Wednesday 30 March 2011

Just my type

I'm a graphic designer by profession and, though you'd never guess, fonts are my stock in trade. I have to admit never giving much thought to the fonts used on typewriters. Even now, I wouldn't have a clue how to identify the fonts on any machine I own but I'm sure further digging in the Typosphere would help. There's a lot of enthusiasm among some typerati for certain fonts - just recently schordzi's industrial archaeology resurrected Spencerian. Blazing a trail from analogue obsolescence to a bright, if contraversial, digital future. So, I thought readers might be interested in this book. I read Just My Type a few months ago and thought it was really interesting and would make a good primer for anyone with a developing interest in typefaces, the thinking behind them and the use - and misuse - to which they are put. Typewriters, Dymo and Letraset (remember Letraset?) all get a mention in passing, but the book concentrates mostly on printers' fonts, from Guttenberg to the present day. If you haven't read it, you can download a publisher's sample here. [3.6Mb pdf]

Rush hour

I went for a walk between typecasts...

Saturday 26 March 2011

Thursday 24 March 2011


Not that anyone's counting, and at the risk of trumpet blowing - ta daa - a thousand views! Thanks.


I spent part of today working on some post cards for a client, Fundraising Training Ltd.. That's right, printed cards - not everything happens online - some people call it 'marketing collateral'. One of their courses is The Art of Persuasive Writing and I had to come up with a character-driven set of images, of which this is one...
Boris the robot with his machine-made words

Wednesday 23 March 2011

typecast #6

Answers, as they say, on the back of a post-card. Or just use the comments box below.

Monday 21 March 2011


Is there any virtue in rigorously blogging daily? The word 'journal' implies daily, but web-log? The measurement from a trailing ship's log would have been measured at least twice daily - the original rolling news? No log - no way of knowing how fast you are travelling. Unimportant in itself, but essential to know your whereabouts. Yikes, 2 minutes to go...

Many boats have something like this screwed to the bottom - even carbon-fibre racing shells. This one would have been thrown over the side several times a day.

Friday 18 March 2011

typecast #3

Apologies in advance for the lo-def... had to beat the midnight deadline!

Wednesday 16 March 2011


Anyone know where I can get replacement ribbon for a Blick Universal/Klein Adler? Because of the horizontal striking action, and being a three-bank, the type-head depth calls for a 3/4" ribbon. Is this unique to this machine? Was 3/4" the Betamax of Golden Age Saxony? I re-inked this ribbon with a tube of ballpoint ink with some success - but it is perforated and becoming thread-bare.

Tuesday 15 March 2011

typecast #2

A little bleak but Typewriter Heaven seems as good a place as any.

Circa 1982. From the keys of my Blick Universal

Friday 11 March 2011

Machine à écrire

Encouraged by The Reverend Ted Munk's investigation into the typewriters of Cronenberg's The Naked Lunch, I looked up the machine a ecrire which led Antoine Doinel astray in Truffaut's Les 400 coups (1959).

© Les Films du Carrosse

Thursday 10 March 2011

# Wednesday

'ache/Ash Weds: Closer to typecast, the apprentice wrestles with Bruce Green.

Wednesday 9 March 2011

Renaissance or what?


I can't remember who it was in the last few weeks who raised an eyebrow, possibly both, at the idea of:
  1. Being remotely interested in typewriting
  2. Assuming anybody else would be
Check this out.
Then Check this out.

Pretty recent too.

Monday 7 March 2011

Oil bodkin

Here's an oil can which arrived in the lid of a Corona 4. The oil in it has a fragrant eucalyptus scent. Over-oiling was the curse of many a typewriter. It congeals to a sticky mess over the decades. The flat-ended applicator bodkin is meant to administer the smallest of drops. Looks like a mini-dipstick.
Length: 90mm

Sunday 6 March 2011

Home keys

Early 20th century reference card for the would-be typist. I'm still a two fingers and a thumb luddite.

Saturday 5 March 2011

Naming the parts

© 1919 Underwood Typewriter Company Inc, NY

Double page spread in the back of my user manual for an Underwood three-bank portable.

Click image to supersize.

Margin bells ring in Mumbai


Phil Hazlewood writes: MUMBAI, Wednesday 23 February 2011 - Purushottan H. Sakhare perches on a wall by a Mumbai pavement, slips a sheet of green paper behind the roller of his battered typewriter and winds it into position with two deft flicks of the wrist. 

Thursday 3 March 2011

All done

Nancy made a bee-line for The Good Companion
Unless I find a typewriter under the bed or in a cupboard, and until the next one comes along, I've done taking photos. If you enjoy looking at this collection, please comment and share a link. Surprised it only came to 22 machines. Here's my wish list - keep your eyes open and drop me a note if you stumble upon any of the following:
  • Oliver 3 or 5
  • Anything in bakelite
  • 1970's Olivetti Valentine
  • Hermes 3000 (curvy, like this one)
  • Bennett
  • Corona 4 in Lavender and Rose Gold
  • Blickensderfer 6 (featherweight)
...that'll do for now.

Wednesday 2 March 2011

Getting there

Blick Universal under the spotlight

Only half a dozen or so more machines to photograph and upload:
  • Corona Junior
  • Corona 3
  • Antares Parva (from 1960s Italy)
  • Underwood 4-bank in hnd painted brown (yuk)
  • Remington Home Portable
  • Remington Rand Model 1
  • Remington Portable Model 5 (streamline)
  • Imperial Good Companion (from Leicester)
  • Corona 4 (the organ donor)