September 11, 2012

Just My Type

While it's no secret that I love 'older' equipment (my two printing presses are older than your grandparents), it almost pains me to think of the typewriter as an older device.

When I was growing up, my parents had a trusty manual typewriter. Not only was it lovely to look at, it instantly created something tangible. Like, right in front of your eyes. We had a desk and in it, all of the typing paper (thinner than what we know now as copier paper), white-out, the very curious extra ribbons (both red and black), envelopes, and stamps you could want. There was a gum eraser for keeping the keys clean, and little brushes for keeping the dust away. Letter writing was important to us, and this was the tool that helped us to do it neatly. I know I've mentioned my Grandmother's fancy typewriter before, and I've just found evidence of it here:

Perhaps I'm shallow, but I consider this typewritten example to be a part of the very fiber that makes up who I am and what I do today. My Grandmother was distinctive and stylish, and 40 years later, I still associate this mark as hers.

Later, my family 'upgraded' and bought an electric typewriter. My Mother was working as a Secretary then, and she needed it to translate her Short Hand. Talk about obsolete! Her form of Short Hand was a small blip in the history of Secretarial Language, and she had special pads filled with it. Only clear to her what was being said, she would translate her writing using—of course—the typewriter.

When she wasn't using it, I would spend hours practicing my time and seeing how quickly I could type out a page. I'm not ashamed to admit this, but I am still somewhat of a Savant when it comes to typing speed. Ask anyone that has worked with me—I'm wicked-fast on a keyboard, and I know it's because of the hours spent knocking out these self-imposed tests. To make it more of a challenge, I would then type for perfection—trying to see how long I could go without making an error.  No "X's" over my letters, no Sir-ee. This was OCD-Paradise! FDSAJKL: The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over the Lazy Dog. I'd even type out my thoughts and sentences for fun. At some point, my parents brought in the 'correction tape', and I made it almost a point of pride that I never broke that stuff out.

Here we are, decades later, and I'm still loving the typewriter. I bought one a few years ago for my daughter, and it almost brought me to tears to see her working on her alphabet:

Which brings me to the video up above. The good folks at Uppercase (click) are creating a book titled, The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine, and they need orders to be able to publish it. This is where we come in! Perhaps you would also love a book about typewriters? Let's keep the conversation about them alive, and click here to pre-order yours. xo Victoria


Bromeliad said...

Old typewriters definitely have style. And I still can't type on an iPad. No FEEL to it.

Milkfed Press Blog said...

Exactly! Love the feel and the snap.