Sunday, June 14, 2009

Venn Diagram Overlap

Lately, I've been looking at manual typewriters again, as you may have noticed. There are some real beauties out there, like the Corona 3 I own, the multicolored Corona Four that followed it or the colorful Royal, Underwood and Remington portables. Underwood, in what may be some kind of play on their name, did woodgrain paintjobs in a handful of colors, including walnut, ash, red and a deep green that might be imitation marble and Royal offered nifty shaded solid colors, while Remington turned out two-tone machines sparkling with 1920s curb appeal -- not to mention sleek Steamliners in the 1930s! Neat stuff; I'm all agog over a Remington orchid & lilac two-tone.

But I don't know enough about them. Some of the old machines have known weak spots, design flaws and parts made of Unobtanium. No point in collecting doorstops, at least not for me, so it's time to learn more. Collectors being the way they are, the Web is full of info and photographs and I commenced to web-wander.

It didn't take long to trip over the venerable and useful Classic Typewriter Page and once there, my attention was caught by a link to a discussion of what must have been a shining moment for typewriter fans: the CBS G. W. Bush "National Guard" letter forgeries. The site-owner provides analysis from the kind of expert experts look up to, a man who knows just about all there is to know about proportional-spacing typewriters, one Fred Woodworth. The name seems familiar and we're informed he is an anarchist.... Oh, that Fred Woodworth!

Can't say he and I would agree everywhere (he floats a notion about the forgeries, for instance...) but it appears he is the sort of surly curmudgeon I admire, avoiding computers and doing his own printing with a very high degree of skill and stubbornness.

Small darned world, isn't it? Now, where's that tinfoil? My old hat's all filled up with CIA mind-control waves! Um, or not.


Brigid said...

When I was at Dad's I spotted one he had that is not used. I remember it being in the house since the early 60's so it's older than that. I was so busy I forgot to really "look" at it, but I'll ask him what it is. If it's something unique I'll give him some money to UPS it to me. Might be worth taking a look at.

John B said...

Before the house fire of '89', we had a small collection ranging from the late 30's to 1986. About 20 of the beasties. Mom replaced her newest one, rather than cope with my computer and canon daisy wheel. Now we have 3 reliable daisy wheel printers and I throw out any ink-jet that falters or shows weakness. Oh, and I have an IBM Selectric, that my computer-phobic friend wanted to borrow for his latest run thru college. I lent him a usb thumb drive instead.

staghounds said...

I mess with old typewriters a bit, and when I saw the superscript on the Rather memo I knew it was a modern forgery.

What no one other than I seems to think is important is that Mr. Rather was a manual typewriter/linotype press reporter for many years.

He, personally, with his own hands, was using typewriters every single day in the late 1960s.

HE KNEW THEY WERE FORGERIES TOO. The moment he saw them.

Roberta X said...

I was chantin' "fake!" too. --The way TV news works, there is some question in my mind if ol' Dan actually had a good look at the pages before they hit the air. While it is fun to pretend the network anchorpeople who read the news write some of it, that hasn't been true for decades. At best, they have some input at the editorial meetings.

Old typewriters: just picked up a Remington "Envoy" of the later type. Easily the best small portable I have used. Beats their big Noiseless 7 portable, IMHO. Got sniped on the two-tone lilac Remington, tho. >sigh<

Anonymous said...

On the other had, RobertaX, if you had an inop typewriter and no possibility of finding parts to refurb it, you could produce a fusion of old and new - the Underwood No.5 PC:

capcha: deritu a foreign language term for something you regularly do.