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23-7-2022 15:38:33  #1

Line Spacings From One To Three

I’ve noticed that some typewriters only have 1-2-3 line spacing choices while some have added 1½ and 2½ as well. My personal preference is 1½ which to my eye is less crowded and still gives me room to marking edits if I choose. When I see images of pages folks have typed I have yet to see any with three line spacings. Does anyone know for what purpose the option for three was  created?

Just one of the many questions that come to mind while moving the woodpile from the front yard to the back.



24-7-2022 14:45:54  #2

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

I would have thought that it was to allow for extensive editing via cross-outs and insertions, especially in first  drafts.


24-7-2022 19:04:41  #3

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

I'm wondering if the legal profession in the days when everything was typed is what drove the typewriter makers to offer 3-line spacing ?



24-7-2022 21:55:28  #4

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

I can see how having a wide gap would make it easier to make additions and corrections.The developers and design engineers must have felt it was useful for someone. I wish all my machines had a half line selector but some don’t. My two standard desk Olympias (SG1 and SG3) have 1 to 3 with half steps in between. The only other is a S-C Coronet Electric 12 with a manual carriage and it does not have the half steps.

     Thread Starter

25-7-2022 07:09:58  #5

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three


Keep your eye out for a Facit standard.  My 1972 Facit T2 has 1-2-3 settings and mid-steps in between.


25-7-2022 07:34:23  #6

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

Thanks for the tip Pete. Is it more of a standard size machine option do you think? The time is past to stop at the local business equipment store and ask the sales staff whose buying what machine for which features.

     Thread Starter

25-7-2022 10:20:01  #7

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

Actually I have a little Brother/ Webster portable here from the late 60s that has 1½ spacing. This is a very basic consumer machine (no tabs, for example), so the feature was not only found at the high/ professional end of the market.


25-7-2022 10:27:33  #8

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

Yes, most of my portables have 1-1½-2 spaces but only the standards add 2½-3. The answer to why may be lost in some historical applications somewhere. I'll keep an eye out for a reference and hope for the best.

     Thread Starter

26-7-2022 01:29:39  #9

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

While there are likely exceptions to this, I would note that all of the European typewriters I've owned (from England, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and Switzerland) advanced the platen in 1/2 line space increments. While my American-made typewriters advanced the platen in full line space increments only.


26-7-2022 14:40:33  #10

Re: Line Spacings From One To Three

OK, I'm throwing this in here to head off dogmatic claims. To make categorical assertions about typewriters is not smart or even useful.

The common Olivetti Studio 44 and its derivative, the Olivetti-Underwood 21, are large portables, not desktops, and have these marked positions on the line space setting lever: 0 -- 1 - 2 - 3 -- 4 and they are not what you think. From the Olivetti user manual:  "... set in position 1 for single spacing, in position 2 for intermediate spacing [1-1/2 line], in position 3 for double spacing, and in position 4 for triple spacing." It goes on to point out that the 0 position disengages the spacing mechanism and allows the platen to be rotated freely, e.g. for super scripts and subscripts, and returns to the original line when the lever is returned from 0 to another numbered position. Well, we're used to that, but note that 3 gives double spacing and 4 gives triple spacing.

Note also that you can get 1/2 line spacing and 2-1/2 line spacing by setting the lever between the 0 and 1 and the 3 and 4 respectively but those unmarked positions do not have detents so it is hard to hit the position accurately and you risk vibrations changing the setting unnoticed. Still, 4 official line spacings of which only one is on the half-line, and 6 total spacings of which 3 are on half-lines.

I am confident that there are other "perfectly reasonable deviations from the beaten track".


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