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Old 01-05-2012, 04:20 PM   #1
kawalaser OP
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Typewriters

For my 26th birthday I asked my girl to get me a vintage typewriter. I want one that works because I plan to use it. I want to address envelopes and write the odd letter in order to startle my friends.

I also want something that looks cool in the apartment. Satisfying both goals for less than $200 seems quite the challenge. I've found two things to be true:

1) the older the typewriter, the cooler it looks but less chance that it functions properly
2) the newer the typewriter, the better it functions but the less chance it looks cool.


IN attempting to overcome this paradox we decided to buy a 1970s-era Hermes 3000.



And while it is perhaps not as good looking as its predecessor model that Jack Kerouac used to type On The Road, I'm hoping that it will be a reliable performer. The Hermes 3000 is made in Switzerland, the land of fine mechanical watches (another obsession of mine) and is widely regarded as one of th best portable typewriters ever made.

Does anyone here still use a typewriter or have a few lying around? The more I read the more interested I become.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:31 PM   #2
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For my 26th birthday I bought myself a new Brother electric typewriter with 25 characters of memory (how they do dat?) and sold the Smith-Corona my mother gave me when I went to college.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:32 PM   #3
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I used one growing up and have it in the closet somewhere.

They seem to continue to function properly so long as you don't try to type too fast on the old ones. And as I recall there was a misalignment on one of the hammers.

Dead simple devices in reality.

Finding appropriate ribbon was always an issue.
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Old 01-05-2012, 04:53 PM   #4
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I would have suggested a Clark-Nova for your endeavors.

You could possibly move up to a Martinelli, but only if your reports are approved management.

I use a Krupp Dominator, company policy.
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Old 01-05-2012, 05:41 PM   #5
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If you are planning on using it, if you can live with an electric typewriter the baddest ones on the block were the IBM "selectric" typewriters.

Hang on, I'll find a pic.....



Now, the cool thing about these is that they did not have arms, they had a ball:



So you can get different balls and different fonts.

Now, the second coolest thing is they had a "self correcting" ribbon that was like a ribbon of white, so you hit a key and the ball backed up and whacked some white over the last letter you just typed.

Now, if you want to get a well known classic, the "Underwood #5" was pretty much the Model T of typewriters:
but the old stuff is like old cars in that they are interesting to type a letter with but would suck to have to do any real amount of work with. Another typewriter to look at is a "Smith Corona" if you want an old yet reliable/repairable machine.
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Old 01-05-2012, 06:26 PM   #6
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How about this classic?



Could use a new ribbon and a good cleaning, but still works and look who makes it.



Yep, they made typewriters too.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remington_Rand
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:21 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey View Post
If you are planning on using it, if you can live with an electric typewriter the baddest ones on the block were the IBM "selectric" typewriters.
I remember a time when between a BMW 2002Ti, a pair of Barcelona chairs or a Bang and Olufsen receiver, there was nothing you lusted after more than a Selectric.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:28 PM   #8
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I aquired an older selectric, but it needs a tuneup and as I'm not in the same state, hopefully there will be someone to work on it when I get around to it.

Learned on one and just love the fact that that carriage does not move - reminds me a bit of a Teletypewriter in that regard.

Plus, changable fonts! That was RAD back in the '70's you know. Kids today just have no appreciation for what that meant to a mimeo publisher. Well, technically I used a xerox, but I still had to do layout with a typewriter.
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Old 01-05-2012, 09:54 PM   #9
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Oh shit! This thread reminded me that my grandad had a selectric. That thing was awesome.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:18 PM   #10
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Good ol' daisy wheels... gawd, I can still remember the sound of those things whirring away...
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Old 01-06-2012, 01:45 AM   #11
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The entire purpose of the qwerty keyboard, was to slow you down to avoid collisions of the hammers. other keyboards (dvorak) allow you to type much faster, but I never did adapt to them. qwerty rules the world.

I grew up with a manual typewriter, It was probably the best xmas present I ever got.

I graduated to computer keyboards about 1983,

For years and years, I kept an old underwood manual, wish I'd never gotten rid of it.

I admit, I would like to have a manual typewriter around.


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Old 01-06-2012, 06:51 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawalaser View Post

IN attempting to overcome this paradox we decided to buy a 1970s-era Hermes 3000.

The greatest Hermes 3000 story every told: http://www.electricsheepcomix.com/almostguy/


(typewriter comes into the story here: http://www.electricsheepcomix.com/almostguy/77.html)
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:10 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by GreaseMonkey View Post

Holy jeebus! That is the exact same type I used back in my freshman year typing class in highschool! 1978, to be precise.

Only guy in a class of 20 girls. Ah, mammaries...er, memories, I meant.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:31 AM   #14
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I seem to remember that the fastest typest of all time was able to do it only on a manual mechanical typewriter since the electric ones were too slow. Also HE was a HE and not a SHE which was odd back in the 1970s.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:49 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by jazzmans View Post
The entire purpose of the qwerty keyboard, was to slow you down to avoid collisions of the hammers. other keyboards (dvorak) allow you to type much faster, but I never did adapt to them. qwerty rules the world.
Which is, of course, complete bullshit.

http://www.utdallas.edu/~liebowit/keys1.html
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