Friday, 23 June 2017



My quirky little desk planner tells me it is World Typewriter Day today. Although I type on my keyboard a lot, I don't use my typewriter so much these days. I suppose I've been spoiled by the instant edit function and you can see by my ancient typewriter eraser that I have made a few lot of mistakes while using a typewriter. 


 However, once I do get out my powder blue, portable typewriter I'm always glad I did. It's very nostalgic for me, bringing back memories of high school where I learned to type. My class was doomed to use the old manual typewriters while all other classes had the benefit of electric ones. I didn't much care because the dinosaur model we had at home needed a bit of pounding to get the letters on the paper so I didn't have to alter my method of typing as my sister did when we were at school. Pounding the keys of an electric typewriter produced lots of extra characters as well as stern looks from the typing teacher. I remember typing letters on our old relic, mostly typing in red as the ribbon was so worn and the black ink had to be saved for school work. It was something my father brought home from work one day, saved from being trashed.

I have very fond memories of those days and believe it or not that typewriter. It weighed a ton and it was a two-man effort to drag it out of my mother's closet and get it onto the table so we could use it but it was worth it. My sister and I both used it for letters and also typing work for school. It had that distinctive font that only typewriters have and fewer keys than modern keyboards have so things like the exclamation point had to be created by using a period/full stop, back-spacing and using an apostrophe. In time we got more adept at typing these two-part characters.

Some made use of the fact that you could type, back-space and over-type another letter or symbol which lead to the original emoticons. And there were those who took it one step further and created artwork using their typewriters. These images would range from simple little pictures to full blown works of art. One man in particular, Paul Smith, a man with severe cerebral palsy, created masterpieces with his manual typewriter. When email was new and everyone was forwarding everything and anything, I received an email detailing Paul Smith's work and have marveled at his typed images ever since. You can read the amazing story of Paul Smith and see some of his work here. 

Typewriter art by Paul Smith
The typewriter has a long and distinguished career which you can have a look at by going here.  I admit, before I read this article I had no idea just how long the concept of typing had been around.  The writing ball produced by a Danish Pastor looks very interesting and I'd love to see how it actually typed. I googled typewriter images and the weird and wonderful collection of typewriters/contraptions  that ensued was incredible. Through all its manifestations, from archaic to state of the art, I still have a fond affection for our old Royal typewriter. I'm smiling just thinking of those wonderful days.

Today, I thought I would type a letter or two in homage to World Typewriter Day. It will be a nostalgic journey, and I'm looking forward to it. Why don't you type some letters too? Go on, drag out your old typewriter and live the dream! For those of you who don't have the pleasure of owning a typewriter, go here for some fabulous fonts that immortalize our old friend. I've used Travelling Typewriter font for the banner on this post. 


6 comments:

  1. As I do not own a typewriter I must honor the day by recalling memories of learning to type in school on a manual typewriter. What force it took to press the keys! As I think of it now I do miss the sound of typing. Half way through the school year all typing students moved to the opposite side of the class and I was able to use an electric typewriter. Oh what a difference! I was glad to have learned on a manual as transitioning to electric was far easier than the other way around. Those of us who started on manual enjoyed the groans and complaints of those who hadn't fully appreciated the ease of electric until they moved to the other side of the room. Thanks for sparking a memory.

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  2. Typing on a typewriter is very nostalgic for me too. I was without a typewriter until recently when I found one in a charity shop. I was giddy with joy and bought it right away! It's a little portable one and for that I am grateful as I don't think I could lift the old Royal one we had growing up!

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  3. What an amazing person. I dreaded typing. I think I hated it. My mother refused to allow me to accept an art scholarship because she wanted me to "be a secretary like your sister." I took typing classes in high school and college, just in case. Today I rely on the American Typewriter font, and Hanks (Tom Hanks' typing app). I almost wish I had such fond memories of the subject as you two. :)

    I just called my sister, the ex-legal secretary, to see if she still has her typewriter. A degree in Secretarial Science did well by her. It gave her unheard of financial independence for a woman in our world. I forwarded this post to her poste haste. :) Now you know why I have problems typing/keyboarding. LOL.

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    1. I took typing and shorthand to help me when I went to college. I didn't really use the shorthand but I'm so glad I learned to type. My typing class was an eclectic bunch taught by an older gentleman who wore a bow tie. He would walk around the class room as we did our work and use a pointer, you know those wooden sticks with the rubber tips, to touch someone on the shoulder and say "Sit up dear, good posture is essential to good typing." It makes me smile to think about it.
      I'm sorry your memories of your typing class aren't as fond as mine. I was forced to take classes I didn't want to take too and I know what a drain they can be on your "flow." But we are survivors and lived to tell! :)

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  4. Thanks for the link! Paul is admirable and amazing and one of a kind.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about Mr. Smith. I still go and look at his work from time to time. I'm always stunned at the intricacy of the images he has created.
      Do you remember a time when typewriter images were popular? My mother got a t-shirt with a picture of my sister, brother and I done in typewriter characters. Unfortunately it was her favourite shirt and people were always looking at her shirt and then at us. Even worse, she had the printout of the picture framed and put it on the wall in the parlour! How I wish she would have put one of Paul's beautiful pictures there instead!

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