Give me a Typewriter

old-typewriter

I’m not a big fan of collecting things. Besides books. And empty water bottles. And Smoothie King cups. But I’m REALLY not a fan of collecting older, antique type things. That isn’t to say that I’m constantly striving to get the newest and greatest toy, cause I’m not. My laptop is…five years old already. It’s bulky and I don’t take it anywhere for two reasons. It’s giant. And it’s like carrying a briefcase. Uh no. I guess that was really one reason.

Anyway, the point I’m making is that collecting things is not something I’m interested in. BUT I’m thinking I’ve never actually seen a typewriter. Ever. How can this be!? I don’t think I’d have any idea how to work it but it can’t be that hard, right? Maybe I should ask Santa for a typewriter for Christmas, although I’m wondering if I’m allowed to celebrate even though I’m not Christian or Catholic. Hm. Maybe I’ll just wait for my birthday, then. Except I just realized I have no one to ask. Not like I’m going to ask Β my parents when I’m about to be 23 in a few short months. Ugh.

Oh wait! I know who I can ask. YOU! I entertain you. I mostly reply to your comments. I share a passion for books much the same as I assume you do. It’s only fair for me to want you to give me a little something in return after more than 250 posts.

I’m totally kidding. I do think it would be fun to play around with a typewriter a little bit. I mean, imagine carrying that thing into a quiet little coffee shop and typing away for a few hours. Or a Barnes and Noble. Or a library! Ha!

Have you ever had the chance to write something using a typewriter?

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206 thoughts on “Give me a Typewriter

  1. Thank you for liking my blog. I used the manual typewriter.Cleaning these machines was a chore. The electric typewriter was great. Thank goodness we have the computers now

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Typewriters – been there, done that. Learned on a manual typewriter. Moved on to several iterations of electric typewriters (remember well the ‘ball’ type machine in which the platten didn’t move). Struggled with carbon paper, ditto and mimeograph masters (pre-copy machine). Word processors / DOS-based computers – Apple, neXt and Microsoft … checkout the website: http://www.officemuseum.com/

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  3. I bought my first manual typewriter on hire purchase in 1957 when I was 16. My 18-year old grandson has it now. I hate writing anything longhand and wrote my 96K word memoir directly on my computer.

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  4. A typewriter is fantastic if (a) you find one that works well, and (ii) you use it for something other than office work. Something recreational like a journal or stories. Very entertaining and encouraging machines under those circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. John, what a cute read and I was equally amused by some of the comments from others. LOL Only 23, well no wonder you’ve not been ‘around’ a typewriter, like you said. You’d have to go to an antique shop to find one and as others mentioned, likely most won’t be ‘fully’ working.
    But I can tell you from being OLD (51) that they actually are FUN to type/write on, just for a few pages, to hear the sound of the clicks agains the paper and roller but to realize that your fingers don’t GLIDE along the keyboard, you are required to PECK the keys to exert enough force for the key to strike the paper/roller. And if you use a non-electric you then have the fun of the arm that you have to force to return to the next row without pushing too far. Basically look at the photo of the one you added here. I taught myself how to type (in that thing called a library – ha ha) in a back room and eventually moved up to the first electric versions and so on.

    But you really should find ONE to ‘play’ with. It is fun to see the characters in their non-formed patterns. It’s like old school FONT ART, that’s what I use my two for! Your photo is an Underwood typewriter.

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  6. I wrote twenty five of my books on an old typewriter. I’m still rewriting those early efforts on to my computer!
    Computers are a great invention!
    Best wishes
    Opher

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am about to date myself. I did indeed owned and wrote on manual typewriters. The first one I ever had was a gift from an aunt who knew how much I loved writing. I wish I still had it. Yes, they are not a simple as computers but they have their charms. Mind you, I am so very glad for my tablet and Bluetooth keyboard every time I sit at Panera for a cuppa and a date with words:) And happy belated birthday by the way.

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  8. One thing about a manual typewriter–you control the amount of force you strike the paper with the keys. If you want a nice looking page, you have to strike every key with the same force. This is very hard because you have a lot more strength in your index finger than you do in your pinkie finger.

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  9. Yes, I used to do all my homework on a typewriter. It was kinda fun. And I had a toy one as a kid. I still hit the keys too hard on the computer because I was trained to hit them hard on the typewriter. You might want one for when/if the power goes out. I still like to write long-hand with a fountain pen when I don’t like to be around electronics, though. It’s a totally different feeling.

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  10. Yeah, I think I still have an old typewriter, along with its own carrying case. I actually used it for a whole year after school, before I got my hands on my first PC. School needed every report typed, in order to prepare us for University life and demands, so this was as close to an alternative as I could get. I had even bought several ink ribbons, thinking I’d be using it for years to come. Damn, that brought back memories…

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  11. “Have you ever had the chance to write something using a typewriter?”… Now that would mean revealing one’s age, right? πŸ˜‰
    Also, thank you for stopping by on my blog that I often wonder if anyone ever reads. Best wishes for your books – whether or not they were keyed in on a typewriter or on the “briefcase”! πŸ˜‰ Cheers.

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    • No one on WordPress is concerned about anyone’s age. And I don’t know what you mean by briefcase.

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      • My ‘briefcase’ was just a reference to your “my laptop is…five years old already. It’s bulky and I don’t take it anywhere for two reasons. It’s giant. And it’s like carrying a briefcase.” As for ‘age’, you’re right, who cares on WordPress.

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      • Ohhh. I completely missed that. Yep. I’ve talked to bloggers who are teens all the way up to ones in their 70s.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Incidentally, last night I started watching a TV series and couldn’t help but think of this post, and our online communication. πŸ™‚ “Halt and Catch a Fire” is about the dawn of the PC industry. You may already know about this series. This guy shows the team a briefcase and says that he wants them to build a computer the size of that briefcase — revolutionize the computer industry (and to beat IBM to boot). πŸ˜‰

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      • Haha oh the coincidence. But I’m not familiar with the show.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Truly, a coincidence. πŸ™‚ I hadn’t heard of the show either until a few hours ago. It’s interesting. Let’s see, will watch a few episodes – thus far has moved rather well.

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  12. Although I love my laptop, I’ve held on to my electric typewriter for years! Can’t seem to let it go ‘though I have not used it in decades! (And I have two unopened ribbons for it too!)Thanks for visiting my blog. d:)

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  13. Thanks for liking my blog. I used a number of typewriters growing up. My first one was very similar to the one on the picture. I must have been around five or six years old when I used it for the first time. I can still smell the ink to this day. I remember getting my fingers all dirty with the ink. The ribbon stuck from time to time, and I had to manually dig into the machine to loosen it. It was fascinating to look through the different components.The last typewriter I used was electronic. It had the capability of drawing graphs and writing in different sizes, fonts and colors. I forgot the brand, but it was pretty neat. I used it to apply for college, which was more than 30 yrs ago! I still have it somewhere in the storage room, I think. I am looking for the perfect antique to place in my office.

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    • If you’ve had it that long and haven’t used it….I’ll take it off your hands! πŸ˜‚ Just random thought: there should be a typewriter emoji. Ha! Super random. Have you heard of the Hemingwrite?

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  14. Seriously, you’re not missing much. You know when you make a mistake typing and you hit the backspace key? Uh uh.

    With a typewriter you have to scroll the paper up, use your White-Out, then try to line it up again. Every single time.

    And cutting and pasting is really cutting and pasting.

    Computers are much better. Trust me. πŸ™‚

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  15. Hey, thank you for stopping by my blog and liking my post! I just followed yours. And, I have used a manual typewriter…great finger workout! 😁

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  16. Thanks for the “Like” on my latest post at Writers Plain & Simple!

    LOL! The typewriter story elicited a blast from the past. I learned to type in late 1950s on clunky old manuals; then thought the electric typewriter was a modern marvel. Always hated typing because I made so many mistakes. Anyone remember the Smith Corona portable, that tool of the devil? About every third page, just as you got about halfway through the bottom line, the paper would scootch and the type would run off the bottom margin. Then you got to type the whole page over again!

    It did, though, have the advantage of forcing you to write several drafts…

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  17. Ribbons and correction tapes…it’s nostalgic but not practical. No, I couldn’t write day in, day out on a typewriter.

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  18. My most vivid memory of a manual typewriter is of my mom typing my dad’s dissertation. Every page had to be perfectβ€”no correction tape or erasures allowedβ€”and I remember her distress when she’d get to the last few lines of a page and make a mistake. Many tears were shed!

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  19. Oh yes. I used a typewriter for … computing … the first forty years of my life. And I didn’t actually start actively using a computer for writing until I was forty-five. Typewriter be gone! Never looked back. I recall the touch, the clattery keys, the gravelly sound of the return.
    I once worked for an employer, in 1965, who held my letters up to the light to see if I had made any mistakes that I’d corrected on his typewriter. If so, I had to retype the whole letter. OH FOR CUT AND PASTE!

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  20. I would love to give you my old typewriter–don’t know what to do with it.

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  21. “Had a chance” to write something on a typewriter? I had no option – I learned to type on one. First, your fingers get very strong. Second, if you type too fast the keys jam up most incestuously and you have to untangle the little buggers and put them back in their places. Third, to paraphrase Pilate, what you have typed, you have typed. Yes, you can “white it out” but no cutting, pasting, rephrasing, reshuffling, editing, proofreading are possible. And let us all remember that the autowrap we take for granted was done by hitting the silver handle at the end of every line so you’d move to the next line. That said …

    My dad was a professor. He typed all his scholastic works, complete with dizzying footnotes and citations, on a manual typewriter. And he had a wooden swivel chair that squeaked. And his desk was massive, so he could spread out reference books and drafts. The sound of the pounding keys and intermittent squeaks is one of my home memories. But fast-forwarding to today …

    Which writer was it that wrote his words in PENCIL on butcher’s wrap – Hemingway? The medium doesn’t matter. The writer does. A typewriter would be fun for one great reason – it shakes things up a bit to do something like that. You might find ideas and phrasings that were dormant until awakened by smacking keys, and your colorful swearing when they tangle.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! This is great. Although I think I’ve already admitted that I wouldn’t be writing anything of substance if I ever got my hands on one of these. I’d just write whatever, to get a feel for it. Definitely no part of a WIP.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks for the follow John; I’m new at blogging and am hopeless with technology but I’m getting there! I had my first typewriter at the age of 12 in 1963 – for Christmas! I actually have a photo of me with it. But it was a portable typewriter and so it was almost impossible to work up any speed on it. I did, however, write stories on it because even then I liked writing. I learned to touch-type at school when I was 16 and I loved the one I learned on; after my portable the action was easy. I used various ones in my jobs after that as I was an office worker.

    In one of my jobs I had to cut ‘skins’ for duplicating (no photo-copiers in those days) which meant you were cutting letter-shapes holes rather than putting the letters on in ink (there was a mechanism that lifted the ribbon so that the hammers didn’t hit it but cut into the ‘skin’ instead. These were the bane of my life because, if you made a mistake, it was very hard to repair and have it looking right once duplicated. The duplicator was a nightmare too, the skin fitted onto a roller, or drum and you turned it with a handle; the idea was the ink would come through the letter-shaped holes onto the paper but you had to get the flow of ink just right or you ended up with black splodges on the paper! Shudder!

    I love my laptop! It is just so easy to use, easy to correct mistakes and then if you want to print, you just click and the printer does it – wonderful. I can type so quickly and tirelessly and can write a book so easily without having to worry about erasers or using tippex…stick to your computer is my advice. (Although I admit I was in a shop not long ago where they had a very old portable Remington, similar to the one in your picture, for sale and I did linger a bit but common sense set in when I thought about our home and where I would actually put it and decided there wasn’t room and I didn’t need it, it would just be something else to dust – and I hate dusting!)

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  23. I like the sound of the keys. Click, click, click (but louder and more profound). I also like seeing the letters appear on the paper as I type.

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  24. Great post. This one took me way back! Loved using a typewriter. The click clack of the keys were inspiring. They made it seem as though I was creating my best work every time I hit them. Thanks for sharing and for stopping by my site. Best, Nett

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  25. Hi John,
    I absolutely LOVE your idea of carrying a typewriter into a coffee shop and pounding away!! I say: do it!
    Manual typing provides such a different experience than a computer – it taps into a different area of psychic creativity. I always find it interesting to play with a variety of writing techniques . . . handwriting, typewriting, keyboarding . . . and see what emerges.
    Thanks for visiting Mocha Muse (virtual coffee shop)! I appreciate the like and look forward to your thoughts on manual typing.
    ~ jayni

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  26. Thankyou so much for liking my writing blog on editing at the end of July. Really like your blog on the old-fashioned typewriter!

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  27. Oh man, my dad only used a typewriter until around 2011, when it finally died on him for good. So everything I typed as a little girl was on a typewriter. It’s so funny to think back to that now. I might use one again for nostalgia purposes, but unless it’s a newer one with built-in white out, they can be a bit of a hassle. Good luck getting your hands on one!

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  28. Reblogged this on Musings of a Creative Spirit and commented:
    Those typewriters are just so awesome! I think some artist did a really great drawing of one. Wish I could remember who and what!

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  29. I am shocking a need to press backspace a lot, maybe the typewriter may be useful in making me more attentive to one task rather than listening to music and flicking on my phone at times??????

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  30. Let me cut to the chase. First, write in longhand using cursive, it is the hand-eye-brain coordination interaction. We cannot write cursively as fast as we can think or read. Besides, this will give you time to listen to your inner voice, that one that you always hear when reading or thinking. Two, obtain a good typewriter. I prefer Olympia with royal as second choice. But a good working model. Cleaning can be done with a can of air, a vacuum cleaner, and a little machine oil. There is special lubricant you can buy cheaply enough on amazon. Why the typewriter? Because it will slow you down. Use it for your part of your editing process. Keyboards are nice and fast but they are prone to lead your thinking astray. The faster you can put the words onto paper or screen the less attention to the thought process you will have done. Most people can’t write five thousand words in one pass, I can. But the problem is that what I have written in that one four hour pass is far from perfect in thought. Writing means learning how to think and that cannot be done at the speed of light.

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  31. Hi, John!
    I could be your mom, so yes, I have used typewriters. In my teens, the manual ones (Olivetti Lettera 34 or something like that). Then I did a typing course on electric typewriters (I now type with ten fingers). Then computers arrived – my first PC (besides being one of those “towers” that were the first desktop computers) had b&w screen because guess what? I used it as a typewriter, so I didn’t really need all the fancy colors! πŸ™‚ And then the internet arrived and now I have a laptop and a netbook and I still have some of those stories written with my parents old typewriter…
    Happy writing! πŸ™‚

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  32. I think the most surprising thing is the weight of old typewriters. You wont be carrying those things around everywhere. I own a 1937 Royal KHM. It is heavy as lead. I just keep it for looks. I use a lightweight HP. I used a manual typewriter in High School and I don’t miss it. I can do more in ten minutes using MS word than I could all day long with the old typewriters. I love it for nostalgia, but that’s all. If I had to go back to that, I would just use paper and pencil.

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    • Oh I’m sure. BUT I’ve never once written on one. It’d be fun for awhile. I’d just laugh at the old technology or rookie mistakes I’d make. And keep going. But I definitely wouldn’t want to write something substantial on one.

      Liked by 1 person

  33. Actually, that’s on my bucket list too! I’ve never seen a typewriter and I have a dream to buy one and use it because of the authenticity it radiates. I’ve been asking my dad for it and he’s been just nodding his head. I’ll tell you when I get the chance to at least use one!

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  34. Hi John. I cut my teeth on a typewriter. I’m 70. I typed 75 words per minute, 3 errors. I was hot. But I don’t have one to give you. Thanks for liking my Keeping in Real post. Your typewriter piece is really cool.

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  35. John, Thanks for liking my posts on writing coaches. When I came over to your site just now this typewriter post caught my eye. Being older I did write on a typewriter for many years. I first had a little manual portable in college. Then I bought a portable electric typewriter with the first money I ever earned as a writer. It was expensive (early 70s, $100 I think). And at my editing day job I had increasingly fancy IBM Selectrics. The last one I had before a computer corrected a whole line at a time, with whiteout paper. Mostly I love having computers, except when I get frustrated, lose a file or a password. I love being able to connect to the whole body of knowledge that’s out there. But I still often print out manuscripts and edit with a red pen or pencil. Happy New Year, Jan

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    • Ugh. You’ve had and used a bunch of typewriters. Can’t I just have one to use? I’ve also never edited with a red pen. I have printed out a manuscript, but I only identified mistakes. I don’t think I’ve actually corrected them. Happy New Year to you!

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  36. Hi John, Thanks for liking my post about IASD. I used a typewriter back in the 1960s, The stories on here about printing using stencils (skins) bring back memories of my brief excursion into politics. My first computer was a dedicated word processor. It had a mere 256k of memory. You had to load the software from a disc. It was attached to an 8pin dot matrix printer but it did have a variety of fonts (though reproducing them with just 8 dots per letter was pretty crude.)
    I recall, in the 1960s, a golf ball IBM typewriter was used to programme a numerically controlled metal working machine.
    Thanks for evoking all these memories from us old folks for whom the typewriter was an important part of our working lives.

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  37. Writing using a typewriter is very messy because you have to either retype an entire draft or use a substance or a tape to allow for corrections. Also, a typewriter isn’t just one thing. You might have a manual typewriter or an electric typewriter–a slight improvement.

    Some writers though sit down and write by hand and then enter their work into the computer. Yes, really. Odd but true.

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  38. Oh yes, I’ve had the opportunity many, many times. I took a typing class in high school and used it in my work afterwards. Yes, as you might suspect, I am OLD. LOL

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