Thursday, 1 November 2012

A prophetic word from the 1980s...

I've had this cartoon since the mid 1980s.  It was in a Sunday supplement in a newspaper, and I cut it out because I liked the message.  I used to keep it in a college folder with my computer notes, and came across it again recently.

See if it strikes a chord with you - especially you Underwood devotees...

I think that I might get it framed!

Monday, 29 October 2012

The photo of the Good Companion...

... and the chutney pan.  I've tried some.  It's an acquired taste.  

It might get better when it has stood in a darkened cupboard for a while, or if it is the only food available after an apocalypse.  Something like that.  Definitely and acquired taste.

My new companion is a Good Companion...

...and a lovely one too - with some little issues, but not too many.  It is a number 7, and only cost me £3.

You can read the story on the right.  But I warn you, if the ribbon problems annoy you half as much reading it as it did when I was typing it, you might end up wishing you hadn't started it.

I do especially like the unusual keys - my Royal Diana does have the dead key for the accent, but none of the others in my collection have them.

Whilst tinkering with it, sadly, the chutney burnt slightly on the stove.  I've still bottled it, and will tell people that it is supposed to taste like that... small price to play for getting the ribbon to work properly.

I'll upload a photo of it later, when my camera is to hand.

Friday, 26 October 2012

A little update...

(typed on a little notelet the size of a Rolodex card... smaller than I realised, so the last line got a bit chopped - it should have said 'Typed on the Kitchen Typewriter').

Typewriters in the classroom...

Another exciting first - my first scanned image!  It is of an A5 piece of writing paper - but the scanner seems to have cropped the edges nicely, so that you can't tell at first glance that it is real paper.

I'll keep you up-to-date with how my typewriters in the classroom experiment goes!

(PS - I realise how sexist it sounds talking abouot interesting the boys in the mechanics - that flows out of my conversation with the Headteacher... she was telling me about a recent music lesson where the inner workings of the piano enthused a group of boys.  They went from not being interested to wanting to try it for themselves, just because they could see how it all worked). 

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Selectric Sorrows

I'm sorry that I have not blogged for almost a month - and that I am almost a month behind in reading other people's blogs.

It's not that I have had an exciting life - just busy with this-and-that, too much work and not enough time in which to do it.

Still, what I have had time to do is to extend my collection a little bit... with two Selectrics.  Sadly, neither of them work.

I think that the motor in both of them works.  They certainly fire up, and Selectric Correcting III has lovely lights that light up on the pitch scale.  

That's it on the right, looking all lovely and red.  Below you can see the other one - a Selectric II.  This one has a black case, which I have removed to tinker with.

I know almost nothing about them, but I do know enough to realise that the cords should be connected to the print/ribbon mechanism rather than merely resting on the keyboard!

The red one doesn't have dangling cables... instead it seems to be tightly wound around a cog inside.

As I mentioned above, I know almost nothing about Selectrics... but I do hope that someone out there in the typosphere might be able to point me in the right direction to get at least one of them working.

Is there anyone in the UK who can repair such a beast?  I've not managed to find one anywhere, despite searching on the Internet and looking though the Yellow Pages.

If I can get one repaired I already have a selection of golfball printheads to use, and several ribbons - enough to keep using it for years to come!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Electric Dreams...

... living in electric dreams!

My new SCM Smith-Corona Coronet has arrived - all shiny and lovely.

The card gripped in the machine tells of the woes that go with it (but for a short time only I hope), and, as you will see, another machine had to supply the typecast.

Still, if I get too desperate I can always take it into the bathroom and use the shaver socket - it has a switch to enable it to use 110v.

As long as I wasn't sat IN the bath using it I would be fine!

Imagine explaining that to the ambulance crews...

Thursday, 27 September 2012


Well, it seems that it has been ages since I last blogged - it is all the fault of being to too busy at work and also having 'an upset stomach' (let the reader understand).

I can't wait for the new scanner...
Our new Network Scanner has not arrived yet, so I am still photographing my typecast.  I must chase up the company - they are delivering and installing our new copier/printer/scanner and taking away the old ones (the new one does the job of two).

I typed my typecast on my Royal Diana.  It has sat sadly neglected until I bought it recently, and it needs some tender loving care:  it will soon be right-as-rain.

You can see it in the photo below on one of my desks.  It looks perfect there, but I would prefer a desktop machine, so after I have nurtured it a bit it will be moved round to a better home.

As usual, please ignore the stuff in the background of the photo!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

The perfect accessory for the Typospherian who has everything.

I hope the above is readable - one day soon I will sort my scanner out, and then I can just scan the typing rather than photographing it.

Anyway... here is the case...

As you can see it is the perfect size to carry around - much smaller than a full-sized brief case.

None of the photos show it, but there is a handle on the top.

Such a kind gift!

Monday, 10 September 2012

Gestetner and Typewriter - machines in perfect harmony.

On reflection, perhaps I should have left the ribbon engaged for the above post - it might have made it more readable!

I hope you can manage to understand it - especially if you are the fellow blogger mentioned.

The Gestetner is a wonderful invention, allowing typists to produce multiple copies of their work by the simple addition of a stencil to type on and (what feels like) a ton of carefully engineered gears, levers, cogs and rollers.

I don't know if you can make it out, but there is a crack in the framework just to the left of the gold Gestetner logo.  Perhaps it got dropped at sometime in its long life... but it still soldiers on, working perfectly and never missing a beat.

Needless to say I have several boxes of stencils and half-a-dozen tubes of ink, so it could go on working for many years to come.

I also have the younger brother, made in the 1970s, which is essentially the same but in a lovely beige colour and more enclosed.  That one was made on the cusp of the manual/electric office world, and so can be wound with a handle or electricity (I actually have two of the 1970 ones - I just realised... I might collect Gestetners).

The one we use now in the office was made about 10 years ago, and is disguised as a photocopier... but I know that underneath it is the same jumble of gears, levers, cogs and rollers.

I'll let you know what Anthony (from the company who looks after it for us) thinks about it.

A shiny shilling says that he is impressed.  Or, at the very least, nonplussed.

Pip pip.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Channelling the Spirit of Jessica Fletcher

A plot worthy of Murder She Wrote?

This typewriter is the Grandfather of my collection.  It's around 100 years old, and it has a story to tell.

I've owned it for the last 20 years, and it was found by my friends Margaret and Phil when they were digging in their new garden.  It was wrapped in some tarpaulin, which had protected it somewhat, but the previous owner of the house had cast it out and used it as land-fill.  The horror.

They gave it to me, and I spent several days cleaning it up - including plunging parts of it in an oil bath for several days. The intensive care worked, and it was brought back to life.  

It does carry the scars of its rough treatment:  the left-hand margin indicator has broken off (interestingly, on this model, the left-hand margin indicator is on the right-hand side); the backspace key no longer engages properly; and the spacebar travels that little bit too far (and the screw that would allow me to alter that has been a little bit destroyed by being buried.

But I love it, for all its faults.  

It is a beautiful piece of machinery - look at the architectural stateliness of the design... 

Look at the beautiful openness and roundness of the font...

Look at that fantastic little wheel on the lower left - perfect for winding the ribbon on.  

I'm going to give it a new ribbon later.  I think it deserves it, even though it has a fiendishly convoluted route for the ribbon to travel.  

I honestly can't imagine anyone wanting to throw it out!

Thursday, 6 September 2012

The Joys of owning a Shed

I have a shed - and it doesn't contain any gardening tools (they live in the garage).

If anything, it is a bit too 'woody'.  When time - and money - permit, I intend to insulate it and clad the inside with something that can be painted.  I'm thinking white, or off-white.

It is a little escape.  What you can't see on the photo is the other piece of furniture in there - a three-seater sofa.  Very comfy.  Ideal for a cup of tea made on the camping stove.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Very Small, Far Away

Can you just make out a typewriter on the desk in the photo?  It's not a good photo - and, again, not cropped - but I hope that you can see it.

It is less than an inch across... it is on a desk in a small glass-fronted box that I put together for my mother.  Since she died it has hung on my living room wall.

I thought it was wonderful to come across such a small machine that actually looks as though it is based on a real-life prototype.

The kit (for such it was) was made out of white-metal, and I painted it and glued it together myself - and got a great deal of fun out of it all.  The 'tobacco' in the ash tray is really tea leaves.

That's all for today.

Pip pip.

PS - this typewriter and office combo don't count towards the ones I mentioned yesterday!

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

This is the aforementioned Kitchen Typewriter.  It is an Olivetti M44, and has a lovely type action - a nice firm clack clack clack as I produce my shopping list. 

Of course, the list stays in the machine for several days, so it is usually a curly piece of paper that I end up taking to the shops with me.  But at least it's legible.

The machine was a gift - I had been chatting to an elderly acquaintance of mine, who would hate to be described as elderly, but there you go, and we were discussing the joys of typewriters.  A couple of weeks later I came home to find this joyous beastie waiting for me on the doorstep.  It's not the strangest thing I've ever found there, but that's another story.  After asking around a bit I discovered that it was she who was the anonymous donor.

It didn't need much of a clean, and with a new ribbon sparked straight into life.  That's one of the joys of a manual typewriter:  it sits there, coiled like a coiled thing, ready to spring into life at the touch of a key.

I've never asked it, but I'm sure that it would say that it is happy getting nearly daily use in the kitchen.  It had nightmares about becoming jewellery, but it knows it's safe here.

PS I've not yet got the hang of cropping photos... so ignore everything else you see loitering near the Olivetti!
Dear World

I'm going to try and join the typosphere and start blogging.  

Being one of life's collectors the smallest thing can set me off.  If you've got one thing, that's nice.  Two - well, then you've got a spare, just in case; three?  Three! now that's the start of a collection.

I've more telephones than I can shake a stick at, and a couple of weeks ago I realised that I collect typewriters... I went round the house and counted fourteen.   Most of them get used regularly - the one in the kitchen, for instance, is used for keeping a running note of items for the shopping list.  And why not?

During the course of our correspondence I hope to introduce you to some of my collection (which encompasses anything office), and to tell you why it is all important to me.

I hope you're well and keeping out of mischief.  

Pip pip.

PS I've yet to work out how to upload photos - but I shall unleash wonders onto a waiting world when I do.