The pitter-pat of little keys

Random trivia: I like typewriters. I guess I have enough to count as a “collection” at this point.


It wasn’t intentional.  It started with an adorable little Smith-Corona portable manual.  I found it at an open-air rummage sale in New York City when I was there in 1996 or so, and the fancy teal-blue case with the “design by Ghia” logo caught my eye.  For $10, I had to have it, and so it came home with me.  I replaced the ribbon and used it a few times for small projects, reveling in the feel of smacking the keys hard enough to make clear letters.


A few years later, I picked up a pair of boat-anchor IBM Selectric IIIs at an education-department liquidation sale.  I always enjoyed writing on those monsters; something about the Gatling-gun chatter of that ball slapping the paper at 35-45 words a minute is intoxicating.  It puts my muse in a metaphorical pillbox, mowing down the charging Nazis of self-doubt and intimidation and the words come flying out.  Both of the Selectrics need maintenance, which they haven’t gotten yet, but I’ve been lugging them around for ten years now, and I still intend to fix them up some day (as evidenced by the cache of spare Selectric ribbons I picked up on eBay, just in case).  Now that scanning text into word processing has gotten more reliable, they may one day yet be a viable way of writing in longhand.


There’s also a real antique, a black crackle-finish Remington Rand Model 5 in a hard-shelled case, that tumbled into my hands at one thrift store or another.  It dates to the 1940s, so it’s not old enough that the steampunks would mine it for keys, and I wouldn’t let them have it even if it were, since it seems to work just fine.  That one’s not going anywhere.


And, now, I’ve picked up an electric Olympia Report deLuxe as an estate-sale castoff.  I actually got it with intentions of selling it–it was an “all this is going in the trash” rescue–so I plugged in to test it, and it works fine.  And, just like has happened to me with a lot of cars, the one little test-run made me want to keep the cute little machine. The best I can do now is to put it up with an exorbitant price, knowing full well that nobody’s going to pay me $75 for it, and oh, darn, I guess it’ll have to stay.  Maybe one day I’ll write something on it.  I do so prefer typing on a typewriter to a computer keyboard.  I have spent hours floating around the internet in hopes that someone has created a viable hack for turning a typewriter into a USB keyboard, but haven’t found a financially feasible one yet (there’s one company doing conversions for $1000+).  But a kitty can dream.

Why do I do this to myself?  Dammit.  I’m going to need a really big display shelf.  And perhaps I shall have to learn to fix typewriters.