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Type Talk » New Member Thread » 02-2-2023 16:16:58

Hi Jimmy, 

I suppose I could have begun learning to write better earlier than I did. Sadly it wasn’t until I began to think about leaving the workplace along with maintaining mental acuity while aging. Now at age 70 after working in heavy excavation construction for 50 years arthritis has decided to make some activities difficult to nearly impossible. During the height of the work season there would be days of 10-12 hours gripping a steering wheel and control levers. That said all my penpals are between 60 and 80 and none of them ran equipment and all have mentioned arthritic hand issues. Only one has chosen to write with a typewriter while the rest are still using pens. Thankfully I’ve been reading their cursive for long enough that I can usually decipher what was written. They all like reading my typed pages so perhaps one day the spirit might move them. 

It seems at the moment that striking typewriter keys straight down-ish while typing allows me to use any of my machines tot write with. Should the manual machines get to be a problem I have a number of electrics. When I wrote with FPs it was fun to use many of the inked pens for one letter. Now it is equally fun to do the same with typewriters. Write on! 


Portable Typewriters » End of page indicator on 1954 Empire Aristocrat » 23-1-2023 10:57:01

It does seem that adding a notch to see the bottom of the page would have been an easy manufacturing enhancement and yet it apparently didn't happen until later. I wonder if it was an employee suggestion and did that person get to be employee-of-the-month?


Type Talk » New Member Thread » 12-1-2023 17:59:47

ravvale1 wrote:

Hey George. Totally agree with everything you said. While I don’t yet have an arthritic challenge with writing with a pen, I have always had both a legibility problem and at least discomfort, if not pain writing that way. The computer was a kind of liberation, in that now, I could write, communicate and get through 10 years of rabbinical seminary, and years as a chaplain in the USAF.

But it still felt like a lacuna to me. It wasn’t me physically writing. And when I did, even I can’t read it sometimes. Never have that problem with a typewriter, no matter how many typos. As the title of a book about the beatniks says “The Typewriter Is Holy”! Amen!

Hi Steve,
Everything you mentioned about handwriting had been my experience. Then about 4-5 years ago I wanted to change that. It is seriously embarrassing not to be able to read ones own handwriting. The first thing I did after watching a number of videos about improving my writing was to get some fountain pens. I write in cursive and felt that the rolling ball of the pens I was using was like being on roller skates and for me hard to control. The other discovery was to write slower and space the letters just a bit. Before long my handwriting was fully legible and I was having fun doing it. Sadly in the summer of 2021 my letter writing had become painful and a letter would take many hours to write. Re-discovering writing with a typewriter meant no legibility issues and I once again was having fun doing it. Even today one of my penpals can be challenging to read some of it easily. That said, there are few things more wonderful than getting a personal letter in the mail!


Electric Typewriters » What are the most reliable and easy to service, easy to use, electric? » 12-1-2023 13:49:19

OregonJim wrote:

I agree about the disconcerting feeling of using an electric with power return.  I understand why they're built that way - to keep up with fast typists - but still, it's jarring.  Like Pete, I much prefer one with a manual carriage return lever.

One thing that keeps electrics behind manuals (for me) is the fact that they're not autonomous.  With a manual, it's just me and the typewriter.  I can take it anywhere.  An electric is dependent on a whole host of infrastructure and people to keep the grid going.  If the power goes out, it becomes a useless brick. 

The imprint from an electric is more consistent than from a manual, removing some of the human element - but is that necessarily a good thing?  I find myself without an answer as I can see advantages on both sides.  

I'll add to that it seems finding a well maintained electric (at least here in Eugene) is also a challenge. The motor also makes them heavier although being heavier probably keeps them in place as the carriage slams to a stop.

Type Talk » New Member Thread » 12-1-2023 13:36:36

ravvale1 wrote:

Hi there. My name is Steve. I started this obsession/passion with a Hermes 2000 back in 2019, which I bought on eBay from a writing teacher by the name of Dean, who had written an essay on his eBay sellers page, explaining that while the computer and its great software might be the best *word* processing tool, the typewriter is the best *thought processing* tool.

I was struck by that idea, bought that machine (partially wanted a typewriter to write Quintin Tarantino a thank you letter for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, and felt a typewriter was the best way to do that), and found that a) it’s true. And b) I have fallen in love with the typewriter as my best bet to write everyday.

So, in short; while I do have a small collection now (my current favorite and my main everyday writing tool being my Underwood TouchMaster Five aka “The Tank”), my main interest is using these brilliant machines for writing.

Great and grateful to be here.
Thank you for adding me.

Hello Steve and thank you for expressing your joy of typing. For me it was writing by hand becoming arthritically challenging. A neighbor reminding me that I once loved to type and then looking around I found this forum. 

The first manual machine I roll over to my desk is also a standard; Olympia SG1. Thankfully I managed to find three great, rolling metal typing tables. At just under 40 pounds there is nothing 'portable' about it. The solid mass of the standards makes them the best to type on in my opinion.


Electric Typewriters » What are the most reliable and easy to service, easy to use, electric? » 12-1-2023 12:43:57

I also like electrics but I'd be happier if they didn't seem like they were trying to throw the carriage off the machine. Having a powered mechanism raise the typebar with a degree of uniform strike force creates a nice looking page. The folks I write to have commented on noticing the difference between manual and electric. They also have noted that the IBM Wheelwriter 10 looks more like a modern printer.


Maintenance & Repairs » 1976 Hermes Baby inconsistent carriage lever line advance spacing » 07-1-2023 10:25:13

Pete E. wrote:

I find they still yield a good set of key-tops, lots of springs and small nuts, screws, washers, platen knobs and other small parts, etc. to make the the time to dismantle them worth the effort.

Pete, thank you for the reminder about harvesting parts from machines I deem not worth repairing.


Type Talk » What typewriter line spacing and on what typewriter, for letters? » 02-1-2023 13:06:41

Kalani wrote:

Do you have more thoughts and tips?

Hello Kalani,

I think as you've noted the variety of writing tools is one aspect I too find attractive. Here in Eugene there are no pen/stationery nor typewriter shops. With only online shopping as an option I spent more money that I care to think about finding fountain pens that I could always want to write with. The last couple of years I chose pens made only out of 'natural' materials rather than 'exotic resin.' The cost of a shaped piece of plastic tipped with even a steel nib can be more than most of my typewriters. Yet when I first began shopping for a typewriter that would be a machine I loved to write with they seemed high priced. Folks were, and still are, trying to sell something that they found for crazy prices. Now there is a premium added to buying a typewriter with other than standard typeface. Sadly for those of us aficionados of typewriters we can't go to a typewriter shop and order a factory fresh, custom machine. Someday I hope to find a script machine that speaks to me at a price I want to pay. My current grail machine is to find a Hermes Ambassador that doesn't need to be shipped and I can try before I buy.


Type Talk » What typewriter line spacing and on what typewriter, for letters? » 01-1-2023 21:24:32

When I was writing letters by hand my nibs of choice were at least a medium and mostly broad along with some cursive italics. I expected my pens to put some ink on the paper. I also wrote using an 8mm line template under the page. If it was lined paper I’d skip a line. It drove me crazy then and now to have the descenders interfering with the words in the next line. It took a while but I learned that if I slowed down and spaced the letters just a bit it was way more readable. All of my penpals are still writing by hand and with fountain pens. (I have some type-pals but that’s in just the last year.) Some of their handwriting I really have to work to read. When I began typing my letters it just seemed most natural adding some spacing. I doubt that there are any hard, fast rules in formatting a letter and less so for a personal letter. With so much electronic communication getting a personal letter in the mail, whether handwritten or typed, is a special event. I and all my correspondents use indented paragraphs. 

I’ll add that when I was handwriting and doing it slow enough to be fully legible there was no way I could keep up with my thoughts. Let’s just say that caused some strange sentences at times. I’m not a fast typer but it’s much faster than handwriting and my hand doesn’t ache at the end of a paragraph, let alone the page. 

I think it’s a personal letter so you’re allowed to make it personal.


Type Talk » What typewriter line spacing and on what typewriter, for letters? » 31-12-2022 12:15:27

Hello Kalani, 

Interesting survey question. When I made the post you referenced it was interesting to learn more about line spacing. Personally I always use a 1½ line spacing for writing letters or anything I’m writing for myself. All my typewriters are either Olympias or Hermes except for an IBM Wheelwriter 10. They all have the the one and a half setting. To me single spacing looks condensed and not as pleasant to read. More space also gives me room to edit and make corrections if I’m re-typing it. I did have a S-C Coronet Electric for a while that only had 1-2-3 so I used 2. If I’m filling out a form that is asking for a lot of information in very little space I use Elite and single space.

For paper size I use Letter, A4, A5, B5 and some handmade papers. I make no distinction between whether the typeface is 10, 11, or 12 CPI unless the recipient were to mention it being hard to read. So far no one has commented other than to say how easy a typed page is to read. I used to write all my letters in cursive using a fountain pen but arthritic hands made that difficult. Now I write everything with my typewriters (except a birthday card I just sent my granddaughter.) I use the largest typeface I have for addressing envelopes and still use the 1½ linespacing. 


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