30 Mar 2014

save the date: london type-in/out

you'll know where, when the time is safe
but for now, there's still 50 days

28 Mar 2014

How a bad thing can be a perfect opportunity

The real challenge will be taking this apart. It looks a bit daunting.

[edit] Taking this apart was pretty simple. It's easier than it looks—you just have to find the right screws.

Sent from my new Olivetti Studio 42

27 Mar 2014

Typewriters through Many Eyes

Brian from BrumTypia shared two visualizations of his collection on his blog earlier today. The bar chart that I had planned to make for my collection paled in comparison to his bubble charts. I'm glad I was spared the embarrassment. Well, not really. But these look a lot better and are also more useful. Based on all the typewriters I have entered into the typewriter database (which is the vast majority of my collection although it includes a few typewriters I intend to sell soon, but it's a good data set.)

I made my bubble charts using a website by IBM. I thought that I'd never run into them again, but here I have! It's called Many Eyes and is quite useful, though it's been around for years and looks a bit dated. Who cares about that since it's free and fun to use.

The first one shows my collection by manufacturer, so for example, Consul shows as 4 because I included my Speedwriter which was manufactured by Consul. Nakajima has 1 because my Olympia B-12 belongs there. Smith-Corona includes Corona, and is an expected winner since I'm from the United States.

The second shows them by manufacturing country. It's interesting how these charts can condense information about 75 typewriters into such a simple graphic. It makes me feel like my collection isn't quite so large, perhaps. ;) It also makes me realize that I need to buy more East German typewriters!

I've been pondering about the German typewriter industry lately. Germany is a large country with a manufacturing history, but not going back as far as the US or UK. Why then did they have more long-lived typewriter manufacturers (basically I mean beginning before WWI and stretching at least to WWII) than any other country? The US was down to about 6 (Smith-Corona, Royal, Remington, Underwood, Woodstock, IBM) by the time WWII started, while Germany had at least twice as many. I won't try to count because I'm sure to miss a few!

25 Mar 2014

Forced hand

The only problem with the paper is that the perforations are awful, as you can see. I can usually get a clean tear, but there are the inevitable messy ones.

I've started handwriting so much more since I've begun using fountain pens. I think that their decline in popularity is a shame, because writing with them is genuinely enjoyable. But pen choice is not much of an issue at this time—the bigger choice is to handwrite at all.

Sent from my Союз авторучка with some purplish/purply/purple-like J Herbin ink.

24 Mar 2014

Torpedo with coffee cup keys

1963 Torpedo 18b 1278357

a *wink* to the instigator of this title.

For those unaware, the keys are ordinary Remington keys from the era. Remington purchased Torpedo around 1930 and introduced the Torpedo range of portables, although Remington links were not obvious until around the time this was made. My late Torpedo was made very soon after the style was switched. Later ones were built in Holland and aren't quite as good. This is more similar to the previous style of 18 than an SM5 is to an SM3, for comparison.

Sent from my late Torpedo 18b

19 Mar 2014

100 typewriter typefaces compared

It just happened that I currently have 100 type specimens scanned at 200dpi, which is a perfect number for an analysis of typewriter typefaces. These have all been taken from typewriters either in my collection, formerly in my collection, or other opportunities I have taken.

Depending on how your browser renders png images and how fast your connection is, it might be best to wait a few seconds for the page to load before scrolling down.

elite and smaller typefaces

pica and larger typefaces

Measuring width only, the Adler Contessa's Pica is the largest pica in my collection, and my Hermes 3000's Director Pica is the smallest. The Olympia SM9's Congress Elite is the largest elite and the Hermes 3000's Director Elite is the smallest. For these comparisons, I am not including the Piclite typeface used on many Brother machines because it really is neither pica nor elite. The difference between the largest elite and smallest pica is actually smaller than the difference found among elite typefaces.

The typefaces you see do not represent the complete range of sizes that were available. I only have 14cpi to 6cpi typefaces, but 21cpi, 17cpi, and 5cpi typewriters were produced, as well as 9cpi and 8cpi typefaces which I have none of.

German typewriters tend to have the largest type, Italian typewriters also have large type, American typewriters have smaller type, but the smallest is found on Hermes typewriters. Japanese typewriters are not represented well enough here to make a conclusion for them.

I have solved the grey cast problem—I am now saving my typecasts as 256 color png files.

Sent from 100 typewriters.

18 Mar 2014

Everest of Brazil

1948 Everest Mod. 90 148373

There were quite a few rust spots visible on the paint, enough to be rather distracting. I decided that using my painting pen to cover them up would not be compromising the story and condition of the typewriter, and I'm glad I did it because it really improves the appearance, yet you can still see where the rust is because the paint doesn't match perfectly.

Sent from my new Everest Mod. 90

17 Mar 2014


When I upload my typecasts they get a slight grey cast on them now, and I don't know why. I haven't changed anything I'm doing and re-editing the scans in photoshop to make them lighter does nothing.

Sent from this typewriter