Thursday, May 04, 2006

collection collective: typewriters

the collection collective
is suppose to be
a wednesday posting
but my wednesday
got away with me.
but hell,
it is my blog
so there is
no such thing as late
here.

more and more
each day
we live our lives
attached to these:

but i can remember
the pre-computer era
when i use to impress
my teachers
by typing,
yes typing,
my book reports
on my dad's
IBM Selectric
(i was a bit
of brown-noser).

now
we are glued
to our computers
24-7.
since
i bought my laptop
over a year ago
i can't imagine
life without it.

it was
not so long ago
this
was the
high technology
of the office:

back then
typewriter ads
bragged
about their products:
silent
nosieless
"live action" touch
unfailing accuracy
.

when i was a little girl
i loved my father's office.
it was in the basement
of our house
next to the woodshop.
i loved all my dad's
old office supplies;
staplers,
tape dispensers,
magnifying glass,
index cards...

i would sneak
into his office
when he was at work
and play at his desk.
i would also run off with
his binder clips,
his stencils,
his labels,
etc.
this got me into
a lot of trouble!

this may have been
the beginning
of my early
crafting days.
i particularly loved
his IBM Selectric.
i would type memos
and stamp them
with official stamps;
CONFIDENTIAL
URGENT
PAID.

when you type on
old typewriters
you have
to hit the keys hard.
i get a great deal of
satisfaction
typing letters.
even today
20-some
years later.

i primarily collect
portable manual typewriters.
these are the kind that were
designed for portability
with stylish carrying cases:


portable typewriters
are usually easier to find
at vintage or thrift stores
and are generally
in much better condition
(i.e. they can still type).
this is because
they have been stored
in their cases
and protected from
the typewriters
arch enemies:
moisture and dust.
sometimes
when you buy them
they will type well
but
they start to gum up
after a while
because the oils and dust
get mixed together
as you type.
this jams up the keys.
sadly,
once they are gummed up
there is not much you can do
unless you want
to pay the big bucks
to have a professional
to clean it
or try cleaning it
yourself
(not an easy task).
there aren't
a whole lot of
professional
typewriter repair people
around anymore.
the last one
here on K street in DC
just recently closed down.
they charged
$150 to clean
a typewriter.
needless to say
i never had it done.
so i have
an array of typewriters
in varying usable condition.

my first typewriter
was a Triumph.
my mom and i found it
vintage shopping in
moscow, idaho.
it is not pictured below
because it is all metal
(including the case)
and heavy as hell
so it still resides at
my parent place
in washington state.
i also have
a lovely
orange Olympiette 2
typewriter
in f. pea's attic.
here are
most of my typewriters:
.
these are typewriters
from as early as the 1940s
to as late as the mid-60s.

so you may be wondering
what i do with all these
typewriters?
good question.
i have hung onto them
because we use them in
an activist performance group
that i am part of
called
keys of resistance.
we dress up
as secretaries
from the 1940s
and type letters
at protests and rallies
but that is a story
for another day.

by the way...
if you ever find
a typewriter
that types cursive
i would love you
forever.
also...
check out
this amazing hebrew typewriter!
want to read more
about typewriters?
you can start
by looking
here and here.

what do you collect?
please join
the collection collective
and show us your collections!
you can also
post a comment
so we can check your blog!

8 comments:

sooz said...

Gwen, where the heck do you live?! A warehouse? David would kick me to the curb if I had this much stuff - he finds my material obsession hard enough. I so admire your persistence!! I got my first electric typewritter for my 21st birthday and it was a hard and sad day when I had to pass it on.

PinkPoppies said...

I still mourn the loss of my Olympia typewriter in a flood. Totally gummed up by the sediment and it rusted distressingly quickly despite my best efforts to salvage. I always kept it in case I had to write a letter and my computer wasn't working. I bought it new with the first money I earned and had it more than 20 years. You have inspired me to go looking again...

Amy said...

My great aunt Carol that I mentioned in my collection post yesterday still types her letters -- and they are in that cursive type of which you speak. I've always liked it too.

A COLLAGE A DAY said...

I miss your post. Thanks for everything about typewriters. I have a new appreciation about them.

r.

bugheart said...

i store
a lot of things
in my office.
it's gonna be hell
when i move again.
*sigh*

oliviaorange said...

Here's me. What next?

OldandBusted said...

They make cursive typewriters!? I never knew!

Tina said...

I have my grandfather's Olympia cursive typewriter, it is the neatest thing...!