Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Typewriters

Karen

RemRand 006

A Rhodia fan recently in touch mentioned in addition to fountain pens he also uses and collects typewriters.  A kindred spirit!

I love my fountain pens, but I also enjoy seeing and using my six manual typewriters from time to time. I love their fonts.  I love the feeling of hitting a key and constructing a word.

I feel such a connection to my words when I write either by pen or keystroke.  Each letter is so deliberate and can’t be easily erased–so unlike an iPhone text or computer keyboard.  There is a romance to pens and typewriters–we have a relationship with them; they have a personality and help us to express ours as we write with them.

How does writing by a fountain pen or typewriter make you feel vs. a computer keyboard?

 

 


4 thoughts on “Typewriters

  1. When I was in college – before PCs – typed essays were required. I thought – and still think – it was foolishness. How much time was wasted typing and re-typing?

    But I seem to have mellowed with age, and the house is now crowded with typewriters. One allegedly belonged to Col. McCormack of the Chicago Tribune, another is the “typist’s typewriter” – a Hermes Ambassador that I acquired still in its original shipping crate. I doubt it has typed a dozen pages, although it is far more than 50 years old.

    A computer is a vastly more efficient tool. I’m currently revising a 100+ page contract. It is a challenge with a PC; I shudder at the chore it would be with my old Hermes.

    But oh those old machines are fun – all that intricate machinery, the hammering of keys, the clang of the return bell, and the zip of the carriage return. As a bonus, typing well – reaching a good speed and with high accuracy – requires a special form of concentration. Zen, they say.

    As for those looking for a machine, Goodwill and Salvation Army stores are good hunting grounds, as is http://www.shopgoodwill.com. Look for Royal, Smith Corona, Underwood and Olympia manuals. Electrics don’t seem to hold up well, unless used and serviced regularly. Hermes machines are very nice, but are a bit trendy, and a bit more expensive. Of course, “expense” is relative. $20 or 30 will usually buy a nice old portable; shipping might cost more than the machine itself.

    Good words to you!

  2. I have been given two antique typewriters as gifts in recent years – a Royal and an Underwood. One of these days I will teach myself to repair them and use them for writing and correspondence.

    As a workaround, I have lately been writing at the computer in plain text format, with my email and notifications turned off. I then print out what I’ve written and revise by hand.

    I never really thought about the benefits of not having a delete key and allowing oneself to be more deliberate in the words put down on the page. Perhaps I will tape over my delete key and see how this works for me. Not a perfect substitute for the original, but it might come close.

  3. I would love to have a manual typewriter.

    To me it’s like the difference between using a digital camera and a film camera.

    With film you have to get it all right at the time you took the picture, it’s frozen in time once you press the shutter.

    It’s a lot harder than using digital these days!

    It would be lovely to create some original Filofax inserts with a typewriter instead of a computer !

  4. There is something soothing about typing on a typewriter. One has to be more deliberate in constructing each sentence. There is no quick “Undo”.

    I find my thought process changes in a good way. There is no distraction to check email or Google any thought that pops in your head.

    Computers are great but using a typewriter can be cathartic.

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