Here I go about that wedding again! But seriously: this time it is totally related to our core topic.
The bride and groom are crafty DIY types, and made all their own centerpieces, decor (including 1000 paper cranes) and gift bags. Additionally, they set up an art table that contained two typewriters (on loan from yours truly), a stack of paper, a box of stickers and stamps, pens, and a guest book (hand bound, natch) into which people affixed their typewritten sentiments. The resulting guest book was beyond charming, and people clearly had a great time with the typewriters. After the wedding, I gave the orange Olympia to them as a wedding gift.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
So, I want to learn how to properly rewind typewriter ribbon onto old spools. Since I'm hearing the spools are an endangered species, this will be a handy skill. Anyone care to document the process? I know you photography people have this kind of thing down cold. There is a shop rather close to where I work that services manual typewriters, and I'm stopping in tomorrow to see about a ribbon for the Royal 10, so we'll see.
Has everyone already seen the Blickensderfer typewriter brochure?
A random article I found about the author of The Iron Whim.
So: do you think that adding some editorial oversight to Wikipedia is really "a cultural tipping point for online communities?"
PS, I survived the wedding toast. It even made this comic.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Look away while you still can...
This youtube film depicts the key-by-key evisceration of a Royal by a typewriter key cutter. "How many words per minute can you type on your bracelet?" says a commenter. Touché!
In cheerier news, I saw links to this vintage typewriter repair kit all over the Twitter today.
Just forced the husband to compare typing action on an Olympia SM9, a Hermes 3000, and a Smith-Corona Silent-Super. Oh, how the loved ones of a typeophile pay for our sins.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
To this I might add, congratulations to my dearest friend. I'm sure I'll man up for this occasion. Just had to panic on paper for a bit...
Oh, and here's a dumb top-40 list of obsolete technology from MSNBC for your enjoyment, complete with yet another of the many endless references to that apocryphal NY Post story about typewriters and the NYPD.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Letters & Journals magazine is a quarterly publication that is currently in the planning stages for a release date* of late 2010.
The magazine plans to tackle paper-based topics such as stationery product reviews, personal correspondence, journal keeping, notebooks and postcards, and more-- currently the blog is tracking its development toward publication. I'm looking forward to the chance to read about some of my favorite topics in print. Spread the word and get involved: if you want to cast your vote for what should be included in the magazine, take the Letters & Journals survey.
Speaking of print publications, Silent Type will see a flurry of design and assembly activity late this month and early September. I have been recently sidetracked with planning for a wedding, at which I am the best (wo)man (the groom is the one upon whom I'm leaning for print layout expertise, and thus you can understand the temporary hiatus). Those of you who did not send something for this issue, but still wanted a copy, we'll make sure you're covered.
One more thing: here's a timely link to a blog written by someone committed to writing a letter every day of this year.
*You know you are in the software industry when you use the term "release date" to refer to a magazine.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
So, there are seven standard typewriters on my front lawn.
(At this early juncture in the post, I stop to hereby declare myself Winner of Most Typewriters Acquired In One 24 Hour Period. I dare anyone to challenge my claim to this dubious distinction-- although firstly, we need to calculate our collecting handicap scores if Olivander is involved in this challenge.)
What's your maximum TPD* score?
The machines hail from a Petaluma museum that had chosen to disgorge its collection of dusty typing artillery (I heard about this deal through a colleague at work. I ask, what would you have done?). Somewhere in a vague e-mail exchange, 4 typewriters became 7, and three months later, 350 lbs of standard typewriters found their way to my front lawn.
Typeophiles of the Pacific Northwest, are any of you coughcough interested in a machine?
Some of them seem to work. Some of them seem to need work. I am no expert in these matters. Perhaps I will truck them all down to Ace Typewriter to get a medical opinion. Really, I just want to keep one. Which one?
*Typewriters per day
Thursday, August 6, 2009
When last we spoke on the matter of Silent Type, "Journal full of typed stuff ™" your submissions had been read, categorized, and cataloged. Now begins the Fooling Around With the Design portion of our project. Behold the first mockup of the cover:
Photo credits go to Olivander (back cover) and Speculator (front). Swell pictures, fellows. I really like the way it looks. I plan to spend some time this weekend with a friend more talented than I in the art of document layout to assist with questions such as "how the *&^ do I bind this thing?" and "what kind of cover paper won't peel all funny at the spine?" Copies of this anachronistic, paper-based publication will be in your mailbox before you know it (as in, a random date prior to Sept 30th).
Oh, you had your doubts. But the thing is? Strikethru GETS IT DONE! (well, eventually.)
I think that this Sotto Voce post is very interesting. If you haven't read it yet, do. I'll be checking his comments section for your opinion of the Seth Godin "bandwidth-sync correlation" chart.
The first Carnival of Pen, Pencil & Paper is live. Check it out!
Here is a photo of Dennis and Matt McCormack of Ace Typewriter in Portland, OR. It was taken by Jake Shivery of Blue Moon Camera & Machine.
Elsewhere on Flickr are still more interesting photos related to typewriters. I have said it before and I will say it again-- Flickr is definitely the best social-media website there is. And here's why: related to the Sotto Voce post, it transforms ephemeral information into an organized and (digitally) permanent resource, retaining its value. Compared to this, Twitter is like a Letterpress type cabinet knocked over in an earthquake.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Like many an angst-consumed undergrad before and since, I carried a journal with me at all times during college. It was exclusively the Ampad 8x5 80-page Single Subject Notebook. Nothing else would do.
Into the Ampad, I scrawled stream-of consciousness meditations on melodrama, depression, broken heartedness, tirades directed at friends, and other timeless themes of youth. I filled it with never-sent letters to fickle college boys. I filled it with obsessive, cartoonish illustrations of common objects. I filled it with names and phone numbers and addresses for employers who never hired me and houses that never rented me a room.
The Ampad notebooks were all purchased from the bookstore at my university. When I finally graduated and moved away, I could not locate the nondescript, green-covered Ampad 8x5 notebooks anywhere-- and I looked everywhere. Sure, there were Ampad notebooks, and 8x5 notebooks, and single subject notebooks with narrow rules, but none of them were all of these things at once. It may be no coincidence that I stopped writing in journals not long after college.
15 years later, I found it once again: the Ampad 8x5, sitting innocently in a great, abundant stack in another university bookstore 800 miles to the North.
I purchased several at once. But at this point, I was married. I was a mother. I had worked in corporate America for 10 years. I hadn't written in a journal since I was a semi-nomadic, underemployed college town romantic with literary delusions.
What would I say?
If you hang around Yahoo's portable typewriter forum, you may have heard of Jay Respler of Advanced Business Machines. As a typewriter and ribbon retailer (see below for contact information), Jay has more insight than your average anxious typist regarding the future of the typewriter ribbon. I asked him a few questions on behalf of those of us who wonder what the future of typewriter ribbons will be -- if there is one.
Q: What is the current state of typewriter ribbon manufacturing?
A: One of the major manufacturers closed down at year end . Most of the special order items that they offered are no longer being made anywhere. There are just a couple of manufacturers left offering just a few items.
Q: What is the future of the typewriter ribbon?
A: The problem is not the ribbon, it's the spool. Spools for many different machines use a 1/2" ribbon. Most of the spools are being discontinued. However, If you have the old spools I should be able to supply new ribbon to go on those spools for a long time. There IS a problem though with ribbon cartridges. Many of those are discontinued. Right now I have the largest selection of ribbons in the world, including many no longer available from the manufacturers. Once those are gone, there will be no easy way to use those machines.
Q: Do you recommend that people re-ink existing ribbons?
A: I never re-ink ribbons. Much too messy and time consuming. Also, the fabric wears and won't print right even if re-inked. The only exception would be if you absolutely can't get the correct ribbon to fit a machine.
After adding the cost of the supplies, time to set up and re-ink, and time to clean up, you could be paying a lot more than the cost of a new ribbon.
Q: What are some signs that you have the wrong typewriter ribbon in your typewriter?
A:Top/bottom of letters are cut off. Ribbon doesn't feed freely. Ribbon does not look like original spool or illustration in Owner Manual.
Q: What are some common ribbon troubleshooting tips that you’d recommend for people who are having trouble installing or using their ribbons?
A: Check that ribbon is installed as shown in the Owner Manual. They go in different ways, so there is no one description to fit them all. Always buy from a servicing dealer who can support what they sell. Many users go to clueless superstores and then complain when they can't get help.
Q: What is the best way for a non-expert to determine what kind of ribbon their typewriter needs?
A: Check my:
TYPEWRITERS ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA
RIBBON SPOOLS - ILLUSTRATIONS
ELECTRIC and ELECTRONIC TYPEWRITER RIBBON CARTRIDGES and Correction Tapes page 1
ELECTRIC and ELECTRONIC TYPEWRITER RIBBON CARTRIDGES and Correction Tapes page 2
Notes from Jay:
Geocities is closing down soon, so all those pages will soon change to another location. Anyone needing a ribbon should contact me to find the current web site.
For anyone interested in old typewriters, I recommend joining the TYPEWRITERS collector email list on yahoo. TYPEWRITERS is the oldest and largest forum for collectors of desktop and portable typewriters. There are occasional questions on related items too. On TYPEWRITERS, members can ask questions about anything they would like to know more about.
ADVANCED BUSINESS MACHINES CO.
SKY VIEWS & TYPEWRITERS ILLUSTRATED ENCYCLOPEDIA
Freehold, New Jersey USA