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27-9-2020 00:08:09  #11

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

I'm not sure people in offices were entirely enthusiastic about their equipment. I mentioned to an ex police seargent that I was on my way to pick up a new typewriter, and he quipped he was glad to see the back of them.

Which is interesting. It seems the new enthusiasm for the wonderful machines we treasure elevates them to a height not previously seen.

'Paraiso' Gerry Mulligan with Jane Duboc 1993

05-10-2020 13:19:43  #12

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

I feel there is a parallel to the re-emergence of vinyl records.  They are primarily desired by people that didn't have to deal with them the first time around and can be enjoyed for their own sake now that there are relatively hassle-free option for day to day use.  People now interested in vinyl will probably listen to the album they purchase primarily in an electronic format which doesn't scratch or wear out allowing them to enjoy their vinyl when they are in the mood for it and most people using typewriters now are likely to have access to a computer which they will likely use when revisions, error correction, and easy of sending a file are important.

As much fun as typewriters can be, I have zero desire to use one for a term paper, mathematical typesetting, footnotes, or anything where there is no tolerance for a few errors.


05-10-2020 15:59:38  #13

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

Then there are those of us who never stopped using typewriters or vinyl. This continued enthusiasm is probably far greater than 'new' typewriter buyers realize, mostly because older typewriter users don't make a big fuss about the tools they use.

Typewriters differ from vinyl in your comparison because they have a direct impact on the work process. Word processors allow for editing on the fly, which can be a real distraction. In some cases it's also a counterproductive method. Typewriters require discipline and using your brain as a word buffer, which is why I prefer to write anything of substantial length using a typewriter. Editing after the entire draft as been written, and then typing out the final copy, is a far more effective (and enjoyable) method for me.


28-12-2022 19:46:17  #14

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

Tristan wrote:

I don’t suppose anyone wrote any reminiscences about a large office in the old days? I'd be very interested to read about it. Memories, perhaps from members?

Well, I still have (and use) my old office desk.  The company gave it to me (for a dollar, to satisfy the tax people) when they upgraded the furniture to a "cubicle farm" in the early '90s.  The desk was probably made in the '60s or '70s.

The main desk height is 29 inches, while the typewriter extension table has a height of 24 inches.  It looks similar to this one (I don't feel like cleaning mine off to take an actual picture...):

Anyway, the typewriter surface is a full 5 inches below the "writing" surface, and it works very well for that purpose.  The picture above looks closer to 3 inches - perhaps there was some variation over the years.  While we had adjustable office chairs, they certainly didn't raise/lower 5 inches.  Even if they did, our legs would have been in an uncomfortable position at one side or the other.  So a typewriter really DOES need to be on a lower surface than one would use for writing, regardless of the chair used.  The chair is then adjusted to be at the optimum height for writing (the main surface), and then it's automatically at the correct height for typing as well.

Anyway, that was the "usual" setup in my office, and several other offices I visited from the mid '70s to the early '90s.  Before that, I recall seeing typewriters on roll-around carts, which were also lower than typical desk height.


28-12-2022 19:49:00  #15

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

Oops - seems my reply above went to the wrong thread.  I thought we were talking about desk height for typewriters.  Oh well, I had too many tabs open anyway...


29-12-2022 12:53:03  #16

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?


I remember work places looking just like this in the 1970's when I joined the ranks of the "working poor".

Those metal desks (made by a company called HON) were great and we were so happy to have one with the "return".  Even if you did not type for the job, that extra work surface was a real bonus.


29-12-2022 13:32:55  #17

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

Thanks for jogging my memory, Pete.  Yes, they were made by HON.  I think there's a small emblem somewhere on mine with the name.  That picture you posted is very typical of what I saw in the '70s (and even into the '80s).

I didn't actually have a typewriter on mine - that's what the secretaries were for.  I was an engineer in research & development - but we still had the same desks.  I would sometimes "borrow" the secretary's desk to type up personal correspondence or a quick memo when she was busy elsewhere.  However, at home I have a typewriter installed just as pictured, and it's a nice setup.  Of course, there's a second typewriter on my other side, as well as a third behind me on a typing table - but that is a product of the modern resurgence and would have felt bizarre "back in the day". 


29-12-2022 14:36:52  #18

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?


Here is another great period-photo with what looks like more HON office furniture.

What is very interesting to me are the BIG Olympia electrics on some of the desks...2 in the fore-ground and some more way in the back of the photo.

They all seem to be the same as my Beast...Olympia SGE-A62's.

And even an Olympia calculating machine on the closest desk. At the opposite side of that desk; a big glass ash-tray.


30-12-2022 13:37:38  #19

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

That orange chair, the clothing and hairstyles scream mid-70s to me.  Do you know the location of this photo?  Here in the US at that time, I saw mostly IBM Selectrics with an occasional Royal standard or Smith-Corona electric.  Until last year, I had never seen or heard of Olympia.

HON is a US company, so it's highly likely that this photo was taken in the USA somewhere.  I wonder then if Olympia was more of a West Coast thing.  I grew up in New England and never saw one.


30-12-2022 17:52:51  #20

Re: Accidental typewriter desk from Ikea?

Hi Jim,

My big Olympia dates to the photo matches.

Olympia - USA distribution was based in Sommerville, New Jersey


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