This was going to be a typecast, but I’m at work.

1) Since I live in New England, I was able to watch Tom Furrier and Cambridge Typewriter get featured on Chronicle last Friday night, which airs on WCVB channel 5 in the Boston area. The show had several segments about technologies that are obsolete but still hanging around, like typewriters, pay phones, cassette players, VHS tapes, etc. The segment with Cambridge Typewriter was good I thought, and not mocking in any way. They also spoke with a local travel writer who has written about 60 books, all on typewriter, and also mentioned that many young people are becoming curious about the machines, since most teenagers have never even seen a typewriter before.

I also heard a story this morning on NPR about how every kind of tool ever invented, and I mean every kind, is still being made brand new and used somewhere in the world. They went as far back as prehistoric stone tools. Believe it or not, there are people around the world who are hobbyists that like to make and use stone tools like early humans did (and I thought the people who collect anvils were on the fringe). So the moral of the story is: tools never die, no matter how “obsolete” they may seem.

2) I was going through the 7 manual typers I currently own over the weekend, and even though the latest acquisitions are all in very good condition, the first machine I ever bought 2 years ago is still the best, and my favorite: a 1971 Olympia SM9. I payed maybe $30 with shipping for it on eBay, brought it to Tom Furrier for servicing and cleaning, and man, you would think I just bought the thing brand new. This baby is perfect. The only wish I have is that it had the script Olympia logo on the front. Instead it has the red dot logo and boring “OLYMPIA” in all caps. I’m thinking of buying one a few years older, mainly for spare parts, and swapping the hoods. Nothing against the red dot, but the script logo has more flair and really gives the 1950’s-1960’s look I like on typewriters from the middle of the century.

 

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meetup-revMr. Clark brought the Dayton portable, and a photo compilation of some of the machines in his collection. Unreal – he literally has hundreds of pieces, all from before 1930.

1920's era Dayton portable

1920's era Dayton portable

dayton-logo Mr. Brown brought a few other pieces of retrotech along with a portable, aluminum Blickensdorfer (not pictured)…..

stapler

Probably the coolest pencil sharpener I've ever seen

Probably the coolest pencil sharpener I've ever seen

Mr. Strange brought a few German-made portables from the 1930’s, like this DM (actually an early Olympia), and a Rheinmetall portable with removable carriage (not pictured), both in beautiful condition…

DM portablem (1930's)

DM portable (1930's)

To get a sense of scale on this next one, just know the wood base is around 8 inches long…

whim More machins were there, but in my haste to try them out, I forgot to get a picture. D’oh! Thanks again to everyone who made the trek – I really appreciate it. Next time, I’ll drive south to meet all of you.

Ok, I just HAVE to get my hands on an Olivetti Lettera 32. I was just looking at La Vie Graphite’s latest post, and that close up of the front of the machine just pushed me over the edge. I’ve been struggling about what my next machine should be. I like Hermes Rockets, Royal QDL’s from the late ’50’s,(when you could get one in a cool red, blue or pink color), Olympia SF’s, etc. I definitely have a look that I prefer. Usually something that has that New Frontier modernism about it, when we were all still dreaming about outer space or thinking about how the Russkies might get us. Something with a retro space-age vibe to it. The Lettera 32 just does it for me. The flat top, the fonts on the front logo, the square keys with rounded corners and smallish letters, the color, the thin space bar, and the lone red key just together give off that vibe of ‘Jetsons meets book report’ or something like that. Maybe somebody can better encapsulate it for me. Anybody use one of these beauties? Anyway, I have a mission to land one of these fish in the next few months. Wish me luck – I’m goin’ in!