My first experience with a typewriter was my dad’s Smith Corona electric. I was too young to know how to spell, but the electric hum and the pure power of key striking paper, not to mention the sharp report of the carriage return attracted my boyish attraction to loud noises of possible destruction.
I also had a little plastic toy typewriter in either preschool or kindergarten. I remember randomly pushing keys and later folding the paper to make books. I didn’t have anything to do with typewriters again until high school.
I went to an extremely small high school. There were 36 kids in my graduating class. We didn’t have computers my first couple of years and I took a typing class on some 35 pound cast iron behemoths. I was already using a computer for word processing, but something about the clacking of the keys, the pure physical experience, attracted me. I never liked handwriting. My penmanship was awful and it was too slow to keep up with my thoughts.
My freshman year in college, my family went out to an expensive restaurant to eat. I remember the meal because of one thing. The restaurant had many antiques hanging around and on display. This was before it was common for chain restaurants to do so. Anyway, they had an antique typewriter on display. It might have been a folding Corona 3, but I’m not positive.
I was amazed by the size and portability of it. I wanted it.
That summer, I found a very crappy manual typewriter in a pawnshop. I think it was a cheap KMart model and it really sucked. I used it to write letters to some of the girls I had met my freshman year, but that was it. Ugh, it was awful. I had it for a few years, but never really used it after that summer.
Still, part of me wanted a typewriter like the one I had seen that night in the restaurant. I promised myself that if I ever settled down, I would buy myself a nice typewriter.
Many years later, I decided to settle in Portland, Oregon. Prior to this, I have lived all over the United States. The longest I’ve lived in one place was for five years.
When I heard of the wonderful invention of the USB-Typewriter, I renewed my decision to buy a typewriter. I’ve now acquired a stable of typing machines and have converted several to USB keyboards.
As a writer wannabe, I found myself constantly re-editing my work, eventually spending more time editing than actually writing. I hoped that by composing rough drafts on a typewriter, that I would push on and get the ideas on paper. So far, it’s been working beautifully.
I love cleaning and restoring typewriters. It makes me feel like I’m restoring a bit of the past, it also makes me feel as if I’m helping other writers create things of beauty.
I sell or pass on machines. I’d like to keep them all to myself, but typewriters should be typed on… And of course, I simply don’t have the room for a large collection.
I mainly concentrate on collecting antique woodgrains and cursive models. I’ve already enough to meet my needs on that front, although I would still love to acquire some pharmacist ones.
So this blog is going to concentrate on typewriters and the typewriter community here in Portland, with hopefully sometimes stretching myself to include the Portland writing community as well.
Please feel free to contact me if you’re curious or interested in these wonderful old writing machines.