Wednesday, February 5th, 2014



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 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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