purchase them from antique stores and I imagine all of the owners who pressed the keys before me, and how many letters, stories or words that it produced. They have a positive energy."

More ...

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Convenient Typer

Could this be the realization of the Maker/Typosphere confluence?

Max Lupo of Barrie, ON, built this rig by which three people can cooperatively type out “it is as it is” using four key-punchers and a space bar presser.

OK Max, you've proven your skills. Now let's see you rig up something to type my novel for me next November.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Moby Dick typed on toilet paper

I asked, "I'm wondering what model of typewriter you used."

Response: "So am I since it was done about 15 years ago and I no longer have the typewriter. I can tell you that it was used, electric and purchased from a Good Will store. Also, the neighbors in my apartment weren't too thrilled hearing clack-clack-clack-ding-clack-clack-clack coming through their walls at all hours of the day. Sadly, I trashed it once the project was complete."

Friday, January 20, 2012


OK, so I have recently become addicted to the heady rush of Amazon reviews. Good or ill, they measure the barometer of what readers think, and I'm totally all about that.

So, on the sage advice of Mr. JA "One Bazillion Copies Sold" Konrath, I hereby tender the following offer: drop me a line at Mike(dot)Speegle(at), and I will send you a copy of Pen and Platen, totally gratis. All I ask in return is that you post up an honest review on Amazon when you're done reading it.

Cool? Cool.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Monday, January 9, 2012

Message from Christopher Lockett

Hello Typosphere,

Christopher Lockett, Director of the documentary film "The Typewriter (In The 21st Century)" here. Tomorrow, we're off to shoot a bunch of interviews, some interesting historic typewriters and generally typewriter-related people, things and events on the east coast. We'll be driving through 13 states in 8 days with a whole lot of interviews in between. Suffice it to say that we can not reach everyone we'd like to feature in the film. But I think we will have an interesting cross-section of people represented by the time we wrap. 

But as you all have been generous with your time, assisting in research and offering guidance, I want to try to include you in the film. Many of you posted videos to YouTube on World Typewriter Day last year. Would you consider sending a 30-second clip of that footage to our Dropbox account? If we get enough footage, I envision a split or multi-screen montage in the film featuring people at their typewriters. 

Let me know if that's something you'd consider doing. I'll be on the road, so might not be able to respond right away, but will get back to everyone who replies. 

Thank you,

Christopher Lockett
Director, The Typewriter (In The 21st Century) 

PS (Jan. 11): We've worked it out that whenever anyone emails me, I bounce the email to producer Gary Nicholson and he sends them a Dropbox invite. A few people have already uploaded their videos. I can't view them until I meet with Gary in NYC in a few days. 

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Is International Typewriter Appreciation Month going to be an annual event?  Only the typosphere knows for sure.
link goes to last year's commemorative stamp.

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