Monday, March 04, 2019

It's a Done Deal

Typewriter Play
It’s a Done Deal

Post-Script: I did the final typing of the story on Adobe Rose, the Royal QDL, seen above. Though it had a partly used silk ribbon, I ended up swapping out the ribbon mid-story for the fresh ribbon Bill Wahl had installed in my Hermes Rocket. Also, the type alignment of the Royal isn't perfect, though it hasn't bothered me in the past; but for some reason I felt self-conscious about it, thinking the imprint needs to be as "professional" as possible. And then I was reminded by John Lewis, my local typewriter repairman, whom I visited this morning, that it's a manual typewriter after all - it's not supposed to look perfect! I like John's fresh perspective on things.

I suppose if I knew for certain that the story was top-notch, I'd be less worried about the aesthetics of its typewritten appearance. Oh well.

Today I placed a visit to Rust is Gold Coffee, to touch base and remind them that our ABQwerty Type Writer Society will be meeting there this coming Sunday, at 12:00 noon. I brought my Triumph Norm 6, upon which to type a few notes, and they loved the machine, especially considering they are a motorcycle-themed coffee shop, and there's a connection between the German Triumph typewriter firm and the British Triumph auto/motorcycle company. I permitted Sara to take some photos of the machine, for use in marketing their coffee shop. She's the gal I'd sold one of my Royal Mercury machines to, and I'm happy to announce that she's been doing lots of typing on it, even taking up virtually permanent space on her kitchen table. She loves typing on it, says there's something about a manual typewriter that brings out the creativity in her. I'm pleased that she's finding good use for the machine.

This typecast was done via iPhone 6s, instead of my flatbed scanner. I've used an iPod Touch previously, usually while on vacation, away from my scanner, and the results have been marginal. But I like what the iPhone produces, at least under my bright video table lights. Gives me less reason to rely on the scanner.

I'd used a backing sheet of paper while typing this piece in the Olivetti Underwood 21, and I noticed afterward that I could see the imprint rather distinctly in the backing sheet. So I took a no.2 pencil and did a rubbing, to reveal the imprint thusly:

Backing Sheet Pencil Rubbing

I've boosted the contrast of the image a bit, but in person the rubbing is very readable, which gives me pause to consider that, in the event typewriter ribbons become scarce in the future, a charcoal rubbing might suffice. Not exactly steganography, since you can easily see the imprint with adequate side-lighting, but an interesting effect. I need to try this again with just one sheet of paper in the stencil mode, and rub with a real charcoal pencil.

I was reminded yesterday that I'm now in two cassette tape letter exchanges. I need to remember to bring a recorder with me when running errands, so as to take advantage of location sounds that make such taped letters so much more interesting.

With the help of one of my YouTube viewers I've found a solution to the problem of why I couldn't post comments to blogs hosted on Blogger, on my Mac computer. The reason had to do with a setting in Safari browser dealing with cross-site tracking. Yesterday I did a typewriter blog comment blitz, catching up on many blogs I've wanted to comment but couldn't.

Earlier in this post I mentioned placing a visit to John Lewis's shop. He has a pristine, fully restored Underwood No.5 for sale. The black paint shines, all the decals are virtually new, the nickel/chrome trim is immaculate, the key top legends are fully redone - and the platen is freshly recovered. I took it for a test typing, and boy was I impressed, I can truly touch-type on it with ease, and the spacing of the keys is ideal for my hands. If it sounds like I'd like to buy it, you're correct. But he's asking a pretty penny for it, considering all the work he's put into it, and that it's been professionally restored. Still, what a temptation. One obstacle for me is where to put it, since, unlike portables, these don't have cases. I'd have to find a permanent writing location. Or, like I've done with my Burroughs Comptometer, that's too large to store permanently on my desk, I found a high-quality plastic box with a gasket-sealed lid. I lined the box with foam rubber, secured the calculating machine in a plastic bag and secured it inside the dust-proof box via the gasket-sealed lid, so it can be stored in less than ideal conditions when not in use. I'd have to find a similar solution for the Underwood, were I to acquire it. There's also the little matter of explaining all this to my better half. But, at least she's been bitten by the typewriter bug, with her claiming ownership of the Olympia SM3, so perhaps there's less convincing needed than I think. Do I really need another typewriter? No. Do I need this Underwood 5? Yes!

PPS: Be sure to check out this typewriter-themed blog, Madam Mayo. There's a link to her older blog that goes all the way back to 2006. Nice to find more typewriter bloggers.

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Blogger aphexian said...

An Underwood 5 you say? I’d love to have a nice big cast-iron desktop machine like that myself, but due to space constraints I have to stick with portables that I can put away in their cases after I’m done writing for the day. Although I love my portables, I’ve had the chance to type on a few big desktop machines and they always impress me every time... Can’t wait to get a copy of the Cold Hard Type book when they get printed! -Mitch

10:57 PM  
Blogger Mike A. said...

I prefer the portables, but do have one standard in my collection. A good fried actually gave me a Royal KMG. I had to get a table just for it, since it doesn't move. A heavy beast. It is a breeze to type on and sometimes feel as light as this little bluetooth Apple Keyboard, except with personality and a tactile response. Save your pennies, Joe. I believe you "need" to have that Underwood.

6:00 AM  
Blogger Bill M said...

Once upon a time...I thought I'd not have space for a standard machine. Now I have 7 of them including the Hermes Ambassador beast. Best of all are the Underwood No. 3, No.5, No. 6, as well as my other Underwoods. Having a fully restored No. 5 would be like typewriter perfection. You gotta go get it.

2:46 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Agree with the comments above. If you're gonna let a pre-WW2 standard into your collection, a restored Underwood 5 would be an excellent choice. Also, as I've hinted at already, the U5 is a very small-footprint Standard, and is easy to store if you happen to have a small Doric column. :D

3:14 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

Oh, also *congratulations* on completing the CHT submission - looking forward to the book (:

3:15 PM  
Blogger Joe V said...

Ted, I like your doric column. Might have to find one of those. :)

7:33 PM  
Anonymous C.M. Mayo said...

Dear Joe, Thank you for your kindness in mentioning my "Madam Mayo" blog. I am heartened to find that you also have been blogging since 2006. More comments anon.

8:24 AM  
Blogger Alex said...

I like the colors and styles of portables (and of course, their portability). However, I have yet to try one that has a better touch than a standard. I now have my grandma's Underwood 5, and it's a treat to type on. It feels precise and deliberate. My favorite typewriter is a LC Smith and Corona Super Speed, from 1937 I think. It has the snappiest touch and lives up to its name. I say go for the Underwood 5, or find one that's not as expensive.

10:07 AM  
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