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Typewritten: Introduction

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The rabbit hole is often pretty shallow, just deep enough to break the ankle.  It grabs you, shakes you about, and leaves a lasting reminder.  This blog is my rabbit hole, my vast network of scattered obsessions, the work of a disorganized artist careening out of control and barely in touch with normalcy.
My primary obsession: Typewriters.  Perfected pieces of ingenious mechanical engineering.  I have alienated myself, becoming a social recluse so that I might be able to harbor more nerdish knowledge about these machines.  It’s not healthy, but neither are Oreos with double cream filling.  Some things are just good for the soul.  I’m not quite sure what drives my passion for these single-purpose, clunky, mechanical devises.  Perhaps it’s my love of beautiful words (can guys like that kind of stuff?), or maybe my strong affinity for mechanics (sounds more masculine).       I began collecting these pieces of history a several years ago, but my interest had begun way before.  It’s become m…

1937 Underwood 6: the Heirloom Project

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In 1937, this machine was purchased brand new by a man who needed to write.  The Underwood 6 was a follow up model to the 5, which is etched into typewriter history as one of the greats.  The 6 is virtually the same machine, with an indented and textured front plate, textured side plates, and a textured paper table.  In subsequent years, the machine pictured barely survived a house fire and a flood which left the machine smoke damaged, and completely solidified with rust.  The restoration process to get it working again required a complete tear down and cleaning, leaving the machine working, but still looking like a piece of history.  The current owner of the machine is an author—the granddaughter of the original owner.


The carriage was the first to come off, entire thing was frozen with rust 
More rust 
More rust....again....it was bad..
The left knob was so frozen up that it had to be the one part I couldn’t fix. 


 The platen end caps were made of copper, and to my surprise, so wer…

Fabricating parts for a Hammond Typewriter

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The shuttle guard on a Hammond typewriter is an important bit of metal that is responsible for ensuring that only one letter strikes the page at a time.  Due to the unique construction of the machine, the striking force is delivered from the rear, rather than from the front.  This presses the paper, which is held straight and vertical, into the type.  All three rows of letters on the type shuttle contact the surface of the page, and the shuttle guard ensures that only the desired letter is inked and impressed.  This piece undergoes a lot of wear in the course of a century, and sometimes needs to be replaced.  I was contacted by J. Posey to fabricate a new shuttle guard for his Hammond Multiplex.









Starting with several photographs, I outlined rough shape and dimensions of the part and transferred it onto some lightly tempered steel.  The steel is paper thin and was cut with scissors.

The two wire clips on the sides were similar to older paper clips of a thick stock wire.  These were solde…

Music

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I listen to a lot of music, I have no favorite song or artist, or even a favorite genre.  However, I do have a favorite album.  I’m the kind of person who’ll pick a single great song out of an entire stack and hate the rest.  But just one album has seemed to hold the only spot in my favorites category every day since I first heard it in 2005.  The indie album “Illinois” by Sufjan Stevens. I’m not sure why this one album enraptured me so much.  Maybe because it had been engrained in my life for so long.  Now this isn’t the only album from Stevens that I love.  “Carrie & Lowell” is excellent, and several songs cherry picked from a few other albums made my playlist as well.  “Illinois” though, man...don’t even get me started on track 9.  That’s my jam.  I’ve got it on all my devises, I covet the CD, and have a backup cassette just in case ;)

Topping the charts back in 2005 doesn’t seem to do it enough justice.  It should’ve stayed there, though it did make the top 100 songs of this cen…

Ribbons

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So, I was asked what a typewriter ribbon does.  Of course I gave the simple technical answer about the medium for transferring ink to a page, but it really got me thinking.  What really is a ribbon? In a way—in a far-fetched, metaphorical way—a ribbon is akin to a soul.  It’s a medium people use to express their ideas.  Not just those, but their sentiments, their intellect, and all these are recorded through a silk ribbon soaked in ink.  Sometimes one feels that the ribbon will go on forever, pouring out words at their command, but then it unwinds completely, what was once happening, has now ceased. A life only stretches so far, only carries...only gives, so much.  And when that ribbon runs dry, and all those ideas have been committed to a page, it’s purpose has been fulfilled.  When one has given all they’ve got, when one has poured themselves out completely, when one can no longer hold on, they have fulfilled their purpose.  The end of the spool falls away.
Perhaps now, it doesn’t seem…

magnets

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The nice thing about all metal typewriters, is the fact that I can put magnets on them.  Like this Snoopy picture I drew.  I have also found out that magnetic legos can be used as a sort of office caddy.  Not like I’d use it myself, but the option still stands.  They’re quite strong.




Very strong...

4/22/18

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Well, here's one of my ideas.  Me and a buddy are going to open up an etsy shop sometime mid July.  We'll be buying and selling, and repairing.



And that's that.  Trash into Cash, right?  Got our sights on two early Underwood 5's, a Remington Super Speed, and a 5, as well as a 2 Royal KMMs an Underwood SX, and a L.C.Smith.