AARoads Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length

Author Topic: Typewriters you've had  (Read 521 times)

bandit957

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2231
  • A natural gas bunk!

  • Age: 47
  • Location: Bellevue, KY
  • Last Login: Today at 05:35:08 PM
Typewriters you've had
« on: November 20, 2020, 06:08:04 PM »

Typewriters are cool.

In my day, my mom had an electric Smith-Corona from 1968. It was cool. I remember that it had a switch so you could switch between black and red ink. But it seems like the print wasn't real sharp, even though it wasn't that old back in the '70s.

In the early '80s, my mom buyed a new electric typewriter, and I think it was also a Smith-Corona. Instead of the old-style ribbons, it used cartridges. It also had a couple of keys that could be replaced with special symbols you could send away for.

When I was about 4, we got a manual typewriter for my bedroom. I don't know why we got it, because I was barely old enough to read. What would a 4-year-old ever do with a typewriter? But we only had it a couple months before we threw it away because the 'I' key broke.

When I took typing in high school, the classroom had about 30 electric typewriters but only one manual typewriter. Guess who was assigned the manual typewriter? This thing was probably 50 years old. Also, someone threw a stick of bubble gum down inside one of the electric typewriters.

In 1992, when I was a college freshman, I got a Brother electric typewriter.

I worked at the local library for many years in the '90s, and the typewriters there were the most advanced I ever used. They had an electronic chip that stored huge amounts of text, so you could type up book cards and pockets just by pulling a lever. The other people at the library got mad when I discovered that you could process books a lot faster this way.
Logged
Pooing is cool

Roadgeekteen

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 5966
  • Interstates everywhere to everything

  • Age: 17
  • Location: boston metro area
  • Last Login: Today at 05:46:06 PM
    • old interstate plans
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2020, 06:26:59 PM »

Never owned one ever. Never used one ever.
Logged
I'm a young roadgeek who has been interested in roads since I was a little kid.

New Interstate plans:
https://www.google.com/maps/d/u/1/edit?mid=1iR-EhsnAaBtsadqOPdZqMTHr17bKjNlB&ll=45.48421495543849%2C-76.02345977441325&z=7

Big John

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2178
  • Age: 53
  • Last Login: Today at 08:07:50 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2020, 11:05:00 PM »

First had a manual Smith Corona.  It would jam up if you typed in 2 nearby keys. Then around 1990 I got an Brother electric typewriter.  It was not needed a couple years later.
Logged

Max Rockatansky

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 13009
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Route 9, Sector 26
  • Last Login: Today at 08:13:56 PM
    • Gribblenation
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #3 on: November 20, 2020, 11:10:31 PM »

My Mom was an accountant with General Motors and thusly had several in the early 1980s.  The names of any of them elude me but they we fun to smash keys on.
Logged

KeithE4Phx

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 327
  • Location: Mesa, AZ
  • Last Login: Today at 04:06:43 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2020, 11:39:44 PM »

I used my mother's 1940's-vintage Royal manual typewriter when I was college in the mid '70s.  She had used it when she was in college in the late '40s.  I used that piece of junk classic piece of machinery until I bought my first computer and printer in 1982.
Logged
"Oh, so you hate your job? Well, why didn't you say so? There's a support group for that. It's called "EVERYBODY!" They meet at the bar." -- Drew Carey

dlsterner

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 256
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Maryland
  • Last Login: November 22, 2020, 10:57:51 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2020, 11:43:32 PM »

As a kid in the late 1960's and early 1970's we had several around the house.  When I went off to college in the late '70s I had a Smith-Corona portable that (if I remember correctly) looks similar to the one pictured below.  It had a lid that would snap on over the top to provide a carrying handle.  There was no "one" key; for a "one" you had to type a lower-case "ell", and for an exclamation point you had to type a "single-quote"-"backspace"-"period".



After graduating and seeing the start of the 1980's, I could see that there wasn't much future with typewriters, so my new "typewriter" was an Apple II+ computer and Epson MX-80 dot-matrix printer (both circa 1981).  I even wrote a rudimentary word processor in BASIC (with some speed critical parts in 6502 assembly language).  This was at a time when there wasn't much commercial software; back then you mostly "rolled your own".
Logged

bulldog1979

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 694
  • Age: 41
  • Last Login: Today at 07:54:36 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2020, 12:07:04 PM »

We have three typewriters in the family. One is an Underwood manual. That one is a beast. The frame for it is cast iron.

The other two are similar Smith-Corona electric models that are two-toned. One is light blue/dark blue, and the other tan/brown. Both come in cases that look like hard-sided suitcases. One has manual carriage return, and the other has a carriage return key.
Logged

Scott5114

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 9576
  • Age: 30
  • Location: Norman, OK
  • Last Login: Today at 06:43:52 PM
    • Denexa 100% Plastic Playing Cards
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2020, 05:01:34 PM »

My grandma gave me her old IBM Selectric typewriter (with the typeballs that could be swapped out if you wanted different fonts) long after typewriters stopped being useful (I think it was around 2001). I mostly used it for screwing around, because even at the age of 11, I was proficient with Microsoft Word.

I did actually get to use it for something halfway useful; for a few years there I was in the awkward spot where my typing was much, much faster than writing by hand, yet all of my middle-school teachers were behind on technology to the point that they didn't allow use of computers for written assignments, because spell check was considered cheating. So I asked for special dispensation to use a typewriter, and a few of them permitted it. My last couple of years of high school, more emphasis was placed on proper use and formatting of sources, so computers were actually required for those assignments. (We still had to print them out and hand them in on paper, though.)
Logged

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11755
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 05:35:27 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2020, 05:34:15 PM »

Until I was almost through 8th grade, we did not have a PC. We had my parents' old Olivetti manual typewriter that dated back to the 1960s. Typing on that thing was awful. My dad was reluctant to get a PC because he was concerned my brother and I would try to monopolize it to play games, but my mom put her foot down and said we had to have a PC before I started high school and more importantly, before it came time for me to apply to colleges.

The only times I’ve ever used electric typewriters are at a couple of office jobs I worked in the early 1990s during summers home from school. Those things were so much better than that Olivetti.
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

kkt

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4877
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Last Login: Today at 03:16:30 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2020, 06:20:33 PM »

I have a couple.  1960s Underwood manual, heavy, still works but could probably use cleaning and lube, used to be my mom's when she was in grad school.

1950s portable Olivetti, works, used to be my grandfather's.
Logged

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14997
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 58
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: Today at 03:45:48 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2020, 07:47:28 PM »

We had an old manual (can't remember what brand; I think it was a Royal) that required some brute force to use. For Christmas my freshman year of college I got a portable Smith-Corona electric version with the insertable ribbon cartridges. I knew I would get a lot of use out of it, typing papers and news stories since I was majoring in journalism, and I did. I continued to use it regularly until 1987, when I went to work for a newspaper that was just starting out with desktop publishing and I did all my composing on an Apple Macintosh computer, either a Plus or a 512K. I still used that typewriter for typing letters and things at home for many more years. I still have it, and I'll bet it still works.
Logged

briantroutman

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 2123
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 08:10:52 PM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2020, 07:53:40 PM »

As an elementary schooler—before my parents allowed us to have a computer—I was given a used Smith Corona electric typewriter. A quick image search suggests that it was a Coronet Super 12. Based on the overall look and smell of the machine and its color (brown), I assume it was from the late ’70s. As a young child, I thought it was a terrific typewriter—although tragedy struck one day when it it fell off my desk and the power carriage return stopped working. From then on, pressing return was a great way to generate a horrific buzzer sound effect.





At some point, my mother had inherited a Royal electric typewriter about the same size and form factor as my Smith Corona but a few years older. I think it looked basically like the one below.



I had a Smith-Corona portable that (if I remember correctly) looks similar to the one pictured below.



We had the same typewriter in my family—I think primarily a toy for my younger sister. And it was the same aqua color in the photo. I thought it was just a neat product: light, easy to carry, smart-looking. Kind of like the typewriter equivalent to an Apple IIc. It seemed like the kind of typewriter you’d throw onto the passenger seat of your Karmann Ghia as you escaped to your seaside cottage to write in solitude.

But being completely manual, it was actually hard to use, and since the type head’s striking force depended on your own finger force, the intensities of letters on the typewritten page were all over the place; some were reasonably strong and others very faint.
Logged

oscar

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 8154
  • Age: 64
  • Location: Arlington, VA
  • Last Login: Today at 08:02:39 PM
    • my Hot Springs and Highways pages
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2020, 08:19:35 PM »

My grandma gave me her old IBM Selectric typewriter (with the typeballs that could be swapped out if you wanted different fonts) long after typewriters stopped being useful (I think it was around 2001). I mostly used it for screwing around, because even at the age of 11, I was proficient with Microsoft Word.

I loved the Selectrics my office used before the switch to word processors. Even after the switchover, there usually was one somewhere in the office, I could use when the secretaries left for the day, until I (and most of the secretaries) took buyouts in 2011. Indeed, I might still have somewhere the Letter Gothic typeball I bought to use with them. They were handy for small jobs such as envelopes and address labels, and forms (especially carbon-paper) you couldn't fill in on a computer until the advent of fillable PDFs.

I'd have a Selectric of my own, except I have no room for one in my tiny apartment.

While I was in school in the late 1970s/early 1980s, I owned an electric typewriter, probably a Smith Corona similar to the one in Brian's post (except gray rather than brown).
Logged
my Hot Springs and Highways pages, with links to my roads sites:
http://www.alaskaroads.com/home.html

1995hoo

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 11755
  • Age: 47
  • Location: Fairfax County, Virginia
  • Last Login: Today at 05:35:27 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2020, 08:52:37 AM »

Speaking of typewriters, one thing I preferred on typewriters versus computer keyboards is that on typewriters, hitting Shift plus either a period or a comma gave you a period or a comma, making you less likely to type, for example U>S> if your style guide calls for periods in that sort of abbreviation. (Of course now I have autocorrect configured to change that sort of thing on every PC I use. In the DOS days, that generally wasn’t an option.) I suspect the average typist doesn’t intend to use the < > symbols all that often.
Logged
"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

wanderer2575

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 968
  • Location: Farmington Hills, MI
  • Last Login: Today at 07:07:13 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2020, 12:08:47 PM »

There was this installment many years ago of the comic strip Shoe by the late, great Jeff MacNelly -- I can't find it online but it went like this:

Irv the Handyman shows up with something covered with a cloth.
Irv:  "I've built a new word processing system with all the glitches removed."
Perfesser:  "Sure."
Irv:  "No more worrying about losing your stuff somewhere in the memory bank -- or having your screen jus' go blank -- or waiting for the printout!  No, sir!  This little beauty bypasses all that complex microcircuitry, the floppy discs, the bulky printers, and other this and thats!  This is the 21st century answer to to today's awkward, cumbersome word processor!  With my new system, you can actually compose right at the keyboard and get an instantaneous printout -- with a foolproof memory and retrieval capability -- and -- the greatest technological breakthrough of all -- it sells for only $119.50!"
Perfesser:  "Irv, this is incredible!  What's it called?"
Irv:  "Gentlemen, I give you..."
(he pulls off the cloth cover)
Irv:  "The Underwood!"
« Last Edit: November 22, 2020, 12:50:24 PM by wanderer2575 »
Logged

kphoger

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14378
  • Location: Wichita, KS
  • Last Login: Today at 07:56:37 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2020, 04:09:32 PM »

I remember my sister and my dad using an electronic typewriter but, by the time I got to the age of needing to type up assignments, we already had a PC with WordPerfect on it.  However, in the 1990s, there was still an occasional need to type (not write) on an official form or application of some sort.  For those times, I remember going to a fellow church member's house down the street to use her old manual typewriter.

Before all of that, I do remember using a manual typewriter, but my memory isn't good enough to say where or whose it was.
Logged
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.

Dirt Roads

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 248
  • Location: Central North Carolina
  • Last Login: Today at 08:20:27 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2020, 05:00:44 PM »

The first one I ever used was given to my folks by my grandmother, and it has a Roadgeek connection.  Sometime in the late 1940's. my grandmother became the first female route manager for Atlantic Greyhound at their main office in Charleston, West Virginia.  When the main office was closed in 1960, she was able to purchase some of her office supplies including the heavy wooden desk and old Underwood typewriter.  I refinished the desk several times while I was in high school.  My folks weren't happy that my handwriting was messing up the finish, so they introduced me to the typewriter.  I highly suspect it was original from when the AGL office opened in 1931.  I bought an older Royal electric typewriter for college.

It never occurred to me that I would follow in her footsteps and have to develop numerous transit bus operation plans in the course of my career (particularly since I am a railroader by trade).
Logged

briantroutman

  • *
  • Online Online

  • Posts: 2123
  • Location: Philadelphia
  • Last Login: Today at 08:10:52 PM
    • briantroutman.com/land
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2020, 07:46:04 PM »

Speaking of typewriters, one thing I preferred on typewriters versus computer keyboards is that on typewriters, hitting Shift plus either a period or a comma gave you a period or a comma, making you less likely to type, for example U>S> if your style guide calls for periods in that sort of abbreviation.

On the other hand, all typewriters I’ve ever used produce the “shifted” character whenever caps lock is engaged. (Every computer I’ve used still produces digits when number keys are typed and caps lock engaged.) So when you use your Smith Corona to type an angry all caps letter to the governor: “PLEASE VETO H.B. 2787!”, you wind up with “PLEASE VETO H.B. @&*&!”.
Logged

hbelkins

  • *
  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14997
  • It is well, it is well, with my soul.

  • Age: 58
  • Location: Kentucky
  • Last Login: Today at 03:45:48 PM
    • Millennium Highway
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2020, 08:18:37 PM »

“PLEASE VETO H.B. @&*&!”.

I'm sure there have been plenty of requests to veto me with profanity thrown in!  :bigass:
Logged

kphoger

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14378
  • Location: Wichita, KS
  • Last Login: Today at 07:56:37 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #19 on: Today at 10:09:54 AM »


“PLEASE VETO H.B. @&*&!”.

I'm sure there have been plenty of requests to veto me with profanity thrown in!  :bigass:

Good thing you have a secretary to weed those out.
Logged
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.

frankenroad

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 304
  • Age: 64
  • Location: Cincinnati OH
  • Last Login: Today at 10:35:47 AM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #20 on: Today at 10:28:25 AM »

Having started high school in 1970, and graduated college in 1979, I did not use any word processors in my school days.   My parents gave me a portable Smith-Corona when I was probably a freshman or sophomore in high school, and I used that until I bought my first "PC" in 1986 (it was a Tandy).   I took typing in high school, but I don't remember what the typewriters were - they were electric, but definitely not fancy.

When I had fancy typing projects (such as programs for school plays), I would go to my Dad's office and use an IBM Selectric.  They were state-of-the-art in the 1970s.
Logged
2di's clinched: 44, 66, 68, 71, 72, 74, 78, 83, 84(east), 86(east), 88(east), 96

Highways I've lived on M-43, M-185, US-127

bandit957

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 2231
  • A natural gas bunk!

  • Age: 47
  • Location: Bellevue, KY
  • Last Login: Today at 05:35:08 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #21 on: Today at 11:02:42 AM »

I guess the first time we had a word processor and printer, I was in 7th grade. (I know it was when the song "Conga" was popular.) The printer only lasted until I was a high school sophomore, when it went haywire. It was a letter quality printer, but we replaced it with a used dot matrix printer that we buyed from some guy in Cincinnati. I remember using it for school papers that year, and some of those assignments were horrible.

The word processor we used was the Bank Street Writer. It was not very advanced. It couldn't underline text, so we had to use a pen and a ruler.
Logged
Pooing is cool

allniter89

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 565
  • siss boom baa... rotflmao!

  • Age: 67
  • Location: I 10 exit 70 FL
  • Last Login: Today at 07:59:24 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #22 on: Today at 11:31:05 AM »

How many words per minute could you type? I took typing in jr high one year but never got past the hunt & peck method.
I'm surprised the young-uns here even know what a typwriter is.
Logged

kkt

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 4877
  • Location: Seattle, Washington
  • Last Login: Today at 03:16:30 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #23 on: Today at 11:35:43 AM »

I typed about 80 wpm.  Which is good for an average person but not nearly as fast as a professional typist.
Logged

kphoger

  • *
  • Offline Offline

  • Posts: 14378
  • Location: Wichita, KS
  • Last Login: Today at 07:56:37 PM
Re: Typewriters you've had
« Reply #24 on: Today at 11:37:07 AM »

In high school, I typed around 65-70 words per minute.  I haven't measured since then, and that was more than 20 years ago.

On a manual typewriter, though, I bet it's a LOT slower—if for no other reason than the stiffer action of the keys.
Logged
Keep right except to pass.  Yes.  You.

 


Opinions expressed here on belong solely to the poster and do not represent or reflect the opinions or beliefs of AARoads, its creators and/or associates.