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14-1-2017 02:41:52  #31

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

TypewriterKing wrote:

With a proportional spacing typewriter, the carriage does snap with each letter--only sometimes, like with the letter I, it snaps two units. With the letter M or W, it snaps five units. On average, it snaps three units. It may seem erratic, but it moves with the measured space of each individual letter instead of one space for all letters. Believe me, it is doing the right thing.

Yup! I understand that. I am just speculating why it seems to me to be moving at its own maddening pace, like an annoying person who always manages to arrive just in time though they cannot be rushed."I got here, didn't I"? To complicate matters of course some typewriters do ooze along because they need cleaning so I am not 100% sure this one doesn't, though it does not bunch the letters anymore than it is supposed to at my typing speed.

Regarding touch typing, yes, I just think you might be right.  I guess one should not underestimate the top speed of hunt and peck - it works for xylophonists - though I did mention seeing a manual for the Smith Premier 2 which included recommended fingering, which implies something like touch typing. And I did not know QWERTY was designed to slow people down! 

Regarding typewriter prices, I guess I was fortunate to acquire a small hoard of wonderful machines at moderate prices - already a year later I can see a permanent upward price trend though still occasional bargains to be had with underappreciated standards. At least 30% wonderful machines, now the problem is how to get those other 70% out of my house 

I combined my remarks on all your remarks in one place to limit to one thread the perpetual embarrassment of always having made the last remark. You keep those super-powerful thought waves under control sir, and don't let them leak out of your house where they may cause thoughtomagetic pulse damage to unprotected brains!!!

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".

14-1-2017 17:34:29  #32

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

I'll put a rush on that order of lead shielding.

Underwood--Speeds the World's Bidness

09-2-2017 03:01:22  #33

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

A Mechanical Engineer, I am not. But, after thirty years in the business of machining parts and fixin' stuff I can tell you how to accurately measure something. Still, you are going to have to decide how to weight your numbers to make them mean anything in terms of 'Do I like this ?'/ 'Do I dislike this?' and an explanation of why it is that way must accompany all weighting. Typewriter development and marketing were big, big business and in the early developmental days nothing was left to chance. I don't mean in the very early experimental days but, rather the time when the best ideas were being refined for the market and for usability.

It seems that, like sewing machines, typewriters plateaued in their designs and features early. To be sure there were still innovations yet to be had but, all the new developments past the basic writing machine seem to be mostly market driven, until the only thing left to do to stay competitive was to make them cheaper and cheaper witch has brought us to where we are today.
I don't see too many forums devoted to the latest and greatest in digital typing today.
I have a Brother EM 501 and a EM 611 that both work fine. I used them for typing on a roll of paper because of the stationary carriage but, as it has been noted, the same continuous typing could be done on a computer and printed off without interruption. However, most of us here agree, those kind of machines just have no soul, and I am not worshiping my machines but, I do like to be inspired by them when I use them. I think many of us feel a certain connection to some kinds of machines because as we use them, we understand how they work, "I push down here and that do-dad flies up and slams into that bit over there, simple." With the fully electronic device we just don't know for sure what will happen next, we can really only assume we know. Even though we may get the desired response in a rapid and somewhat continuous manner, aren't we all just a little bit surprised and relieved in the end when that electronic thing gives us what we expected and hoped for ?
I'm not afraid of electronics, I just don't like things that I can't fix myself.
I understand all the sensors and encoders and logic chips that make the things work, it's just another c n c machine to me.
I just don't feel any kinship to the digital typewriter. There is nothing in it that moves in the same manor that I do.
"Hey, it is heavy, and as a matter of fact, it ain't my Brother....."
We, as a species, have abandoned what was a great machine and a great industry for what is cheap and easy.   


11-2-2017 10:37:22  #34

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

Rattle Tap wrote:

...It seems that, like sewing machines, typewriters plateaued in their designs and features early. To be sure there were still innovations yet to be had but, all the new developments past the basic writing machine seem to be mostly market driven

I had that discussion a few years ago about cars.  My argument was that the modern car had basically completed its design by 1918 -- not too much later than the typewriter.  Auto savvy friends replied "You don't understand how much different today's cars are from those early models!".  Not fully, but enough.  By circa 1918 cars were four wheeled wagons with a front mounted gasoline power internal combustion motor driving the rear wheels, controlled by the operator by turning the front wheels and operating the throttle.  The classic muscle car of the 60's did not deviate from this, and the "major" innovations, like putting the motor in back or the drive wheels in front or driving all four wheels, seem like minor innovations.  Electric cars were toyed with since the beginning and perhaps modern technology is putting them closer to practicality though perhaps not, and then there are the sub-species which manages to cram electric propulsion and the internal combustion engine onto the same frame. The diesel is a minor variant around since the beginning though the steamer has disappeared never to return: the only other attempt to exploit a power source radically different from what had come before - the turbine car - became a brief exercise in legend, and the Tucker, another exercise in legend and conspiracy theory pushed some not really all that radical innovations. Front wheel drive is the only moderately significant variation to catch on big in the marketplace.

We, as a species, have abandoned what was a great machine and a great industry for what is cheap and easy.

We who appreciate typewriters today are appreciating them as machinery, as personal writing instruments, as vehicles for industrial design -- but we are picking up the leaving of an industry that catered largely to the office, fed by legions of women in typing hell, and I am not sure there is much to mourn in the loss of rooms full of human and machine typewriters cranking out repetitive business letters. I guess the parallel effort to sell personal portable writing machines turned out not to have legs once personal computers arose -- I agree much is driven by marketing and our needs, even our supposed hard-headed business needs, are likely determined by clever manipulation of markets more than we realize.

"Damn the torpedoes! Four bells, Captain Drayton".

11-2-2017 12:59:13  #35

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

There can be a big difference between "basic" design and "refined" design, and I much prefer the latter. While we did have the QWERTY keyboard, a metal frame resting on four feet, segment shift, and an indexed platen by the early 1900s, I very much appreciate interchangeable keyslugs, spring-loaded keytops, enclosed housings (thoughI miss the machinery, I like the dust protection and noise reduction), quick-change ribbons, quick-change margins (when they work), etc.

I would argue for a higher plateau in the 1950s and '60s for 'most everything mechanical, including cars and typewriters. 1918 didn't even have electric starters for cars nor synchromesh transmissions. Camera lenses didn't have anti-reflection coatings until mid-20th century yet could you say the basic design plateaued in the 1840s and just enjoyed frills ever since? You could just as well say the basic design of the automobile was set by 1257 (say) with four wheels on a rigid frame with a power source in front and controlled by an operator for acceleration, steering, and stopping.

I suppose the key here is to find a time when an industry has developed all the features that you personally find indispensable and then call that the Golden Age.

I have this challenge that I put out at slow dinner parties: "What inventions made after 1800 would you absolutely not want to live without?" I, personally, can think of only three. The typewriter is not one of them, but I have heard some people include television. (I'm not calling 1800 my golden age, though!) Clearly, communication was well handled by the quill pen and the typewriter was just a refinement.

Ehhhh, it's all too personal to be argued seriously, but to argue in fun is great fun.


12-2-2017 02:27:03  #36

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

I simply dislike something that I can not see working.
Electronic devises can be just as unpredictable as spending an hour to formulate and record a well reasoned response to a forum question only to have it disappear for no apparent reason because "An error has occurred".
I believe that just like anything else electronic and computerized equipment is getting worse and worse while it gets cheaper and not better and less expensive through advanced technology.
Some of the mechanical components of the food storage can making machinery that I run is older than I am (51) and yet, through good design and execution it continues to run 24/7, 6 and sometimes 7 days per week.
Last year the company that I work for produced 49% of the 31 BILLION steel food storage cans made in North America, on those machines.
Every day when I go to record my SPC data I will get at least one fatal error that forces me to re-boot so that I may continue work.  I don't care if I am comparing apples to oranges, it's the world I live in. If my manual machinery goes down, I can fix it. If the computer goes down, someone comes and tries "jiggling the handle" and then goes to get another one to replace mine with. The other day I noticed there are three dead CPU's under the bench.


12-2-2017 16:56:42  #37

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

I know this thread has already answered it, but  two words:
1. Ugly
2. Electric


16-2-2017 23:47:42  #38

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

You could look at service life. Mechanical machines after 40, 80 + years are still going.  A little cleaning and proper adjusting; many times they act like new.  Same for sewing machines.  Electro-electronic assisted not so much.


17-2-2017 23:38:38  #39

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

Repartee, I think that the title of 'typist' has just been traded for 'data entry associate ' and it would seem to be a much worse place to work, in great part, because so much more is expected from the same number of hours under the guise of greater efficiency through advanced technology.
I just don't see a real honest reason for the complete demise of the manual typewriter.
I'm talking about a good one here not this TSO (Typewriter Shaped Object ) that is seen for sale for some organization called the memory keepers (?) I wonder what it would cost to build the favorite typewriter of anyone's choice, in low production numbers today ?
$ 1500. (US) for an Underwood 5  would be a steal if I could be assured it would give good service and be serviceable for the next 100 years.
Who buys a new car for $ 30-$50k and expects to have it for more than 3-5 years?
Who pays $50k for a car believing they will keep it for the rest of their life? 
Andy Rooney is probably only one of very many that made their living on the same Underwood 5 all his working life.  (so I read some where.)
The high quality typewriter is just like the high quality home sewing machine in respect to its demise.
They didn't outlive their usefulness, they where forced out.....


26-2-2017 15:26:15  #40

Re: Why do electronic typewriters get short shrift?

Anybody ever used a 1960 SC Electra 12? There's one in my neighborhood and I thought I'd take a look.


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