Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Update Just to Update


Post-Script: I had a pleasant distraction while writing my treatment for the Cold Hard Type project, which was that the co-owner of the Rust is Gold coffee shop asked me to type some index cards with names of coffee beans that they roast, for a photo shoot she was doing. I was happy to oblige.


They have a cool motorcycle display, that changes every once in a while, as a local club meets there.


One of the adjoining booths sells '70s HiFi and guitar stuff. Pretty cool.


As you can see in the top photo, I wrote my treatment on the Royal Mercury (the more recent one I'd acquired), but this typecast today was written on the old Underwood Portable.


Yesterday, while working on the video about the typing platform, I pushed my office chair back and tipped over the folding tray table, with Underwood atop it, which crashed to the floor. Luckily it is hardwood with a rug on top. The machine doesn't appear harmed at all, which surprised me. Gotta be more careful!

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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Thoughts From the Man Cave


Post-Script: I was given this worn copy of Collier's New Photographic History of the World's War some years ago, by a colleague at work. It was in dire need of restoration back then, and hasn't improved with age. I recently saw a copy in better condition at an antique store, but for some reason didn't purchase it, which I now regret.


This book isn't reportage or journalism, but rather a collection of propaganda images - "Photographs By the Official Photographers Accompanying Each Army" the cover reads. Here you won't see explicit dead corpses of once vital youth, though that was certainly a reality. There is instead a hint of the horrors, as we see troops wearing gas masks, and aerial photos of gas attacks from a distance and the flare of napalm - "liquid fire," as the caption reads.


The book's intent, as I see it, was a carefully trod path between mere nationalist patriotism and the horrible realities of industrial-scale warfare upon the fragile humanity of young soldiers. It hints at the unspeakable while honoring the dead with images of parades and brave youth, doughboys and bemedalled officers alike.

One eye-opening fact I gleaned from this book was the reliance upon draft horse in the logistics of the war. Page upon page of horse drawn wagons and carts seemed at first out of place with what I thought I knew about the conflict, until I stopped to consider the newness of motorized transport in the second decade of the new century. One wonders about the need for supplying feed, and care, to these armies of horses, and the carnage they inevitably must have underwent.

Another interest I've had in that conflict was the Zeppelin airships. Here we see the wreckage of the L49, which landed essentially intact and provided the allies with vital intelligence, later serving as a model for the U.S. Navy's U.S.S Shenandoah. It has been speculated by airship historians that the reason the Shenandoah later broke apart in a violent line squall over Ohio was because the L49 that she was patterned after was a so-called "height-climber" model, specially lightened so as to increase her ceiling but also rendered structurally weaker. The German pilots evidently knew how to fly her in the dense lower atmosphere to stay within safe structural limits, but perhaps the U.S. Navy was a bit more cavalier in their pilotage of the Shenandoah; at least, that is what is speculated by experts such as Douglas H. Robinson.


None of my immediate family served in the Great War; my great-grandfather was too old, and my grandfather was a rancher and thus exempt from the draft. Some years ago, there was a series on PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) here in the States about the Great War, within which it was speculated that the remainder of the 20th century, up to and including the fall of the Soviet Union, was really aftermath, unsettled issues, arising as a result of the Great War. Perhaps. History is complex, more so than we can comprehend within the grasp of our limited purview. But it certainly was a foreshadowing of even greater horrors later in the century.

Though it was billed as "The War to End all Wars," it didn't live up to that title. Somehow, we've managed to sweep the horrors of previous conflict under the rug of today's new crises, along with the broken lives of past survivors, and concoct reason enough to engage in the next war.

PPS: On a brighter subject, I enjoyed typing with my recently acquired Royal Mercury, which remains in pristine condition - though it has a bit of a line slipping problem, perhaps caused by hardened pressure rollers. Which reminds me that there is no perfect typewriter, we just have to learn to live with a certain level of imperfection.

I'm sorry I was unable to attend the Phoenix Type-In today, as I couldn't get free time to depart on Saturday to get over to Phoenix in time for the event. But my best wishes remain with the Arizona contingent of the Insurgency, hoping you all had a great time.


Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Typosphere Care Package

The Underwood atop the typing platform on my workbench.

Ko-Rec-Type pack, Olympus Pearlcorder, headphones and cigar accoutrements. Had the garage door open to air it out while smoking. And a fan blowing.

I missed my opportunity to get a free gift from 1988!

This must be where all the letters go that you type, when they don't show up on the screen!

Only a bit of residue from the Ko-Rec-Type. Mostly blows off with a can of compressed air. It goes down more reliably than those rolls of correction tape.

Some results from today's Afghan box camera testing, along with typewritten notes.

I'm thinking about an americanized name for these devices, other than "Afghan box camera", or "camera minutera". I kind of like "wet box camera".


I considering getting a set of small bookshelf speakers for the garage, but had a good time today with Ted's tapes just wearing headphones. And I can blast it without bothering the neighbors, or my wife!

Thank you Ted for the care package. Now I'll have to get busy, acquire an analog video capture device and get you some footage of those experimental videos from the late '90s - early aughts. And maybe even an episode of "The Joe Show" from the late 1980s.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2018

Dead Words, Dead Leaves, Dead Letters


Post-Script: Leaf-typings, a week post-mortem.
Typecast via SCM Skyriter.


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Fall 2018 ABQ Typewriter Fiesta


Post-Script: Months ago, I'd started recording footage intended to be used in a video about the behind-the-scenes planning that goes into organizing a typewriter event. I'm not sure I'll make that video, as the quality of the footage is subpar, but at least I have those scenes available for personal reflection. I do want to eventually make a how-to video, as I'm certain there are others out there who want to organize a typewriter event in their area and perhaps don't know where to start.

We had a sizable assortment of electric machines this time, including an IBM Selectric II; Olympia Report Electronic; 5-series Smith-Corona Electric; 6-series Smith-Corona Coronet Automatic 12; Smith-Corona daisy wheel from the 1980s; and an IBM Wheelwriter. The electric machines seem to attract "ordinary", non-enthusiast people, as many of them make comments that they are reminded of high school typing classes.
As indicated in this video (see embedded link at the top), these Type-In events have seen mainly "regular" folk from the community attend, who might have a casual interest in typewriters but wouldn't necessarily be considered part of the Typosphere, or typewriter fanatics. Therefore I tend to choose machines for the event that are better suited to novices, reliable workhorses, rather than more exotic or fragile specimens, such as my Rooy. But I'm hoping in the next year we can begin to grow a more typewriter-focused social group in the community, with more people participating in organizing these events.

Having said that, I continue to be amazed at finding "hidden" typewriter collectors in the community, people who may not be connected via social media to the larger Typosphere. One such gentleman showed up early for the event, an elderly man and his wife, who's been collecting for many years and retains almost 30 machines. Would the term "crypto-typer" be appropriate? Hmm, perhaps I've just made up a new word. I look forward to making connections with more such crypto-types in the coming months.

Our friend Jerrel showed up again, this time with a handful of standard uprights, including his latest, an L.C. Smith. He's quite a young man for having such a collection of older machines. I look forward to seeing what he does in the coming months.

As I observed ordinary people from the community interacting with these machines, it once again had me thinking about the lifecycle of typewriters, and the intrinsic fragility of the remaining fleet of machines still out there. There seems to be a growing interest in them, fueled by events such as this, yet the total number of machines isn't being supplanted with newly built machines of acceptable quality. So it will be natural to expect them, in the coming years, to become more rare and valued. I hope we can save as many of them as we can for posterity.

A big thank you goes out to Kevin and Andrea Kittle, and the staff at Pennysmiths Paper, for all the help they provided in planning this event. I'm looking forward to the April 2019 event.

Typecast via Adobe Rose.

PPS: I wanted to talk about blogging, and specifically Blogger. I've been having problems leaving comments on other Blogger-based typewriter blogs. Maybe it's my computer, or browser (Safari), but many such blogs only offer a "Google ID" login, which doesn't work for me. Other blogs offer an option of a name/user ID login, which does usually work. From mobile iOS devices, I usually can't leave a comment on a Blogger-based blog, even when properly logged in to my Blogger account. I have no such issues when commenting to WordPress-based blogs, as long as I log into WordPress first.

Perhaps this is a tinfoil hat rant, but is Google trying to kill Blogger, or merely allowing it to decay into irrelevance? Or maybe I just need to try another browser? Despite the preponderance of social media like Basefook, I still find blogging to be far superior, for what we need it to do. Let me know in the comments below what you think. If you can leave a comment, that is!

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Leaves of Autumn

Leaf Typing, Royal QDL, Excerpt from Ferlinghetti’s Poem The Pennycandystore Beyond the El

The time is short - go out, collect some suitable leaves and try this yourself, then report back. I'd love to see what others do with this idea.

Here's a video on leaf-typing:

Typecast via Adobe Rose.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What, More Hand-Built Tripods?

The three tripods together as they'll be used for tabletop video production.


The aim of this project was to build two accompanying tabletop tripods for my video light and monitor, each using a triangular base with vertical support column. Instead of making an equilateral triangle for the base directly from something like plywood, I fashioned two square sticks together in a T configuration, of the appropriate length, such that the ends of the sticks form an equilateral base. Rubber faucet washers are used under the ends of the base for support feet.

These ended up being very lightweight, as you can see in the video, linked below. I find they're more manageable on my desk than a single large tripod with a heavy cage for all the gear.

The 17" tall tripod, with 10" wide base, for supporting the Viltrox video light:

The smaller 14" tripod, with 9" base, for supporting the Lilliput monitor:

These tripod heads use a block of wood, with the vertical support dowel glued in place and an eyebolt used as a 1/4-20 mount: P1020172

Here's the video about this project:

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Wards Signature 300


The machine also came with this padded carrying case, the first I've seen for a Brother machine.


Post-Script: This machine also came with two operation manuals, one for the model 300 and the other for a model 511.


Here's a video about this machine:

Here are several photos I took near Central Ave. in ABQ during my walk.


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Sunday, October 14, 2018

More Escapement Excitement

Sears Forecast 12 and Munk’s Typewriter Repair Bible

Post-Script: There are too many other adjustments on these machines to cover in a reasonably-sized video; best to get your own Typewriter Repair Bible, if you're interested. I didn't cover the adjustments for the two positions of the escapement dog rocker, which involve bending some arms to set them such that, when engaged with the escapement cog, the teeth of the cog and rocker dog both align properly. There is also advice for adjusting the escapement trip point based on the heaviness of hand, or technique, of the typist. Another good reason to favor these 5- and 6-series machines in your collection: not only do they perform well, but they are perhaps the easiest to service, with the most complete service literature available - and many of these machines also sport the easy-to-remove platen feature, for gaining access to clean the rubber rollers, paper pan and ribbon guides.

Here's the video that covers this adjustment in detail:

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Sunday, September 30, 2018

Olympus Microcassette Dictaphone

Olympus T500 Microcassette Transcriber
Olympus T500 Microcassette Transcriber

Post-Script: Though this is a ruggedly-built machine, its Achilles heel might prove to be that small triangular cross-section belt, which I understand is well nigh impossible to acquire. Hopefully it'll continue to function for a while longer. Perhaps I should look into one of those Sony M-2000 units - for research purposes only, of course!

I was surprised by the frequency response of the tapes played in this device, even though they were recorded in a handheld microcassette recorder. Perhaps it's more than just the bigger speaker of the Olympus, maybe the playback amplifier has better response? Sounds like (pun alert) I should record some music into a microcassette, then play it through this machine and compare the results.

Those Sound Tech MC-45 tapes look and sound pretty good, especially considering the price I paid on Amazon, just over $2 per tape. Good to know new tapes are still available, especially if one wants to do some tape-based journals and letters.

Here's the video about this dictaphone.

Typecast via Webster XL-747 (aka Webro), sporting a silk ribbon from Ribbons Unlimited.

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