Sunday, March 29, 2015

"I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools.

Let's start with typewriters.”  
~David Gerrold


That quote is from a 1989 novel A Matter for Men, but now one would have to include smart phones(always chuckle at that - smart phones not smart people) and computers.  Think social media...tweet...tweet.

Anyway, the Gregg Shorthand magazines that I talked about last week have some wonderful ads in them.  The typewriter ads are especially appealing.  As Mad Men enters its final season, the vintage world of secretaries on HDTV goes to the rerun world.
Did you know a machine to "impress" letters on paper dates to 1575?  An Italian printmaker Francesco Rampazzetto invented the 'scrittura tattile'.  In 1714, a British inventor obtained a patent for a machine that "for impressing or transcribing of letters, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print; that the said machine or method may be of great use in settlements and public records, the impression being deeper and more lasting than any other writing, and not to be erased or counterfeited without manifest discovery."

The Italians continued to work on the typewriter designs.  In 1802 Agostino Fantoni created a design for his blind siter, and in 1808 Pellegrino Turri produced carbon paper for his typewriter.  By 1823, Pietro Conti di Cilavegna invented another model.  What is funny in researching this is that so many sites ignore the European influences.

It was not until 1867 that the American inventor Christopher Sholes marketed the typewriter that we know today.  He sold his design off to Remington, and it took some time for him to find a market.  In the 1870s the economy was sluggish (see...nothing changes), and people thought they could write faster than type.  The 1880s brought the Industrial Revolution, and business needed to turn to "technology" to be more efficient.
Here is a typewriter from the 1930s...love the color...and i-pads and i-phones thought they were fashionable.
Here are some of the ads...


 The older typewriters are still out there.  I love the repurposing of the keys where the mechanisms have been degraded by space and time.  I had an artisan create watches and bracelets for me.






And I will leave with an anonymous line that the Baby Boomers will appreciate...
" I heard that if you locked William Shakespeare in a room with a typewriter for long enough, he's eventually write all the songs by the Monkeys."

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