Saturday, February 28, 2015

A Tip on Ribbons

I am sure the more experienced collectors already know this, but in case it has not been addressed, let me say it here: if you own more than one type writer and use them regularly, pick one and stick with it until the current ribbon is completely shot. Do not install brand-new ribbons on all of your machines and assume that they will retain their ink when you come back to them after year.

I currently have four typewriters in my new apartment: the Fleetwing, the Olivetti 21, the SM9, and my DL 5. I installed a ribbon on my Olympia more than a year ago. Last week I burned out for the first time in a while to use it again and discovered that the ink had dried considerably. Therefore, I have decided that I will not switch typewriters while I am in the middle of a project until the ink is completely gone. Not only will this allow me to more thoroughly evaluate whether or not I enjoy a machine, it will also save me quite a bit of money in the long run.

The only question that remains to be answered, is whether or not the ribbons I ordered for my Olympia about a year ago are still good. I have not opened them, but if my experience with calculator ribbons is any indication, they too may have dried out by now. 

That would be a real shame. I like the idea of being able to buy in bulk.

66 pages into that new novel! I don't have any idea how long it is going to be, but will see if I can get most of the draft finished by the end of the summer.

I have been deliberately stalling when it comes to putting Internet in the apartment. In retrospect, I am glad that I have not done so yet. As soon as I get home from work, I have five hours to do whatever I want. Usually I read or write a little more on the manuscript. I use very little electricity to keep the room lit. My Panasonic desk lamp is still faithful as ever. I have discovered that background music via local radio station is also helpful for my writing. It drowns out the ambience of the apartment building, like my neighbors talking or watching TV.

I guess some purists would say I am closer to the "historical" Typewriter experience than others. I have to say I enjoyed this arrangement. It's one less thing I have to pay for, and I am getting a lot more work done. Plus I am not constantly tempted to waste time surfing the Internet doing useless things.

We'll see how much longer this experiment continues. Thus far, it is yielding positive results.

Power to the pen!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Remington Gives You Fleetwings!

Suffix ERF is a surefire way to know if it's a Holland made machine.

The chipped guide post for the top plate.

Monday, February 16, 2015

You Know the Weather is Bad When... look outside and see THIS.

But I've got plenty of books to keep me company and lots of copy paper.

Time to get started on that new novel!

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Arthur Hailey's Vanishing Girl

I went to check out the local library this week. Since I don't have proof of residence yet, I couldn't get a card. However, I browsed the selection and identified some authors that intrigued me. One such person was Arthur Hailey.

 Best known for his novels Airport, The Moneychangers, and Hotel, Hailey wrote stories
based on minute research into the world's various industries. 

I have a soft spot for vintage hardcover books, and when I spied the library's selection of Hailey novels, I knew they were such (they have a lot).

This photo appears on the back cover of Hotel, which was first published in 1965.

Of course, you can see why I snapped this image. The typewriter! I wanted to know what model is shown here. I hopped on Google and tried my best. Richard Polt didn't have anything in the "Writers and Their Typewriters" section of his website. Hailey's wife wrote a memoir I Married a Best-Seller. A keyword search revealed that at one time, Hailey used an IMB of some kind (presumably a Selectric). However, that's not what you see in the photo above.

So, wanting to find more information, I Googled more images of Hailey. I came upon this curious piece for sale on a website. (I would have uploaded the image, but the company never replied to inquires about their copyright policy).

Strange, isn't it? The photo from the back of the book cover is credited to a Robert C Ragsdale. I couldn't find any information about him, and I'm making an educated guess that he's since passed. Nor could I find any other place on the internet with either photograph.

We now have a triple mystery:

1. Which photograph is the original?

2. Why was the photograph altered, and who is the little girl? (I think it could be his daughter)

3. What kind of typewriter is being used? (That's why we're here, isn't it?)

I'm terrible at solving mysteries, and this is no exception.

Anybody out there with a clue?

Friday, February 6, 2015

February Makes Me Shiver

I shouldn't complain too much. I have a job with great benefits, a woman who loves me, and a passion I enjoy. That's more that what most people have in this day and age.

By the way, one very special piece of good news I have for everyone is that Vern is currently training an apprentice. His name is Marcus. Quite the nice young fella. It gives me joy to know that the art is being passed on to another generation. He seemed eager to take a look at two other machines of mine that need work.

Power to the pen!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Without Fear or Shame

For one day only, the typewriter will be featured on Google's home page.

Langston Hughes in 1936. Photo by Carl Van Vechten

Born in 1902, Langston Hughes was a prolific civil rights activist, writer, and central figure of the Harlem Renaissance. Beginning his career in 1921, he continued writing until his death in 1967 with over a dozen novels, plays, short story collections, and volumes of poetry to his credit.

Hughes' work portrayed the working-class black people, who led lives filled with struggle, joy, laughter, and music. As the nation edged closer to racial integration, many considered Hughes' style and subject matter out of date.

Fellow writer Loften Mitchell said of Hughes:

"Langston set a tone, a standard and brotherhood of friendship and cooperation for all of us to follow. You never got from him, 'I am the Negro writer,' but only, 'I am a Negro writer.' He never stopped thinking about the rest of us."

Of all his work, Hughes is probably best known for his poem "The Negro Speaks of Rivers."

In his manifesto, "The Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain," published in 1926, he wrote:

"The younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn't matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly, too. The tom-tom cries, and the tom-tom laughs. If colored people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, their displeasure doesn't matter either. We build our temples for tomorrow, strong as we know how, and we stand on top of the mountain free within ourselves."

Truer words rarely spoken.