Sunday, July 29, 2018

Pushing Up Daisy Wheels

Olympia report electronic Typewriter

Post-Script: Funny how these things fall into your hands; this is what happens when you gain a reputation as "that typewriter guy." I was also gifted a metal folding typing table, which is now being put to use in my office, as cramped as it already was.

As I wrote in this piece, I feel Steve K. of Writelephant blogger fame has been one of the few pioneers exploring these electronic machines from the 1980s and '90s. Another person to credit is certainly Robert Messenger and his Oz Typewriter blog. For certain, these plastic machines mostly don't ring our aesthetic bell like some classic shiny black lacquered, round key manual from the pre-WW2 era does. But these have the distinction of being the front-line typewriters that served up until the very end, when computers took over the task of writing. And they do have their own technological evolution, from machines like this Olympia that were pretty well made and responsive, to the later models with more electronic bells and whistles but less snappy keyboard response. The good news is, a lot of these long-abandoned machines can be acquired for a song and a pittance, much like prior to the manual typewriter revival that started around the mid-aughts. Availability of ribbon cartridges will be an issue going forward, but even today at my local Staples I saw Selectric II and III cartridges, along with those for Royal and Brother electronic machines.

Should I see the need for more type wheels and cartridges, there's also the Swintek dealer to consider, since their machines are indeed rebranded Nakajimas.

Regarding my idea of purchasing a brand-new Swintek, I really was hoping to get one of those clear-bodied prison typewriter models, which would be a neat item to have in one's collection, to go along with one's toothbrush shank and dental floss garrote. :)

Here's a video I put up today about this machine. It's still a bit cantankerous with the intermittent ribbon lift motor issue, but is entirely useable.

PPS: I experimented with my condenser vocal mic in today's video. I'd purchased that some years ago, but never put it to good use until now. I'd first acquired it with the hopes of podcasting, but that's another iron that needs to be reheated. I like that the mic itself doesn't require a battery, although I'm using a Saramonic mic mixer atop my camera, that takes the XLR-type of input from this mic. The gain control on the mixer enables me to crank up the levels sufficient for the purpose. And I kind of like the tabletop mic stand, that frees me from clipping the lav mic to my shirt, which I always forget about when I suddenly want to go get another cup of coffee and end up stressing the mic cord attached to the camera. I know: boring techie stuff, but that's why there's so many YouTubers that like to do gear reviews.

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Blogger SteveK said...

Nice video Joe. Thanks for the mention. I certainly haven't "explored" the inner workings of these machines to the extent you have!

8:26 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

Swintec. no "k" at the end. :D
Also, don't buy a bunch of selectric II ribbons, they won't work in your Olympia. it's a different design.

8:33 AM  

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