Author Topic: Retrogeek - Typewriters  (Read 15717 times)

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Offline vasconqs

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Retrogeek - Typewriters
« on: Thu, 15 May 2014, 06:56:55 »
So, typewriters, do you own them? If so, do you use them at all?
I'm a writer, and I use a mechanical keyboard to happily type away my work,  but lately I've been thinking on getting an old typewriter, preferably something pre-WWII with AZERTY, just so I can get some brain Yoga going on. You know, when your pre-frontal cortex ends up making an upward-facing dog on top of your inferior frontal gyrus. If you catch my double entendre.
Are there any retro-geek-hackers out there?

Offline Altis

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #1 on: Thu, 15 May 2014, 11:53:39 »
Makes me think of these types of people... :p

I would sooner use pen(cil) with paper than a typewriter, personally, but I could certainly understand the sentimental and nostalgic reasons for using one.
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Offline vasconqs

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #2 on: Thu, 15 May 2014, 13:54:22 »
Makes me think of these types of people... :p (...)
I would sooner use pen(cil) with paper than a typewriter, personally, but I could certainly understand the sentimental and nostalgic reasons for using one.
Not exactly the vibe I was looking for in this thread, but hey, the internet's not mine.
Maybe if I rephrase it without the bad puns:

Sometimes it can be refreshing to change environment and/or creative process. I've used pencil and paper and other ways to brew my ideas before. I'm thinking that an old typewriter, without spellchecker, without delete key, and some odd layout for me like HCESAR or AZERTY, might jog something loose in my brain while I'm clumsily looking for the keys. If I bought one, aesthetics would have a lot of weight on my decision of which model to get. I think I can find a place for something like that in my home. So, if you have one, how/when do you use it?

Offline Altis

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 15 May 2014, 16:26:25 »
Didn't mean to sidetrack... that's just the only time I've heard much about them recently. Are you thinking of a mechanical or electronic typrewriter?

I think the biggest advantage about working from a typewriter is that it isn't connected to the Internet, allowing you to remain focused on your writing.  I think you should go for it and see how you feel!

Might also improve your typing if you become more concious of typing errors without an easy backspace function.
WhiteFox (Gateron Brown) -- Realforce 87U 45g -- Realforce 104UG (Hi Pro 45g) -- Realforce 108US 30g JIS -- HHKB Pro 2 -- IBM Model M ('90) -- IBM Model M SSK ('87) -- NMB RT-101 & RT-8255C+ (Hi-Tek Space Invaders) -- Keytrak (Blue Alps) -- Chicony KB-5181 (Monterey Blue Alps) -- KPT-102 (KPT Alps) -- G80-1800 (MX Blue) -- KUL ES-87 (62/65g Purple Zealios) -- CM QFR (MX Red) -- Apple Aluminum BT -- Realforce 23u Numpad

Offline vasconqs

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #4 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 07:26:29 »
Something manual, circa WWII. Love the aesthetics.

It will definitely have to be some awkward layout, something to change my writing flow. It's not like I'm not happy with what I'm writing, but I want to try different stuff, change gears, so to speak.

Offline Altis

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #5 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 15:25:54 »
It's certainly the most mechanical of mechanical keyboards :p No electricity involved.

Are you able to find some for a reasonable price?
WhiteFox (Gateron Brown) -- Realforce 87U 45g -- Realforce 104UG (Hi Pro 45g) -- Realforce 108US 30g JIS -- HHKB Pro 2 -- IBM Model M ('90) -- IBM Model M SSK ('87) -- NMB RT-101 & RT-8255C+ (Hi-Tek Space Invaders) -- Keytrak (Blue Alps) -- Chicony KB-5181 (Monterey Blue Alps) -- KPT-102 (KPT Alps) -- G80-1800 (MX Blue) -- KUL ES-87 (62/65g Purple Zealios) -- CM QFR (MX Red) -- Apple Aluminum BT -- Realforce 23u Numpad

Offline vasconqs

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #6 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 16:55:31 »
That's the thing. The price. I can find some really nice ones for ~100$, but for less than that they don't have those metallic rings, or are in bad shape, or are just plain fugly. So, I was kinda looking for positive reinforcement to justify this whimsical purchase. Maybe I'll find a gem buried in some flea market.

Offline ynrozturk

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #7 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 18:00:02 »
I have an old Brother type writer that I have laying around somewhere..
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Offline Altis

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #8 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 18:40:17 »
That's the thing. The price. I can find some really nice ones for ~100$, but for less than that they don't have those metallic rings, or are in bad shape, or are just plain fugly. So, I was kinda looking for positive reinforcement to justify this whimsical purchase. Maybe I'll find a gem buried in some flea market.

If you're going to do it, I recommend doing it properly. $100 isn't that much compared to what keyboards cost, even. If you get one that you like, you'll end up enjoying it and more likely to keep it. If you get one that you don't really like, because you didn't want to spend too much, you could end up not enjoying it, and write-off the whole idea (no pun intended).

And to be frank, I think that any typewriter that's several decades old has already suffered its depreciation. If you don't like it, you would probably be able to sell it for the same money you bought it for.
WhiteFox (Gateron Brown) -- Realforce 87U 45g -- Realforce 104UG (Hi Pro 45g) -- Realforce 108US 30g JIS -- HHKB Pro 2 -- IBM Model M ('90) -- IBM Model M SSK ('87) -- NMB RT-101 & RT-8255C+ (Hi-Tek Space Invaders) -- Keytrak (Blue Alps) -- Chicony KB-5181 (Monterey Blue Alps) -- KPT-102 (KPT Alps) -- G80-1800 (MX Blue) -- KUL ES-87 (62/65g Purple Zealios) -- CM QFR (MX Red) -- Apple Aluminum BT -- Realforce 23u Numpad

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #9 on: Fri, 16 May 2014, 19:00:31 »
I am a growing typewriter geek, to the detriment of my wallet.  Writing was the reason that I got into keyboards in the first place. 

I love the portable manual typewriters.  No electricity!  I can type anywhere.  And it forces to me to concentrate on my writing, and not be distracted by the Internet and such.  I just love the engineering that went into the things, and the fact they can last for decades with proper maintenance.  Some of these have great styling.  Who makes stuff like that these days? 

Right now, I like to type letters to friends and family, but I hope to do more lengthy things once I get a more sturdy machine.  Some might say that I should stick to pen and ink, but I can barely read my own handwriting sometimes and my hand hurts rather quickly when writing.
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Offline vasconqs

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #10 on: Sat, 17 May 2014, 13:19:42 »
Damn you guys! Why did you give me all that positive reinforcement?  ;)
That was the extra push I needed to go for it. I bought one of these:


Offline Puddsy

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #11 on: Sat, 17 May 2014, 13:53:27 »
I have an electra 12

probably gonna get it restored over the summer
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Offline ynrozturk

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #12 on: Sat, 17 May 2014, 18:28:46 »
Damn you guys! Why did you give me all that positive reinforcement?  ;)
That was the extra push I needed to go for it. I bought one of these:
Show Image


That is so beautiful. Enjoy!
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Offline dorkvader

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #13 on: Sat, 17 May 2014, 19:17:13 »
My Selectric II is my favourite keyboard!

I plan to put magnets on the typebars and convert it to USB eventually.

Offline Altis

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #14 on: Sat, 17 May 2014, 23:31:18 »
Damn you guys! Why did you give me all that positive reinforcement?  ;)
That was the extra push I needed to go for it. I bought one of these:
Show Image


Looks good! Going to get some PBT keycaps, no doubt? No labels, of course..! :p

Enjoy your new machine.
WhiteFox (Gateron Brown) -- Realforce 87U 45g -- Realforce 104UG (Hi Pro 45g) -- Realforce 108US 30g JIS -- HHKB Pro 2 -- IBM Model M ('90) -- IBM Model M SSK ('87) -- NMB RT-101 & RT-8255C+ (Hi-Tek Space Invaders) -- Keytrak (Blue Alps) -- Chicony KB-5181 (Monterey Blue Alps) -- KPT-102 (KPT Alps) -- G80-1800 (MX Blue) -- KUL ES-87 (62/65g Purple Zealios) -- CM QFR (MX Red) -- Apple Aluminum BT -- Realforce 23u Numpad

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #15 on: Sun, 18 May 2014, 14:52:17 »
My Selectric II is my favourite keyboard!

I plan to put magnets on the typebars and convert it to USB eventually.

I think we had this discussion, but you are familiar with usbtypewriter.com? 

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Offline Tarzan

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #16 on: Mon, 19 May 2014, 10:07:17 »
My dad kept a journal/family newsletter for 30+ years, started manually using carbons and then switched to typing.  I learned to type on one of his typewriters, an older manual, which probably explains why I like the heavier keyboard switches now, they just feel "right" to me.

It looks like the price floor for a decent manual typewrite is around $50, because this is the price point where there's still some profit to be made after shipping costs.   ;D  I'd love one of those vintage Italian Olivetti models, or one of the more art deco Royal models, but prices for these are crazy high, I think people are buying them for objets d'art or display use, not for actually typing on them.  Maybe a nice Underwood to satisfy my inner Mickey Spillane. 

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #17 on: Wed, 21 May 2014, 20:16:58 »
My dad kept a journal/family newsletter for 30+ years, started manually using carbons and then switched to typing.  I learned to type on one of his typewriters, an older manual, which probably explains why I like the heavier keyboard switches now, they just feel "right" to me.

It looks like the price floor for a decent manual typewrite is around $50, because this is the price point where there's still some profit to be made after shipping costs.   ;D  I'd love one of those vintage Italian Olivetti models, or one of the more art deco Royal models, but prices for these are crazy high, I think people are buying them for objets d'art or display use, not for actually typing on them.  Maybe a nice Underwood to satisfy my inner Mickey Spillane.

Cheap finds can be easily had.  Just look at your local Craigslist, peruse some antique stores and flea markets, get a cheap one off Ebay, and then take it to a local typewriter repair guy for a quick tuneup.  Or maybe learn to do the basic maintenance yourself.  I can't imagine that it is too difficult.
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Offline hoggy

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #18 on: Thu, 22 May 2014, 12:44:48 »
Finally got around to taking a picture.
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #19 on: Thu, 22 May 2014, 12:51:34 »
Finally got around to taking a picture.
Show Image


That is a lovely typewriter! Thanks for sharing.

Offline tricheboars

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #20 on: Thu, 22 May 2014, 15:38:51 »


IBM Selectric III. this is what i own. i quite like it. i am going to type a bunch of wedding thank you letters on it soon. i really have to stop putting that task off.
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Offline Tarzan

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #21 on: Thu, 22 May 2014, 16:28:17 »
Finally got around to taking a picture.
Show Image


A classic.  It exemplifies the essence of a typewriter, nothing less, nothing more.

Do you have any problems getting ribbons for it?

Offline hoggy

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #22 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:18:38 »
I haven't tried yet, there's a bit of life left in the one in there as long as you strike the keys hard enough. I guess I need to scour eBay soon.

Tricheboars, nice looking machine you've got there.
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Offline Shadovved

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #23 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:26:02 »
Yeap, time to turn it up a notch. Sorry, cause I'm in the army and only can return home on weekends, I'll have to reuse a old photo.

Ribbons, I have stacks I bought from China the last time I visited :thumb:




Offline hoggy

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #24 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:34:54 »
I really like that salmon colour.
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Offline Shadovved

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #25 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 01:46:36 »
I really like that salmon colour.

It's slightly darker in person. But the powder coat is in darn good condition when I bought it, so no complaints about that :))

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #26 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 13:57:41 »
Yeap, time to turn it up a notch. Sorry, cause I'm in the army and only can return home on weekends, I'll have to reuse a old photo.

Ribbons, I have stacks I bought from China the last time I visited :thumb:

Show Image


Solid collection.  I would show mine off, but I have a couple incoming from Europe and one at the repair shop.  Perhaps when the whole family is back together.
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Offline SpAmRaY

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #27 on: Fri, 23 May 2014, 13:59:21 »
Yeap, time to turn it up a notch. Sorry, cause I'm in the army and only can return home on weekends, I'll have to reuse a old photo.

Ribbons, I have stacks I bought from China the last time I visited :thumb:

Show Image




That remington, middle back, is sweet!!

Offline Hypersphere

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #28 on: Sat, 24 May 2014, 15:21:30 »
I like this (the Kanzler _Schnell Schreibmaschine_, circa 1900-1910):

65880-0

In reality, I have used a manual typewriter, and I still recall the sound and feel of it. Perhaps because of this, my current daily driver is an IBM Model F XT keyboard -- I use it with a new Mac Pro. There is some kind of poetic justice in using a 30-year-old IBM keyboard with a contemporary Mac, but it is also fun to recall that the Mac was introduced 30 years ago as well.
« Last Edit: Sat, 24 May 2014, 15:31:34 by rjrich »

Offline vivalarevolución

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #29 on: Sat, 20 December 2014, 17:11:38 »
I stared longingly at my typewriter collection this morning and decided to write ****ty poetry and letters for a few hours.  I had let my collection linger for many weeks without any use, but I blew off the dust and let the ink ribbons fly.

Something about the machines create an unequivocal focus and fun with writing that I have great difficulty replicating with any sort of electronic device.  Even if I pull out my finest keyboard and turn off the wifi, or type on the smart phone with Bluetooth on the Matias Laptop Pro, or a "distraction-free" e-ink device without a browser, nothing can provide the feedback of that "whap, whap, whap" of the hammer onto the rubber platen of a typewriter, and the thrill of an instant creation that you can hold in your hands.  Even this experience now as I am typing, I have tried to remove all distractions, dim the lights, resist the urge to cruise Ebay, but not quite does like a fine session with my Voss or Alpina or Facit.

I don't like to build up large collections of anything, because things end up sitting around not being used that someone else would rather own.  I can't spend all my days typing away on both keyboards and typewriters.  The realities of the modern world and my life dictate that I should favor keyboards over typewriters, if I should have an unhealthy collecting habit at all.  Yet with each typewriting session, as short and "pointless" as it may seem, my affection for these machines is reaffirmed, and I find it difficult to make a clean break with the hobby, even though all logic says I should "Sell! Sell! Sell!"

I know the emptiness of pure collecting, and I know that my young life would be better spend doing things more practical for my future, but I have difficulty resisting these machines in a world that places so little value on anything that lasts a lifetime.
« Last Edit: Sat, 20 December 2014, 17:14:32 by prdlm2009 »
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Offline audioave10

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #30 on: Sat, 20 December 2014, 21:14:56 »
Some typewriters have the greatest-looking keys on them. Its dangerous, because I feel the need to collect again. I learned to type on one in 1970!  :p
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Offline TacticalCoder

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #31 on: Sat, 20 December 2014, 22:06:12 »
Something manual, circa WWII. Love the aesthetics.
Show Image

It will definitely have to be some awkward layout, something to change my writing flow. It's not like I'm not happy with what I'm writing, but I want to try different stuff, change gears, so to speak.

I actually worked on these kind of writers!  Basically I was helping type letters and do other little tasks at my grandpa's company which was anything but "modern": everything there was stuck in time.  It was in the mid-eighties to late-eighties (I was about 18 years old) and everything at the company was old: paint was 30 years old, furnitures were 30 years old, typewriters were 30 years old. Computers already existed: I had one at home and was already programming. But at that company there were no computers: accounting entry books were still manually filled, letters written using outdated typewriters, etc.

When they were making offers for clients with price depending on items quantity ordered, everything was still calculated/computed using a calculator (there were electronic ones, but my grandpa was still using a manual calculator) and then typed manually on one of these old typewriters.  So I wrote a program on my Commodore 64 that would compute all that automatically and print the result on a dot-matrix printer. It was my first "real-world" program, now that I think of it  :)

I perfectly remember the "feel" of the old typewriters I was working on and the sound my (now long gone) grandpa was making with its old manual calculator.

I think the manual calculator was exactly this thing (and I also remember the very distinctive feeling when operating it):



Too bad my mom threw nearly everything away... (thankfully I managed to save some stuff)

Good memories ^ ^
« Last Edit: Sat, 20 December 2014, 22:08:57 by TacticalCoder »
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Offline SamirD

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #32 on: Wed, 25 October 2017, 23:45:48 »
So I couldn't find another 'typewriters' thread, so it's time to make this one come back alive.  :thumb:

I had the pleasure of typing on two manual typewriters today probably circa 1950-1970 and man is it a totally different experience!  The throw of each 'key' is so long that people that are used to little scissor switches wouldn't know what to do, haha.

To get a solid rhythm typing on these machines definitely would take practice, and there's basically ZERO rko, so you can't hit two keys at once or they both bang into each other as they try to type the letter!  I find these machines fascinating and can definitely relate to a lot of the posts in this thread.  I guess there are worse things than pulling out a typewriter every so often to clear your head...maybe I need to get one...

I saw some older adding machines today too!  I've used their electronic modern equivalent in our businesses for cash control between shifts, but never realized their origin until today.  And the older ones--I wouldn't even know how to operate I'm afraid.

Offline Tactile

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #33 on: Thu, 26 October 2017, 00:59:47 »
You typewriter geeks are in good company.

Offline SamirD

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #34 on: Thu, 26 October 2017, 02:19:47 »
You typewriter geeks are in good company.
So cool!  Us artist types get it. ;)


Offline Olumin

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #35 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:53:46 »
Ahh, finally another Typewriter thread.
Big typewriter collector here. Mainly German machines in my Possession, but 1 remmington, and 3 IBMs. 2 IBM wheelwriters and 1 Selectric II. God what do I own, quite a few ERIKAs (my favorite machines overall), Erika 3, Erika 10 (2), Erika 20 , Erika 8, Erika 9, Erika Model M, IDEAL standard office machine from the 30s. I own a Olympia SM 3 and 4. Groma Kolibri, Hermes Baby, Olympia report deluxe, Continental standard office machine, and quite a few more Im sure.

In my experience Olympias are the most solid in build and Erikas the most solid in key feel. I would love to try a few american macines like Royal or Smith corona, but they are expensive here in Germany. Would love to own a Smith corona Silent Super in beige and with a German keyboard. oh well.

I still use a IBM wheelwriter 30 type II at work.

I also collect Mechanical calculators, and own a few including a Curta type I.

My love for typewriter lead to my love for mechnical, mainly vintage keyboards. IBM especially.
Anything you would like to know or share?

« Last Edit: Wed, 22 November 2017, 14:58:36 by Olumin »

Offline SamirD

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #36 on: Wed, 22 November 2017, 20:13:33 »
Wow, that's an awesome collection!  I bit the bullet and bought a fully working something I don't remember model a few weeks back. :)  It's just so hard to have enough space for a large collection--I have enough trouble with keyboards. :o

But I can fully understand how typewriters ended up being your gateway into keyboards--the model F, Ms, and Displaywriter beamsprings with solinoid all tried to bring the real typing experience to the computer so make the transition to what is now a ubiquitous platform seamless.  Pity that 99% of people cannot appreciate the role typewriters have played in the role of modern technology--many do not even understand that their phone's on screen keyboard harkens back to a machine that did not even require electricity.

Offline OfTheWild

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #37 on: Fri, 01 December 2017, 21:52:11 »
i have 2 or 3 1940's era typewriters that I've been meaning to restore. All came from my grandfather.
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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #38 on: Sat, 02 December 2017, 09:03:13 »
i have 2 or 3 1940's era typewriters that I've been meaning to restore. All came from my grandfather.
Oh man, that's awesome!  Got any pics?


Offline OfTheWild

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #39 on: Thu, 07 December 2017, 01:01:38 »
i have 2 or 3 1940's era typewriters that I've been meaning to restore. All came from my grandfather.
Oh man, that's awesome!  Got any pics?

Sure I went out to the garage and opened them up. I dont know much about them other than the fact they were my grandfathers, a teacher, and he likely used them until the 80's i suspect.









-Dana

Offline OfTheWild

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #40 on: Thu, 07 December 2017, 01:03:35 »
as a side note, looking down from up top with a camera flash you really get to see why it is we use a staggered keyboard layout instead of ortholinear
-Dana

Offline Carcharocles

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #41 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 19:36:47 »
187160-0

Remington 5 manual typewriter. Bought as a Christmas gift by a friend in Nova Scotia. Said friend was told it was in working condition... he wasn't happy to find out that several of the key bars were bent and that the space bar was cracked in half. Oh well. It's a nice little keepsake that appeals to my tastes, so I keep it on display with all my other stuffs.
T1000 , Firmware ver. Doge.

Most deadly of them all.
Keyboards: Drevo Gramr (Outemu Browns); Logitech K480

Offline OfTheWild

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #42 on: Wed, 24 January 2018, 20:11:03 »
very nice! I cant imagine it would be too difficult to pull some of these apart and clean them up so all their joints are working smoothly. I need to find a how-to.
-Dana

Offline SamirD

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Re: Retrogeek - Typewriters
« Reply #43 on: Wed, 28 March 2018, 07:32:24 »
Very nice collection!  I'm sure just some basic clp, pbblaster, fluidfilm would help with taming the rust and help a lot.  Those are really nice pieces for sure.

I never thought about it, but you're completely right and it's plain to see why we don't have ortholinear keys.  It's amazing to see that almost 100 years later, keyboards that have nothing to do with typewriters still have their 'limitations'.

There's several people who have written complete teardowns for some of the most popular models like the ones you have.  I'm sure a quick search will yield lots of info.  I found quite a bit on the few I have in quick searches.  It's another rabbit hole just like keyboards... :eek: