Antique Typewriters
March 21, 2010 9:04 PM   Subscribe

Antique typewriters. Welcome to the Martin Howard Collection of Early Typewriters. Comprised of typewriters from the very beginning of the typewriter industry (1880s & 1890s), it is the largest of its kind in Canada. The collection contains many rare and historically important typewriters, showing the remarkable diversity and beauty of the world's first typing machines. (Via)
posted by Astro Zombie (20 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
More typewriters.
posted by tellurian at 9:36 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Very cool!
posted by Crane Shot at 9:48 PM on March 21, 2010

I saw this collection when it was at the ROM! It is totally marvellous in person and I had been wishing I could see it again, and now I can! Thanks for the link, Astro Zombie.
posted by bewilderbeast at 10:13 PM on March 21, 2010

Just when I mastered Blickensderfer's ZXKGBV keyboard everybody switched to that damn QWERTY thing.

I'm really really old.
posted by twoleftfeet at 10:42 PM on March 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Oh man, this is really cool! I've been smitten with the typewriter and its history since elementary school, when I wrote a research report on Sholes. These machines are things of beauty. Thanks for the great link.
posted by vespertine at 11:03 PM on March 21, 2010

This 1886 World typewriter, produced in Maine, was the model used by Mabel Loomis Todd in her painstaking transcriptions of Emily Dickinson's manuscripts after the poet's death in the late 1880s. It was an incredibly laborious process, as you might guess from looking at the machine! Todd's typescripts served as the basis for the first edition of Emily Dickinson's poems in 1890.

Thanks for the interesting post. I love typewriters and the great click and clack they make. You really feel like you're getting something written when you make that sort of din!
posted by cirripede at 11:13 PM on March 21, 2010

dear tellurian_spouse, can I (or is that, do I want to, spouse astro zombie)?
posted by infini at 12:24 AM on March 22, 2010

Wow, the Odell looks like some navigating device salvaged from the Nautilus.
posted by The Mouthchew at 12:44 AM on March 22, 2010

Two ideas: Have your computer make old-timey typewriter noises when you use the keyboard. Use an old-timey typewriter as a computer keyboard.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:34 AM on March 22, 2010 [2 favorites]

I love how much diversity there was early on, with typewriters and with other similarly "modern" technology like motor cars... things get so bland (but admittedly less expensive) when everyone settles on a standard.

Pieritz Brothers Office Supplies in Oak Park, IL has some neat typewriters on display in their shop too.
posted by usonian at 5:49 AM on March 22, 2010

Wow! I love these.

I learned to type on a 1940s manual office model when I was nine years old and have loved manual typewriters ever since. My 1920s Royal is a gorgeous, precise machine, great for giving the fingers a workout. Keeping a consistent key strike pressure was an art form requiring skill and finger strength, and generating a flawless document on some of the older machines must have been a challenge.

A great follow-up to these gems is the collection housed here. Hard to believe that something as sophisticated and powerful as the Quadex system is now obsolete.

There's another former typographer in my office; we often wax nostalgic about the key feel, sound and operation of old type machines. Even words like "daisy wheel" and "Selectric" can evoke a deep emotional response.

Beautiful post. Thanks.
posted by kinnakeet at 5:53 AM on March 22, 2010

More antique typewriters
posted by adamrice at 7:16 AM on March 22, 2010

My first realization that the technology of my youth was gone for good came many years ago, when I was in DC and had to explain to several people what this is.
posted by JanetLand at 8:19 AM on March 22, 2010

The Remington 2 had the first instance of the SHIFT key- it literally shifts the entire carriage to type the capital letters.

I have a slightly more recent Remington No. 6 at home that still functions- few things are as satisfying as punching those keys; like popping bubble wrap x10.
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 8:29 AM on March 22, 2010

I got to see the SFMOMA century celebration thing a month or so ago, and part of it had a bunch of old, awesome typewriters. I had to get away from them because the temptation to type on them was visceral and overwhelming. What's the point if I can't hear it??

I watched people looking at them for a while and literally everyone had to visibly restrain themselves. I even overheard some people saying exactly what I just said.
posted by cmoj at 10:43 AM on March 22, 2010

who designed the Odell? it looks like the apple of the remington era ;p
posted by infini at 12:36 PM on March 22, 2010

I have an Underwood #5 that I keep under my computer desk. Eventually, when I have a clean working space, it's going to take a place of honor next to my monitor as a sort of past-tech/ present-tech artistic statement.

Until I clean that space, it is a thing for my cats to bat at to hear the *click* sound of the carriage moving forward.
posted by quin at 2:47 PM on March 22, 2010

quin—my cats enjoy playing with our old Underwood too.
posted by adamrice at 2:54 PM on March 22, 2010

its a miracle ;p
posted by infini at 4:06 PM on March 22, 2010

posted by frequently at 9:34 AM on March 23, 2010

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