Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Typewriters

Last Human To Use Two Spaces
At End Of Sentence Dies


This parody-obituary is funny but actually not true -- I use a typewriter and leave two spaces after a period.

Last week I saw a terrific documentary ("California Typewriter") about people who still use typewriters. Tom Hanks is in the movie; he has hundreds of typewriters in his collection.

Have you ever used a manual typewriter? Do you know how? At the end of a line, the machine makes a noise (DING!) and you move down to a new line by pulling the "carriage return" from left to right. The act is fun and becomes automatic once you get used to doing it. Like shifting gears on a motorcycle.

I currently own only one typewriter but plan on getting two more. They are great collectibles: not only do they represent history but they can be used today for writing letters, etc.

23 comments:

  1. I had an old typewriter and nearly had a heart attack when I invited the neighbor and her monster children over for a lunch date.... only to find them BANGING on the keys. Le sigh.

    ANYWAY, it's a beautiful lost art. I haven't heard of this documentary, but will search for it. I'd love to use a typewriter again--I'm addicted to that ding noise :)

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  2. I learned how to type on a typewriter, my school still had typewriters even though computers were fully in use at that point in time. I enjoyed typing on the typewriter and would totally do it if I had the opportunity.

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  3. I learned how to use one at school but we had electronic ones so I guess that isn't the same. My parents had a very old one that I think they gave away and reading this makes me wish I'd asked for it. That ding noise brings back memories.
    Hope you find more and if so, you'll do a post with pics. As you say it represents history but is still useful.

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  4. My family used to have one, and I believe I used it at some point just for fun. I really want to get one though! I just love the look of them.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Many people buy them now purely for decoration. I get that.

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  5. I learned to type on a manual typewriter, although I must add that I wasn't very good at it. It might have been the only subject I failed in at high school. Later, when I started working, my colleague had an ancient manual machine, which was impossible to use. I do love vintage typewriters (well, I guess they're all vintage now!) and I have my granddad's old Corona, dating from the late 1920s/early 1930s, which I treasure very much. xxx

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    1. Lucky you! I'd love to see a picture of that Corona. Regarding your comment about all typewriters being "vintage now," it's interesting to learn that there are NEW typewriters being made for sale today.

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    2. I did a post about it once, Ally. Here's the link, so that you can have a look: https://polyester-princess.blogspot.be/2016/05/my-corona.html

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  6. My son Miles is into history in a big way. He bought himself a little portable from a secondhand stall after seeing and passing up many for being too expensive. We ordered ribbons online but I must say installing it was a messy business as we figured it all out! Nothing like getting hands on.
    I used a typewriter all through University and don't miss the days of retyping pages due to one tiny mistake.
    It was fun to relive the old days and feel ancient with my son.
    I wish you well in your search!
    xo Jazzy Jack

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    1. Yes, there were downsides to the technology. We look back with rose-tinted glasses.

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  7. I started out in HS on an old Underwood. It weighed a ton.
    When I went to college I had a tiny portable. It had a small carrying case. Both of these old dogs had a number of skewed keys that always came up blurry.
    When I started in practice we used electric machines and reports often had multiple tissue copies. I would dictate and get a double spaced draft and them make all corrections and edits before going to final. The final had a white original and ecru, pink, green, blue tissues for copies. We also had a supply of "White Out" in all different colors. If the secretary made an error she had to fix it but if I wanted to make an edit in a 'final' report or pleading the degree of stink eye I would get was significant.
    Pat

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    1. I started practicing in 1982 and have similar stories. There was always a cost/benefit analysis done when deciding whether to correct a page with errors as the secretary would get upset, especially near quitting time. Thanks for sharing.

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  8. My mom forced me to take 2 years of typing in junior high (grades 9 and 10), and I was relegated to the manual typewriters because I was slow. It was my worst subject, even worse than PE! She said learning to type would come in handy later in life, and yup, she was right!

    I got an electronic typewriter as a grad gift in 1985 (it was an IBM Selectric, and was VERY expensive at the time), as I wanted to be a writer. I actually used it far more to type papers for other students to earn a little cash. I remember having to turn the fresh sheet of paper over and lightly scrawling a line across the bottom so I wouldn't type off the end of the page!

    Here's another oldie for you, Ally - Gestetner Machines! Remember those purple-ink copies that had that distinctive smell (there's a scene in Fast Times at Ridgemont High where the kids all smell the sheet that the teacher has just handed out), before photocopiers existed? I used to type on those sheets in university in my Creative Writing class to make copies (copiers were so expensive - 25 cents a page!), and they cost 15 cents a sheet. You put this clear activating colour in the Gestetner, clamped your purple-typed page into it and spun the handle around to make those purple ink copies. At one time I had that on my resume under skills! ha!

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    1. I used to mark the bottom too so I'd know when to stop!

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  9. I own three type writers !!!
    In school I had to type up some papers in the manual and then in an electric typewriter I loved the sound of the keys.

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  10. I used to have a typewriter and totally want another one!!!!

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    1. Get one! They're not expensive. $50-150.

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  11. My mom had a typewriter in her home office. I used to sneak back there and mash all the keys down because I loved how it looked when all the hammers stuck together.

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  12. I had a lovely typewriter as a child and we lOVED the clattery old one that my grandparents had at their house- we used to type for hours!!! I used an electric typewriter to type out my A Level history project on!

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  13. I have the typewriter I learned to type on back in 1978 ... It stands in my craft room and I just managed to get a new ribbon for it but it has seen its day unfortunately and is not working wonderfully. I would love to buy a new one ... you get them in scrapbook shops as I love the look of typewriter fonts.

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    1. Oh yes ... and I even put two spaces after a period on my laptop. That is how we were taught to type.

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