All posts in Typewriters

Paper Typewriter #2


Made of leftover printer paper, scotch tape, and a Hicklebee’s bookstore label.

Paper Typewriter


Made from cardboard, foil tape, various paper.

California Typewriter & handmade notebooks

So I’ve up and moved to California and decided that a visit to California Typewriter is in my near future. Have you been? See the thing is, all my typewriters are in storage, along with everything I own except two shirts and a pen. Must rectify this.

Unrelatedly, I’ve taken up a new hobby of making notebooks, most recently constructed entirely of paper grocery bags, Scotch tape, and cardboard packaging, owing to my lack of personal effects. Behold, a gallery.

So, a new colleague of mine (correction, I am the new one) brought two pristine Olympia typewriters to the office the other day, a Craigslist find, along with a box of accessories I’ve only read about, typewriter oil and ribbon tins, this sort of thing. I was working at my desk and heard typing, this is how I found out about it. Trying to talk her into starting a typewriter club at [my latest tech employer about which You Probably Have a Strong Opinion]. Which has, unexpectedly, an Analog Research Lab full o screenprinting equipment.

That is all.

Paper typewriter

No, I didn’t yet secure the typewriter shack of my dreams due to budgetary constraints. But in the mean time, my kids can enjoy this:

Typewriter Shed

Here’s a theme song for this post.

Drawing typewriters with an iPad and Adobe Ideas

Some of you out there in the typosphere are posessed of drawing skills; I’m not among you, to my sincere regret. Thankfully (oh, the irony) there is, these days, a digital crutch for every weakness (thank you, GPS) and now, with an iPad and Adobe Ideas, you too can draw a pretty good typewriter based on tracing over a photograph, and you won’t even need to scan it when you’re finished. The only hitch? Coming up with more money than God in order to buy one.

I have a feeling most typospherians would do the math on how many fountain pens a single iPad would be worth, and would then take a pass.

Leaving a typewriter behind

350 lbs of deep &^%$ (or, the Great Petaluma Typewriter Haul)
The Underwood Standard Champion

Allow me to follow on this post by saying I’ve never regretted giving a typewriter away. It’s almost always the right thing to do, especially if it’s going to someone who doesn’t already have a spare bedroom full of dusty typewriter cases lying about, and is new to the hobby. If the Underwood Standard Champion was this guy’s first typewriter, I could just tell by the look in his eye, it won’t be his last.

Anyway, I reason that leaving a 50 lb analog writing machine behind at a giant software corporation as a parting gesture imparts a certain je ne sais quoi.

Favorite typewriter presents

I have a couple of friends who are artists, and on top of that very generous people who always make amazing handmade birthday gifts for friends and relatives. Today we had a thing for my birthday, for which they gave me the following card and present.

My crappy cell phone camera doesn’t really demonstrate properly that this is 3-D and even the keys are punched out and angled upward:

This is about three feet wide and quite impressive to behold, each of the keys is actually a frame with a removable glass window for putting pictures, etc., although I’m likely to keep it just the way it is. They cut all the pieces by hand:

Wowza. What typewriter gifts have y’all gotten from people? For example, I know Duffy Moon’s wife made him a typewriter cake once which I’ve just tried in vain to find online somewhere…

Seattle type-in: July 30

I entirely neglected to mention many things about this outing, such as Elizabeth’s collection of fountain pens (including this Lamy Safari that I have coveted for some time), and a couple of crude nicknames that somehow materialized (one based on something very dumb that I said, alas). Mike Speegle, welcome to Washington.

Whoops, one more addition, just learned that Adwoa was in virtual attendance before I even arrived. Sorry to have missed you! Also, we forgot to go to the Fremont antique mall, folks.

Oh man, now I have to update “my typewriters: a list” at left…

Tricked out typers: the gold rush is on

Amendment to this post: note that it is not a critique or endorsement. It’s an observation about marketing strategy. OK, with that said:

I’m going to officially declare (where are the officials to make this official?) that we’ve arrived at a tipping point in the sale of tricked out typers online with my recent discovery of Kasbah Mod (thanks to a colleague for the tip). “Now the Biggest Retailer of Ace-Quality Vintage Typewriters in New York City.” (The biggest? To set itself apart from the crowded New York market for vintage refurbed typewriters?) Let’s set discussion of prices aside (their prices seem pretty standard for refurbed typewriters aimed at non-collectors) and focus on the hot rod paint jobs (click through to page two for some notable examples, the site doesn’t let one link to specific machines). Typewriters have been marketed as style pieces for some time, but I think New York is taking this to a new level at the moment (Brady & Kowalski is another example), and I’d be shocked if other businesses don’t soon follow suit.

Perhaps the market has been goosed by Jessica Bruder’s New York Times piece with which most typecastinistas are familiar, appearing as it did on the style page. Let me say this: although the typosphere has been painting ‘writers for some time, note that New York has fired the starting gun on a general trend of bucks to be made from refurbished, repainted typewriters, marketed stylishly, and promoted on teh social medias to the young whippersnappers. Mind you, this is a different spin than sturdy machines for serious writers (which is how typewriter resellers have marketed them up to this turning point), and depends upon eye-catching paint jobs and gorgeous web sites (eBay won’t do. Is there a web site, incidentally, that is uglier and more out-of-date looking than eBay?).

If you’re handy with web design, a paint gun and three-in-one oil, I suggest you grab your gold pan and start sifting up big profits in your neck of the woods.