Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Hemingwrite for sale

"The Hemingwrite is a minimalist digital typewriter for distraction free writing composition. It combines the simplicity of a typewriter with modern technology like an electronic paper screen and cloud backups to create the best possible writing experience."

The Hemingwrite is now available to preorder on Kickstarter.


Monday, November 24, 2014

"Security with a portable typewriter"

A small item from the New York Times.

The link goes to a 1995 story about Smith-Corona's bankruptcy. Today Smith-Corona is still in business, but not the typewriter business — it makes labels for industrial use. The company logo cleverly combines a Corona 3 with a scan code used on labels.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Tom Hanks is writing a book ...

From The New York Times:

Type(writer) Casting: A Book of Short Stories From Tom Hanks

Tom Hanks has a thing for typewriters. He’s been collecting them — “for no particular reason,” he says — since 1978. A few months ago he released a writing app called the Hanx Writer, which mimics the sounds and motions of an old-school typewriter on an iPad. Last summer he wrote an essay for The New York Times about his favorite models, riffing on the relative merits of a Hermes 2000, a 1930s Remington or a mid-century Royal.
Now Mr. Hanks is writing an entire book inspired by the subject. He just sold a book of short stories loosely connected to photographs of the typewriters in his personal collection to the publisher Alfred A Knopf.
“The stories are not about the typewriters themselves, but rather the stories are something that might have been written on one of them,” Mr. Hanks said in a statement released by Knopf on Monday.
His book deal comes on the heels of his recent fiction debut in The New Yorker. Last month it published Mr. Hanks’s short story “Alan Bean Plus Four,” about four friends who orbit the moon in a homemade space ship. The story drew mixed reviews from literary critics.
But publishers took an interest. A few emailed Mr. Hanks’s literary agent, Esther Newberg, at ICM, to see if Mr. Hanks had any more stories. Ms. Newberg asked Mr. Hanks if he was interested in writing more fiction, and he came back with the idea for a book of stories connected to his typewriters. Knopf acquired the book for an undisclosed amount. Peter Gethers, senior vice president and editor at large at Penguin Random House, will edit the book, which doesn’t have a title or a release date yet.
In an interview with The New Yorker’s fiction editor that ran on the magazine’s website Mr. Hanks cited Alan Furst, Stephen Ambrose and David McCullough as his literary heroes. Asked why he was turning to fiction now, after so many years of success in Hollywood, he said, “I’ve been around great storytellers all my life and, like an enthusiastic student, I want to tell some of my own.”

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Typewriter art in Berlin

Kulturpropaganda presents: Secrets & Type

Group exhibit with works that have been created using mechanical typewriters or that depict such.

Typewriters - relicts of the good old offline times, nowadays mainly stirring nostalgic feelings. But they, too, were a communications tool designated to increase efficiency. They were used for documentary and creative purposes in literature, science, journalism, served states and technocrats, spies and revolutionaries alike made them clatter.

The exhibition presents samples of contemporary usage of typewriters by artists fognin,Friederike HammannFranziska Jentsch, Lars Maurmaier, mehrmagdaJochen Möller, Kerstin Quitsch, Claudia Simon, TEENA and others. 

"Hello World":

Edward Snowden:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Sincere Improvement?

How about hacking a typewriter to use that much-maligned and little-loved typeface, Comic Sans?

Jesse England has done such a thing with his "Sincerity Machine" and though it may not score high for durability, it more than earns points for creativity. Type-modders, take note: DIY Fraktur may be within your grasp.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Rhinos are back! The Rhinos are back!

Pour the coffee and get a fresh ribbon, for the NaNoWriMo Typewriter Brigade has risen again for 2014. C'mon over and join us for a month of noisemaking, won't you?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Her last breath

I thought I'd take a moment to highlight one of the most remarkable blogs in our blogroll, Types of America. Read the whole story here, and be sure to check out the other posts from this mysterious typing traveler.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Typewriter poet hits the big time

He has half a million followers online.
50,000 copies of his new book are already in print.

Tyler Knott Gregson's poetry really took off
when he started typewriting it.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Royal Typewriter Becomes Sentient, Invades Internet

...or more correctly, San Francisco Chronicle pop culture editor found at least one  Royal KMG down in the photo archives, and wrote a blog entry on it. In a move that should surprise nobody here, it types right away, with nary a hiccup.

What's more, it's started tweeting (@NewsTypewriter) perhaps channeling the spirit of SF's beloved Herb Caen, who put his own Royals through their paces. Is this one of his castoff machines? It would be interesting to dig out the provenance.

I can personally attest to the good quality of a KMG. A trip to a local repair shop like California Typewriter might be all this typer needs for another half-century of function.

Call Us/Touch Control

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Carbon film ribbons: new old stock at bargain prices


Mike Holt ( has thousands of non-correcting IBM Selectric I carbon ribbons that have been stored in a temperature-controlled environment. He is closing his business and wants to sell these, preferably in cartons of 144 ribbons, but in smaller quantities if necessary. I got a carton and they're very nice, new old stock.

These carbon ribbons will work not only on Selectrics, but on many manual typewriters, producing crisp black text. You must make sure that the typewriter advances the ribbon quickly enough to avoid overlap of characters. I have used these ribbons successfully on Olympia SM series, Hermes 3000, Groma Kolibri, Olympia SG1, and others.

If you are interested, please contact Mr. Holt directly.


"I've still got 15 cartons left.  My price is 50 cents a ribbon ($72 per carton). Over the summer I refrained from shipping to the Southwest (Phoenix and San Diego) after UPS said they would be on an un-airconditioned truck for 4 to 5 days in the blazing hot summer the Southwest has experienced.  I'm hoping in a month or two it will be safe to ship to that part of the country." —Mike Holt

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Type-out in Boston

Can't make it to the Kalamazoo type-in on September 13? Come to the Boston type-out the same day!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

iDevice owners: time to upgrade to the Hanx Writer?

I don't know if the provenance is legitimate, but honorary Typospherian and Friend of the 'Writer Tom Hanks has supposedly put his name and blessing on a typewriter simulation app for Apple devices.

via Apple

I suppose this is either the pinnacle of pretension, some wry meta-joke on the nature of high tech vs. low tech, or a strange hybrid of the two. For low-tech editing, I personally use an editor designed for coding (naturally monospaced.) For a true simulation, I'd banish the backspace key, but I suppose one needs to take baby steps.

How long before the "dumb blond" jokes get updated? (Putting White-Out on the screen, or carriage returning the iPad across the room.) Any Typospherians out there willing to put it through its paces?

Update: it's currently number one in the Apple App Store. Commenter Mark Adams ( did a screencast and posted it on YouTube. Joe Van Cleve has been trying the Hanx Writer "in the field" by producing typecasts: his review is in three parts so far: part 1, part 2, and part 3.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Palm Beach Post story

This Palm Beach Post story on the endurance of typewriters has lots of good closeup photos with interesting (though occasionally inaccurate) captions.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Follow up to deek's post a few days ago: typewriters are getting serious attention in privacy-minded Germany. Here's one of several similar stories on the topic.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Typewriters in the Mainstream News

I was certainly surprised to see this article pop up. I am curious as to what sort of "special typewriters" the Kremlin is using, but they put in an order for just over $14,000 worth of electric typewriters recently.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

NICE new manual standard typewriters for $100 ...

... Well, new old stock (never used, made in Brazil in 1984). A batch of Facit 1740s are on offer, probably for $100 apiece + shipping. Contact Dave Streko at Thanks to Dan Johnson for providing this information and showing us his machine here. It has some very unusual features.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Typewriter Day 2014

Yes, it's coming up yet again! I got smart this year and put it on my calendar, so there's no chance of it sneaking up on me unawares. Now I have plenty of time to be under-prepared.

I think we're up for a little challenge this year, so by the power vested in me by's admin panel, I hereby declare the "theme" of Typewriter Day 2014 as Type Unconventional, and a more awkwardly-worded phrase I could not hope to have dreamt up.

Your challenge, dear Typospherian, is to mark the passage of Typewriter Day -- Monday, June 23rd -- by using a typewriter in an unconventional manner: be that typing on something other than 20# white or even bypassing paper altogether or working with a broader palette than red and black. It may mean "extreme typing" a la the extreme ironing movement. Or heck, a whole art installation.

These are just ideas, of course, and as stringent and strict as the 'sphere... which is to say, not very much at all. No judging, no prizes, just a chance to unbend your brain a little and celebrate Mr. Sholes' world-changing idea.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

News from Keith Sharon

Dear John,

I’ve never written a Dear John letter. The origin of the term is unknown, but the phrase became popular during World War II when wives and girlfriends in the United States had to write letters to tell their significant-other soldiers that they had found another man.

I have not found another man, but I will be setting out to find another career.

This will be my last Mail Bonding column for the Orange County Register. I wish I could make a list of the reasons why. But those are somewhat murky to me. The Register is shrinking staff, a buyout was offered and I took it, so I wouldn’t be around for the shrinkage. (My last day is June 20, so write quickly!)

I don’t know what will happen to Project 88. I’ll be taking the old Smith-Corona home, and I’m going to come up with a way to use it wisely. A Smith-Corona is a very powerful friend.

I want to thank everyone who became my friend through the mail. We did bond, didn’t we? Between March 17, 2013, and today, I have received 903 letters from 23 states and five countries. I have read and enjoyed every single one of them. They were smart, funny, poignant and displayed a level of heart that I never expected.

Some of them literally made me cry. To all the people who came to the Ink and Bean, my Friday morning coffeehouse sanctuary, I’m glad we got to meet. I’ll try to continue my Friday morning tradition, so there’s still time to come by and say hello. I love that place.

What did I learn through the mail? We all want to connect. We all wish we could find the right words. We all wish we could have people on the other end of our words who would accept them unconditionally ... and write back.

We all appreciate the effort it takes to organize your thoughts, get them down on paper, find a stamp, find an envelope and put our emotions in the mail. We all want to say more than we can say in social media or even in person. Somehow, a letter, when it is done right, can convey so much more than some face-to-face meetings.

The problem with typewriters and mail is, when you have hundreds of people you want to thank, there is no way to do it quickly. I made a list of names, and it got too long. I have a long file cabinet full of letters to which I wish I would have written back.

Thank you for trusting me with your prose.

And I’ll let you in on a secret ... I used a typewriter, but the typewriter wasn’t what Project 88 was all about. Our correspondence was never about the machine, but rather the heart brought out by the machine. It was loud and old and cool and unimportant in the exchange of ideas. I got great letters in pencil. I got a letter written on toilet paper. I got calligraphy. People mailed me books and old photos and confetti.

It got so good, I got addicted to my mailbox. Just after 9 a.m. every day, I would start looking over my shoulder for the mail cart. I would get to the mail cart before the person who sorts the mail.

Some of my best correspondence came from jail, and I could usually tell from the penciled markings in the return addresses if it was going to be a good letter.

And now I’ve got to write an ending, and I don’t have a good ending.

Words fail me.



Friday, May 23, 2014

Selectric I ribbons available

I thought I'd post this here in case typospherians are interested:

Mike Holt ( has thousands of non-correcting IBM Selectric I carbon ribbons that have been stored in a temperature-controlled environment. He is closing his business and wants to sell these, preferably in cartons of 144 ribbons, but in smaller quantities if necessary. I got a carton and they're very nice, new old stock.

These carbon ribbons will work not only on Selectrics, but on many manual typewriters, producing crisp black text. You must make sure that the typewriter advances the ribbon quickly enough to avoid overlap of characters. I have used these ribbons successfully on Olympia SM series, Hermes 3000, Groma Kolibri, Olympia SG1, and others.

If you are interested, please contact Mr. Holt directly.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

2014 London type-in/out

The 2014 London type-in/out will be held in the South Kensington area. The meetingplace will be the Science Museum entrance. If it's raining, we will meet right inside the entrance, otherwise by the benches outside.

The plan then will be: If raining or forecasted to rain, go to the Hoop & Toy pub (same as last year's type-in location). If clear, go to a selected outdoor location with convenient tables and shelters for a type-out.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Slow Type - a story in the East Bay Express

Type-ins, Nietzsche, the typewriter insurgency, California Typewriter, Ton Sison, Richard Polt, QWERTY, Herb Permillion, Terry Gilliam ... this is a good story!

Check it out here.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Call for interviewees

Hi. My name is Adrienne, and I'm a typer noob. I'm also a freelance writer and the Managing Editor of Writer's Digest magazine. I'm currently working on an essay about typewriter enthusiasts—how you share your collections, enthusiasm and thoughts, and how being part of the typewriter insurgency has changed your ideas about object permanence and communication. 

These are really informal back-and-forth conversations; I won't grill you about the history of the Underwood #5 or ask you which typewriter Cormac McCarthy still uses. (But if you know these things, feel free to share them.)

If you have one or more functional manual typewriters, and attend or organize typewriter-related events (like this months' type-in here in Cincinnati), and would like to answer some questions via email (or, in Cincy metro, in person), then please contact me via email at Include your name and "Typewriter Interview" in the subject of your email. 

I look forward to hearing from you. Happy typing!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Type-ins! Basel, Riverside, Portland, Cincinnati

Three Upcoming Type-ins!

1. Basel, Switzerland, March 30:

It's spring again, Basel is calling upon the typosphere! See (some of) you, and stay tuned for our report.

2. Riverside, California, March 30:

3. Portland, Oregon, April 5:

Join other typewriter enthusiasts for an afternoon of analog fun. Meet interesting people. Share stories. Write letters and poems. Win modest door prizes. Bring your machines, have a drink, and celebrate the age of mechanical writing.

Saturday, April 5, noon-3 pm at Velo Cult, 1969 NE 42nd Ave., Portland, OR

4. Cincinnati, Ohio, April 26:

Saturday, April 26, 2014
 Sitwell's Coffeehouse
 324 Ludlow Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45220
 12 - 4 pm
 Questions? email
 Please reach out if you have any questions. An "RSVP" would be awesome, to give us an idea of who might show up. At the very least it looks like the coordinators (Bryan Sherwood and myself) and Richard Polt has marked his calendar as well. Join us for some savory nectar of the bean, and some awesome machines!

First Intercontinental Type-In Basel

It's spring again, Basel is calling upon the typosphere! See (some of) you, and stay tuned for our report.
Update March 30: report.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The soul of a city, typewritten

Hey typospherians,

It’s time for us to pitch in for another worthy cause. St. Louis poet Henry Goldkamp set up 40 typewriters around the city last year to collect the outpourings of its citizens. The project got national attention and now Henry’s ready to collect the results in a book. Let’s help him out, and let’s hope that this is just the beginning of a trend for cities around the world.

—Richard P.


“I love this town and don’t deserve anything that it does for me.” Though I will never know the person who submitted this powerful sentence, I do know what they mean. And I’m here to ask for one more undeserved thing.

After much sweat and ink has dripped from our hands, the time has finally come to reveal the results of What the Hell is Saint Louis Thinking—but we need your help. Through the generous hearts of friends, family, and strangers, WTH was able to do something here in St. Louis that had never been done before. This project, along with so many other awesome happenings in the city, was one of many drawing even more national attention to the place we all love and admire. One submission states: “Could it be that there is a revolution going on in this fine city? The beginning of something bigger than anything that has ever happened to the people?” We believe there is. Let’s continue this revolution. Let’s put St. Louis on their bookshelves.

The submissions from the project are loud as hell. They are shrill, strange cries of virtue and pain. They are blunt advisors on how to live your life. They are baptized in beer. They are one thousand steeples peering down at you making you consider death on a beautiful spring day. They are inspiring & they are heartbreaking. With all this said, the only way you will get to see this is if you donate. So let the generosity flow from the tips of your fingers. Share. Talk about it in bars. Tell your mother.

Let’s finish this.   Finally publish "What the Hell is Saint Louis Thinking?"  You can also find us on facebook and @WTHSTL on twitter.
Henry Goldkamp

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Unplug & Type-In L.A. March 8

Experience the Unplug & Type-In on March 8th from 12-4 pm, in conjunction with the National Day of Unplugging. It is free and fun for all ages!

• Type your own letter, poem, or whatnot.
• Bring your overdue Thank You note and let Erica Di Bona of help you Type it out!
• Request Topacia Althaus of Poem Corner, to type a poem just for you.
• Enter the Word Play Photo Booth and enter our Raffle for typewriter inspired gifts.
• See new "Famous TypOwriters," art featuring the personal writing tools of Ray Bradbury and Orson Welles!
• Ask Ermanno of Star Office Machines or Ruben of US Office Machines, about supplies or repairs for your machine.
• Relish the memories, history and Tell Your Typewriter Story (you're invited to share your story on video if you like.)

L.A. Marler Studio, 3000 Airport Avenue, Santa Monica, CA 90405

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Type Rider II

A new project from Maya Stein, with two typewriters and two poets, helping to build Little Free Libraries in small towns.

Support it on Kickstarter!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The Lost Ancestors of ASCII Art, in the Atlantic

Here's a piece in The Atlantic about pre-ASCII (digital character-based) art, of course featuring some typewriter art and a number of samples. I'm taken by the sample of the concrete/art piece Carnival, one panel of which is shown here.

Of course, Typospherians know that typewriter art is still alive and well, based on the articles that we've posted here. Why not celebrate ITAM* with a little type-art of your own?

* International Typewriter Appreciation Month, of course, all February long!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A typewriting journalist in Geneva

A seldom-heard noise is emanating from a small cubicle at the far end of Press Room One at the Palace of Nations, the imposing home of the United Nations in Geneva.
It's the sound of metal keys clattering against paper, punctuated frequently by the muted ping of a small steel bell.
Gordon Martin, UN Correspondent for Vatican Radio, is writing his latest dispatch on the day's developments at the Geneva 2 peace talks on a 40-year-old Remington Performer manual typewriter.

Monday, January 27, 2014 Search Term Extravaganza

A highly-infrequent and generally snarky look at the search terms that bring people in to the Typosphere site, with attempts at responding to the questions therein:

adjusting typeface typewriter remington

Your first step is to try and determine what model Remington you have. There's likely someone else around who has the same model, or a similar one, and maybe has even done this sort of thing. Did you check the repairs topics here on the site? You're probably looking at adjusting a screw or pair of screws on the mechanism that move up and down. Some typewriters have cushioning material that may have gotten pulverized over the years and needs to be replaced. Back in the days of regular typewriter repair shops, this was probably an easier prospect than it is today.

I suspect that a clever owner could pick up a set of felt washers from the plumbing section of the hardware store and cut a small slit in them from the inner circle to the outside edge, to allow them to be slipped over the shifting rods without any additional disassembly. Actual implementation is left as an exercise to the reader.

are ipods obsolete

Yes! But that's not Apple's fault, necessarily. Blame the march of technological advances, the ease and cheapness of overseas mass assembly, and the drive to always own better/faster/newer. iPods and most other modern devices are obsolete before their release, if you consider that their replacements are already being designed and mapped out. Gone are the days of a "lifetime" device affordable by the average person. You might as well buy a typewriter: it's already obsolete, it will outlive you, and you can share your music with everyone in the room... whether they like it or not. Not since the heyday of the boom box has it been so easy to share!

In all seriousness, though, consider what you really want and what you really need, and buy accordingly. My 1st generation iPod shuffle is lightweight and easily holds enough songs to keep me entertained while walking the dog. And consider whether a single-purpose all-in-one device is worth it to you. I don't have to take my phone with me on dog walks.

define typewriter by four authors.

There's certainly no shortage of typewriter books out there. I personally recommend The Story of My Typewriter by Paul Auster, which is a fairly personal expression of one author's writing machine. I doubt that Mr. Auster feels as strongly about his iPod, if he owns such a thing.

imperial b typewriter ribbon vibrater

 "Vibrator" is the correct spelling: it's the little part that lifts the ribbon up in front of the type bars as you work, and then yanks it out of the way again so you can see.

I just looked up photos of the Imperial B, and I have to say: if you own one of these, it's a lovely machine. Most vibrator problems I've found tend to be from accumulated ink and the grime of time. The Imperial B is a real antique, so be very careful slopping around cleaning fluids and the like. A cotton swab with some mild solvent -- maybe white vinegar? -- might be a good first step. Go slow, and bend nothing.

ink and bean

The name of the cafe that got put on a lot of Typospherians' bucket lists for sure, mine included.

international typewriter day

June 23rd, by popular decree,  although International Typewriter Appreciation Month (ITAM) is coming in February. Hug a typewriter all month!

i put new ribbon on old spools for vintage royal typer but it will only wind lef to right why

Offhand, I'd say you've got them backwards. On most of my portables, the ribbon unspools from the "back" of the spool, as seen by the typist. On my Royal standard, though, they unwind from the front. I have an Underwood portable that does the same thing.

Make sure the ribbon isn't jammed up, and if the typewriter has a ribbon-reverse switch, flip it and see if you can get the spools to turn the other direction. If not, try setting up the spools so they wind/unwind differently. To own a typewriter often means solving a series of puzzles.

manual typewriter rental

For what purpose? If its for a theater prop, there might be some collectors who have suitable machines that can withstand the ill-treatment that a life in the limelight presents. For movies, I would assume your prop house can manage something, though I know some collectors have also loaned or sold era-appropriate models to productions.

repair a olympia corona typewriter

Step 1: figure out if it's an Olympia, or a Corona. If it's both, you may have larger issues than you think.

royal mercury 1939 typewriter

Pretty! If you're buying one on an online auction, make sure the photos are of the actual machine being sold, though. More than a few 'spherians have seen their photos used for fake online auctions.

steve soboroff typewriter collection

Jealousy-inducing. Steve collects celebrity machines -- that is, the machines of and used by celebrities, though I suppose the machines have a fame unto themselves, after a fashion. Their durability can lead to a lifetime of deeds, both infamous and notorious.

typewriter blog

Look over there, on your right. That sea of links? Blogs a-plenty. If you have one, post a link! We'll be happy to add you in.

typewriter dirk plante

Here he is.

typewriter hunter thompson

Here he is. That's a Selectric being threatened.

welcome to the typosphere

You found us!

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