manual typewriters?

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texasdiver
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manual typewriters?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 24, 2018 12:50 pm

My 15 year old daughter is something of a writer and is fascinated by typewriters. I think she's watched too many old movies or read too many old novels about writers slaving over typewriters!

Anyway, I was thinking about trying to find one for her birthday. But don't have the slightest idea where to start. I think definitely a classic manual machine that is small and portable and works well (not some collectors item one is afraid to actually use).

Any suggestions on brands or models to look for? There's a lot of stuff on ebay but I don't know what is good or bad or how much things are worth. If I knew the exact perfect brand and model to look for that would make things easier.

mhalley
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by mhalley » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:08 pm

I remember learning to type on a manual in high school. What a pain! I recall having a Smith corona at some point. Typing on a manual can be quite frustrating as getting those pinky’s to strike hard enough to get a good impression can be difficult. Any chance an electric might work for her? I remember the ibm selectric was cool. Do you want a vintage or a new one?
Here is a list of all time bests
https://typewriterreview.com/2017/01/10 ... pewriters/
I suppose another thing to look for is to make sure the ribbons are available for the model you decide to buy.
You also might check out this buying guide

https://www.typewriters101.com/what-you ... riter.html
Last edited by mhalley on Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.

texasdiver
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by texasdiver » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:20 pm

When I went off to college in 1982 my parents sent me with a brand new portable electric typewriter that I used to type many papers on in my freshman year. I think it was a little Smith Corona. Then in Jan 1984 my college got a batch of the very first Apple Macintosh computers that came off the assembly line which they issued to any group of 4 students to share. After that I never went back to typewriters. So at age 54 I think I'm actually too young to have much memory of good typewriters. I learned to type in HS, but by the middle of college, computers and laser printers were exploding and that was that.

I'm sure an electric typewriter would perhaps be superior if the objective is to produce page after page of perfectly even typed paragraphs. But I think in this case, function is less important than having something really satisfying to play with and sometimes use for fun. She won't be writing books on it. Manual typewriters just seem so much more classic and elegant. Especially the older portable types that foreign correspondents and the like would haul all over the world.

I remember reading somewhere that WW-II was the war of the typewriter and that manual typewriter production was conscripted by the military which absorbed millions of them for war usage. Reminds one that armies are really massive bureaucracies.
Last edited by texasdiver on Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:23 pm

Manual typewriters are collectable.
They are available on Amazon.com as used, refurb, etc.
And, also on Ebay.
There are popular models such as Smith Corona and Royal that were made with plastic cases and key pads, in great number and so are cheaper than others such as Hermes.
A student semi-portable is a good model in many brands. Try to buy a refurbished. Because they are so old, there's a lot of issues that can go wrong with older ones that have not been refurbished.
Try to stick with known popular models. You will be able to easily sell it on Ebay if the need for it has passed.
j :D

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by sport » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:29 pm

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 1:23 pm
Manual typewriters are collectable.
I still have a semi-portable Remington that I bought when I was a senior in HS for typing lab reports. Once I got to college, I used the school typewriters in the library, so mine is a very "low mileage" machine. It seems to be in brand new condition. It has not been out of the case in the last 50 years, or so. I expect it would need a new ribbon and perhaps a roller. Is there actually demand for such units?

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Swansea » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:47 pm

I learned to type on a Smith Corona portable back in the 50s or early 60s. It was a good machine.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Kenkat » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:07 pm

eBay. We had an IBM Selectric back when I was growing up that got the job done nicely. We also had an old Underwood fully manual typewriter where each key physically moved a long arm up to strike the paper. That was a real chore to type with. That’s more vintage, however. There’s plenty of both available on eBay.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:10 pm

The nicest "feel" on a manual typewriter, and the pleasantest (and least likely to hurt your fingers if you are really typing for a long time), are the full-sized 30? pound desk machines, but they may be unreasonably heavy and bulky. The ones I grew up with and typed on for decades looked like this:
Image
but they were really no different in "feel" or quality than the previous generation:
Image

Portable manual typewriters have a sucky "feel" to them. They feel stiff, heavy, and as if they are fighting against you.

But I honestly don't recommend manual typewriters. They have to be cleaned and lubricated. Good ribbons are probably hard to find. You have to have develop an even touch. And if the typewriter hasn't been maintained, it probably needs to be aligned (otherwise certain letters will tend to be a little bit above or below the line--ever read the O. Henry story "Springtime a la Carte?" "'I'd know that cranky capital W 'way above the line that your typewriter makes anywhere in the world,' said Franklin.")

IBM Selectric typewriters were well-liked for a reason. They produced beautiful typing. The key feel (though totally different from a manual) was very nice, and you could type rapidly for a long time without fatigue. The changeable font balls were fun.

Anyway, I am sure there are lots of good ones but the ones I know, popular "name brands," are:
--Royal for a full-sized manual,
--Smith-Corona for a portable, and
--IBM Selectric for an electric.
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Random Poster
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Random Poster » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:17 pm

Maybe Tom Hanks could give some advice?

Or, perhaps more easier for the OP, something that is mentioned or shown in this segment on the matter:

https://www.cbsnews.com/video/tom-hanks ... nthusiast/

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Shikoku » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:30 pm

Hanks might even gift one to your daughter if she promises that it will not gather dust!

Many happy returns: Tom Hanks gives typewriter to ...
https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/19/entertai ... ts-family/
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by rob » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:30 pm

I think you should go for a cool one.... She is not really going to USE it right.... Just a novelty sort of deal. If you want to use it get those golfball type.....
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm

I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece.

It is easy for someone who hasn't really used one to romanticize them, but the only advantage they had was not needing electricity. Even the best electric typewriters rapidly became obsolescent when word processors became affordable and then they were quickly eclipsed by computers, all for good reason.
Last edited by Pajamas on Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by cfs » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm

Gave a portable Smith Corona manual typewriter to my wife in the 1970s, still have that baby wrapped in plastic and looking brand new in our garage. Good luck finding a good one, y gracias por leer ~cfs~
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Pajamas » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:42 pm

cfs wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
Gave a portable Smith Corona manual typewriter to my wife in the 1970s, still have that baby wrapped in plastic and looking brand new in our garage. Good luck finding a good one, y gracias por leer ~cfs~
Looks like he might have just found one! :beer

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by azurekep » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:42 pm

I don't have any suggestions, but just by coincidence, I'm reading a non-fiction book by novelist Scott Turow who details his first year in Harvard law school.
At HLS students can either handwrite or type their exams. There are separate rooms set aside for each method. I chose to type, because I do all my writing on the machine and feel comfortable in front of it. But the typing room was one of the old classrooms in Langdell, and I realized when I got there that the clatter from thirty or forty machines in a room without carpet was going to be something terrific. I was still too bleary to be overly concerned, but I was grateful when Terry showed up with earplugs for both of us. It was real generosity on his part, not only because he’d thought of me, but also because the tests were being distributed as he arrived and he’d still taken the time to bring the plugs over.
I think he was using an electric typewriter, however, as he later mentions bringing in an extension cord for it.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by cfs » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:43 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:42 pm
cfs wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
Gave a portable Smith Corona manual typewriter to my wife in the 1970s, still have that baby wrapped in plastic and looking brand new in our garage. Good luck finding a good one, y gracias por leer ~cfs~
Looks like he might have just found one! :beer
Sorry, not for sale! Gracias por leer ~cfs~
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by stemikger » Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:48 pm

Choose Simplicity ~ Stay the Course!! ~ Press on Regardless!!!

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by oldcomputerguy » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:27 pm

I raised many an eyebrow in the months before I retired hammering on the old Royal Heritage typewriter on my desk at work. (Ever try printing a multipart carbon form on a laser printer?) I think it would be just the thing to teach your young 'un how to type.

If you really want to get serious, once you get her the typewriter, do as my grandfather did to teach my aunt how to type: paint over all the letters on the keyboard, so that they're all blank. It certainly discourages "hunt and peck".
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by 2b2 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:59 pm

My Dad had an office model IBM Selectric that he used to let me play with when I was younger and smaller and visiting him at work.
At the time, it seemed to me that it was about the size of a washing machine. Probably weighed about as much, too.
:shock:

2b2

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Dottie57 » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:36 pm

2b2 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:59 pm
My Dad had an office model IBM Selectric that he used to let me play with when I was younger and smaller and visiting him at work.
At the time, it seemed to me that it was about the size of a washing machine. Probably weighed about as much, too.
:shock:

2b2
Big but very functional.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:45 pm

rob wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:30 pm
I think you should go for a cool one.... She is not really going to USE it right.... Just a novelty sort of deal. If you want to use it get those golfball type.....
Oh, if what you want is cool... you just can't beat a Blickensderfer.

Not only does it look funny, not only does it have something that is recognizably a precursor to the IBM Selectric typeball (except it's a cylinder), it even has a funny-sounding name. And it's compact and lightweight.

Wikipedia article, "Blickensderfer typewriter"
Image
My dad once picked up one of these in some shop. My mom never forgave him for it. No, I don't have it. I'm not sure when it got disposed of.
Last edited by nisiprius on Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by hicabob » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:48 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:36 pm
2b2 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:59 pm
My Dad had an office model IBM Selectric that he used to let me play with when I was younger and smaller and visiting him at work.
At the time, it seemed to me that it was about the size of a washing machine. Probably weighed about as much, too.
:shock:

2b2
Big but very functional.
The fancy Selectrics used to have a little memory and were in fact primitive text editors. Then came wordstar.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Mike Scott » Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:49 pm

Check thrift shops and yard sales. New ribbons are pretty cheap. Our kids have put a lot of miles on an old cheap portable manual.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by nisiprius » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm

I know nothing about them, but you can buy new portable manual typewriters from the Vermont Country Store, here. $189.95 and they sell replacement ribbons. That seems like a lot of money for what is probably basically a novelty item, but that is probably a good way to get one that really works. Everything you can buy from the Vermont Country Store seems to be available elsewhere cheaper if you look, but, hey, I've found them to be a reliable firm that sells quality stuff...

(They say the replacement ribbons are "easy to install," my eye. You definitely are going to get in on your fingers unless you have the foresight to use rubber or plastic gloves. And of course, unless you are seriously typing accounting material those black/red ribbons are stupid. As you use the ribbon, and ink gets transferred to the paper, it gets removed from the ribbon, and the ink wicks upward by capillary action... meaning the red ink gradually moves upward higher and higher, until every letter you type is red at the bottom!)
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by rustymutt » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:37 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:10 pm
The nicest "feel" on a manual typewriter, and the pleasantest (and least likely to hurt your fingers if you are really typing for a long time), are the full-sized 30? pound desk machines, but they may be unreasonably heavy and bulky. The ones I grew up with and typed on for decades looked like this:
Image
but they were really no different in "feel" or quality than the previous generation:
Image

Portable manual typewriters have a sucky "feel" to them. They feel stiff, heavy, and as if they are fighting against you.

But I honestly don't recommend manual typewriters. They have to be cleaned and lubricated. Good ribbons are probably hard to find. You have to have develop an even touch. And if the typewriter hasn't been maintained, it probably needs to be aligned (otherwise certain letters will tend to be a little bit above or below the line--ever read the O. Henry story "Springtime a la Carte?" "'I'd know that cranky capital W 'way above the line that your typewriter makes anywhere in the world,' said Franklin.")

IBM Selectric typewriters were well-liked for a reason. They produced beautiful typing. The key feel (though totally different from a manual) was very nice, and you could type rapidly for a long time without fatigue. The changeable font balls were fun.

Anyway, I am sure there are lots of good ones but the ones I know, popular "name brands," are:
--Royal for a full-sized manual,
--Smith-Corona for a portable, and
--IBM Selectric for an electric.
Royal Quiet Deluxe was a beautiful machine. Turned me into a 96 wpm self taught typist.
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by sport » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:50 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm
And of course, unless you are seriously typing accounting material those black/red ribbons are stupid. As you use the ribbon, and ink gets transferred to the paper, it gets removed from the ribbon, and the ink wicks upward by capillary action... meaning the red ink gradually moves upward higher and higher, until every letter you type is red at the bottom!)
I used to use a black/white ribbon instead of black/red. Then, if you made an error, you could go back and type over it with the white ribbon for corrections.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by rob » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:52 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:45 pm
Oh, if what you want is cool... you just can't beat a Blickensderfer.
Oh that is just great... but what's funny... If you hit ebay someone is selling a stack of individual keys... $10 per letter :shock: I guess it's more valuable selling in pieces.....
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:55 pm

Also used a Royal in my office for many years. And, computers.
The typewriter was to type multi copy - part tenant leases. I had a zillion of them and was determined to use them up before switching to leases on the computer. We also had a Smith Corona electric that we still have to this day.

Right now, I have a Hermes Rocket, portable manual typewriter on my dinner table. Just finished cleaning and servicing it. Still runs great. More of a novelty now. Worth $$ in mint condition. I guess it was the "laptop" of its day. 50's/60's I think.
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Watty » Sun Feb 25, 2018 12:39 am

If you buy one online watch out for the shipping costs, they weight a lot.

Craigslist is likely the best place to get one locally.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:45 am

sport wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:50 pm
nisiprius wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:09 pm
And of course, unless you are seriously typing accounting material those black/red ribbons are stupid. As you use the ribbon, and ink gets transferred to the paper, it gets removed from the ribbon, and the ink wicks upward by capillary action... meaning the red ink gradually moves upward higher and higher, until every letter you type is red at the bottom!)
I used to use a black/white ribbon instead of black/red. Then, if you made an error, you could go back and type over it with the white ribbon for corrections.
Ah, but those black/white correcting ribbons are modern technology. I think they only existed on "carbon ribbons" (plastic, possibly Mylar strip, with dry black carbon and dry white opaquing part. I'm not even 100% sure you can even use them on a manual machine. I first saw them in IBM Selectrics... and then there were some very advanced machines, Selectrics or the daisywheel era, that could remember the last sixteen or so characters and it would automatically backspace and whiteout the last word for you.

As best I remember, in the real manual typewriter days, there were basically four choices: all black (and the part at the bottom wasn't wasted, the ink wicked up as the top part was used, so it would last twice as long as black/red) versus black/red, and cotton versus silk. Cotton ribbons were cheap, and started out not only typing very black but were very prone to smudging letters and beautfully picking up the slightest bit of dirt in the letters... and quickly faded. Silk ribbons were expensive, kept a nice even level of blackness, lasted a long time, and produced (slightly) crisper letters. Not that any manual typewriters were really crisp or even. Part of the skill of typing was developing an even stroke so that all letters hit equally hard.

Once IBM electric typewriters and "carbon ribbons" came in... at the same time, or not until the actual Selectrics?... the quality of a typed page took a quantum leap upward and manual-typewriter work looked shabby.

How many people remember digging crud out of the centers of the O's? You really needed a pin, the end of a paper clip just wouldn't do it. Dust and probably particles of ribbon and eraser crumbs would accumulate in the loops of any letters with enclosed areas, glued in by drying ink.

By the way, if you don't know it, you should listen to Leroy Anderson's The Typewriter. In another decade or so people won't even "get" it. In this video clip he appears to be using a typewriter both for the keystroke and carriage return sound, but I'm not sure where the bell sound is being produced. When the Boston Pops performed it, they actually used three separate instruments: a typewriter gimmicked so that the carriage could not move, some weird kind of specially-built woodblock with notches to make a really superb carriage-return sound, and, of course, a separate bell. (The joke in the piece, as in the syncopated clock, is that you gradually realise the length of the typed lines aren't consistent with the sound of the bell).
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by nisiprius » Sun Feb 25, 2018 10:58 am

You haven't lived until you've typed something on a six-copy manifold (six thin pages with thin carbon paper in between), made a mistake, peeled through six pages carefully erasing the error six times with one of those wheel erasers, typing the correction, using the brush end of the eraser to brush away the eraser crumbs, and, of course, had them fall into the type basket, eventually building up to the point of filling in the O's and/or making the keys stick.

To say nothing of hitting two keys too close together and getting them jammed. Typewriters were really well built and heaven knows what kind of alloy the typebars were made of because they could get into a terrible jam and you'd have to put a lot of force and bend them a little bit to get them unjammed, and yet they would hold their alignment... most of the time... almost.

It was a miracle to hit two keys on a Selectric at the same time and watch the machine calmly type the two letters in quick succession with no problems.

I was amazed once to look closely at a pre-Selectric IBM electric typewriter and realize that there was absolutely nothing in it but the motor. It turned a rubber roller, and the keystroke forced cams against it that propelled the keys. It absolutely could have worked off a steam engine instead of an electric motor.

Winding down, but I gotta say something about the IBM Executive Typewriter. Never had a chance to use one, once begged a secretary to let me at least type a line on it. It belong to the pre-Selectric era. It had proportional spacing. There were only four different letter widths but that is a lot different from having the small i and the capital W take up the same space. You may have seen the results without knowing it: in the 1960s and 1970s, a lot of books or important reports, that needed to look better than typing but weren't going to have enough printed copies made to justify typesetting, were produced by typing them on an IBM Executive Typewriter. Symposium proceedings, computer manuals, big-deal government reports, things like that.
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Dottie57 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:16 pm

hicabob wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:48 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:36 pm
2b2 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:59 pm
My Dad had an office model IBM Selectric that he used to let me play with when I was younger and smaller and visiting him at work.
At the time, it seemed to me that it was about the size of a washing machine. Probably weighed about as much, too.
:shock:

2b2
Big but very functional.
The fancy Selectrics used to have a little memory and were in fact primitive text editors. Then came wordstar.

Man, I do remember those days. I had a co-worker with an Osborne luggable which he used for word processing. I thought it was so cool.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Bylo Selhi » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:39 pm

Random Poster wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:17 pm
Maybe Tom Hanks could give some advice?
A must-see for anyone with an interest in typewriters:
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:55 pm
Right now, I have a Hermes Rocket, portable manual typewriter on my dinner table. Just finished cleaning and servicing it. Still runs great. More of a novelty now. Worth $$ in mint condition. I guess it was the "laptop" of its day. 50's/60's I think.Made in Switzerland. All steel including lid.
My dad bought one second-hand after WW2. He used it daily as a business and personal typewriter until the 1960s. Then I used it in high school for another decade or so. It was still working fine when I last saw it in the 1990s. I have no idea where it is now. Built like a tank. I miss it.

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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by tomd37 » Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:48 pm

Speaking of manual typewriters, I took typing in tenth grade in 1952 as an elective. That course has served me well all these years. Also my Dad had a small manual typewriter in the 1930s that had a "chemical keyboard". When we clean out the attic this year I will have to see if I still have it.
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:04 pm

Bylo Selhi wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:39 pm
Random Poster wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:17 pm
Maybe Tom Hanks could give some advice?
A must-see for anyone with an interest in typewriters:
Sandtrap wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 7:55 pm
Right now, I have a Hermes Rocket, portable manual typewriter on my dinner table. Just finished cleaning and servicing it. Still runs great. More of a novelty now. Worth $$ in mint condition. I guess it was the "laptop" of its day. 50's/60's I think.Made in Switzerland. All steel including lid.
My dad bought one second-hand after WW2. He used it daily as a business and personal typewriter until the 1960s. Then I used it in high school for another decade or so. It was still working fine when I last saw it in the 1990s. I have no idea where it is now. Built like a tank. I miss it.
Yes. There's a whole "retro" thing going on now. Even global "typewriter" typewritten correspondence (pen pal) groups.
As well as fountain pens and ink. . . .
j :D

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Kenkat
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Kenkat » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:24 pm

Dottie57 wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 2:16 pm
hicabob wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:48 pm
Dottie57 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 6:36 pm
2b2 wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:59 pm
My Dad had an office model IBM Selectric that he used to let me play with when I was younger and smaller and visiting him at work.
At the time, it seemed to me that it was about the size of a washing machine. Probably weighed about as much, too.
:shock:

2b2
Big but very functional.
The fancy Selectrics used to have a little memory and were in fact primitive text editors. Then came wordstar.

Man, I do remember those days. I had a co-worker with an Osborne luggable which he used for word processing. I thought it was so cool.
All this talk of typewriters really brings back the memories. My mom was always big on being able to type as she was an executive secretary before she got married, had kids and quit her job as many women did back them. We had an old Underwood manual typewriter but I also remember we later got a Royal (the mentions above jogged the old memory) before she finally bought an IBM Selectric. It is still in the basement of my mom and dad’s house; my two sons used to like to play on it when they were little. Still works as far as I know.

When I started my first co-op job at a Big 8 accounting firm in the 80’s, we had a typing pool. You would write everything out and the ladies in the typing pool would then type it up on this big Wang word processing system and submit it back. You would mark up corrections / edits and submit it back to them. I was always very nice to them as they could pull you out of a deadline jam by turning something around quick.

Eventually we got IBM PCs with software like Wordstar and then a laser printer with DIFFERENT FONTS so you could do all kinds of crazy stuff in proposals like different fonts besides Courier and bold and larger point sizes for headers, etc. Then we got a few of the early Apple Macintosh computers and you could embedded Mac Draw diagrams directly in your Mac Write documents. This was the big time. The typing pool was shut down shortly after that.

I typed several high school papers on that IBM Selectric but when I got to college, I used my roommates Commodore 128 to edit using a rudimentary word processing program and a dot matrix printer. If I needed something fancy and it was a co-op semester, I’d print it on the laser printer at work.

There are still a couple of typewriters in the office at work that are used for typing envelopes and such although I rarely ever seen them actually get used anymore.

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: manual typewriters?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:54 pm

Pajamas wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece.

It is easy for someone who hasn't really used one to romanticize them, but the only advantage they had was not needing electricity. Even the best electric typewriters rapidly became obsolescent when word processors became affordable and then they were quickly eclipsed by computers, all for good reason.
She has at her disposal:

1. Her own Samsung Chromebook Plus (touchscreen model)
2. Another smaller chromebook issued to her by her high school
3. A 26" iMac in our home office
4. Two additional PCs around the house

She doesn't want a typewriter because she actually intents to use it to type term papers and letters. She wants one because for someone who is 15, it is a super cool and exotic antique from a bygone age that an aspiring writer should have on her desk.

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Pajamas
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Pajamas » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:07 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:54 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece.

It is easy for someone who hasn't really used one to romanticize them, but the only advantage they had was not needing electricity. Even the best electric typewriters rapidly became obsolescent when word processors became affordable and then they were quickly eclipsed by computers, all for good reason.
She has at her disposal:

1. Her own Samsung Chromebook Plus (touchscreen model)
2. Another smaller chromebook issued to her by her high school
3. A 26" iMac in our home office
4. Two additional PCs around the house

She doesn't want a typewriter because she actually intents to use it to type term papers and letters. She wants one because for someone who is 15, it is a super cool and exotic antique from a bygone age that an aspiring writer should have on her desk.
Then offer to pay for her but let her find it unless she knows what model she wants. That's have the fun of having something like that, discovering it yourself.

texasdiver
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Location: Vancouver WA

Re: manual typewriters?

Post by texasdiver » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:09 pm

Well, it turns out we apparently have a good manual typewriter store across the river in Portland so I guess a field trip is in order the next time we have a free weekday: http://acetypewriter.com/

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Sandtrap
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun Feb 25, 2018 4:32 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:54 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece.

It is easy for someone who hasn't really used one to romanticize them, but the only advantage they had was not needing electricity. Even the best electric typewriters rapidly became obsolescent when word processors became affordable and then they were quickly eclipsed by computers, all for good reason.
She has at her disposal:

1. Her own Samsung Chromebook Plus (touchscreen model)
2. Another smaller chromebook issued to her by her high school
3. A 26" iMac in our home office
4. Two additional PCs around the house

She doesn't want a typewriter because she actually intents to use it to type term papers and letters. She wants one because for someone who is 15, it is a super cool and exotic antique from a bygone age that an aspiring writer should have on her desk.
Many a classic novel from Steinbeck to Stephen King has been written on a typewriter.
j :D

Herekittykitty
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by Herekittykitty » Sun Feb 25, 2018 8:57 pm

Those were the days, my friend. I started out on my mother's Royal, then she got me a Smith Corona to really learn on - along with a course consisting of a book, records, and sticky tabs with which to cover the keys. Many a high school paper was typed on that Smith Corona.
I don't know anything.

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ClevrChico
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by ClevrChico » Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:23 pm

nisiprius wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:10 pm
The nicest "feel" on a manual typewriter, and the pleasantest (and least likely to hurt your fingers if you are really typing for a long time), are the full-sized 30? pound desk machines, but they may be unreasonably heavy and bulky. The ones I grew up with and typed on for decades looked like this:
Image
but they were really no different in "feel" or quality than the previous generation:
Image

Portable manual typewriters have a sucky "feel" to them. They feel stiff, heavy, and as if they are fighting against you.

But I honestly don't recommend manual typewriters. They have to be cleaned and lubricated. Good ribbons are probably hard to find. You have to have develop an even touch. And if the typewriter hasn't been maintained, it probably needs to be aligned (otherwise certain letters will tend to be a little bit above or below the line--ever read the O. Henry story "Springtime a la Carte?" "'I'd know that cranky capital W 'way above the line that your typewriter makes anywhere in the world,' said Franklin.")

IBM Selectric typewriters were well-liked for a reason. They produced beautiful typing. The key feel (though totally different from a manual) was very nice, and you could type rapidly for a long time without fatigue. The changeable font balls were fun.

Anyway, I am sure there are lots of good ones but the ones I know, popular "name brands," are:
--Royal for a full-sized manual,
--Smith-Corona for a portable, and
--IBM Selectric for an electric.
I picked up a 1950's Royal HH at a garage sale for $10. It had the wrong ribbon, so that was another $13 to remedy via Ebay. It now works excellent, what a machine. Magic Margins, tab set feature, etc. still work perfectly. My kids are fascinated by it.

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dratkinson
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by dratkinson » Sat Jul 14, 2018 9:16 pm

I have a Smith Corona portable around here somewhere. (Looked, can't find it.)

Parents bought it in the late '60s when I took a HS typing class. Then it followed me to college.

Recall developing a rudimentary form of cut and paste to write a report. I assemble all of my notes by stapling them to notebook paper---moving notes around until I was satisfied---then typing everything up.


I used the little pieces of correcting paper to fix my typing mistakes. To have a correcting ribbon would have been heaven.


I got it out of storage a few years ago to play with it. It still works well, but I had forgotten about the long keystrokes and relatively heavy (compared to a PC keyboard) key pressure required to make uniform impressions. (My pinkie fingers were out of shape.)


Recall seeing several typewrites in a thrift store... all priced ~$10.


You all have given me an idea. Have been using a pen to quickly address envelopes. (Saves time over booting PC, to load Word, to use "envelope address" feature.) May be time to find my typewriter and use it to address envelopes. To avoid messing up an envelope, I could type on the stick-on labels. This could be fun.


While searching for the typewriter, I did find the Sharp calculator (PC-1802) parents bought for me to take to college in 1966. The price sticker is still on the box: $119.95 (Ugh! feel bad they spent so much for so little.)
d.r.a, not dr.a. | I'm a novice investor, you are forewarned.

4nwestsaylng
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Re: manual typewriters?

Post by 4nwestsaylng » Sat Jul 14, 2018 10:58 pm

texasdiver wrote:
Sun Feb 25, 2018 3:54 pm
Pajamas wrote:
Sat Feb 24, 2018 4:40 pm
I think it would be better to give her a new Apple laptop and also offer to buy her a vintage typewriter of her choice. Let her find one herself. My guess is that she won't want to actually use a vintage typewrite for writing after a couple of days, so it would be more of a collector's piece.

It is easy for someone who hasn't really used one to romanticize them, but the only advantage they had was not needing electricity. Even the best electric typewriters rapidly became obsolescent when word processors became affordable and then they were quickly eclipsed by computers, all for good reason.
She has at her disposal:

1. Her own Samsung Chromebook Plus (touchscreen model)
2. Another smaller chromebook issued to her by her high school
3. A 26" iMac in our home office
4. Two additional PCs around the house

She doesn't want a typewriter because she actually intents to use it to type term papers and letters. She wants one because for someone who is 15, it is a super cool and exotic antique from a bygone age that an aspiring writer should have on her desk.
For that purpose I would recommend the "Underwood Noiseless Portable Typewriter". It had very quiet keys, came in its own hard case but you could take it out.I still have one somewhere in my storage. My grandmother used it in the30s or 40s. Probably what those starving screenwriters for the studios used to type in their budget studio apartments in the SF Valley.

I bought my first IBM Selectric III in 1981 it had a badge that said "25th Anniversary Edition". I paid $1200, that was in 1981 dollars, so today's equivalent would probably be about $5000.

All my high school term papers were typed on the little Underwood or a larger Remington electric. I found that the noise of the keys actually helped me create and write, I would write directly into the typewriter as many do. Remember Stephen J. Cannell,the highly successful TV screenwriter and producer, at the end of his shows (Rockford Files, A Team, etc), he is shown pulling a page out of his IBM Selectric, and it floats up in the air as his logo.

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