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JanaLanier
05-03-2005, 11:02 PM
Okay, I may be completely off my rocker, but I've been thinking about buying a typewriter. It's possible I'm just being nostalgic, but something about pounding out a first draft on a typewriter really appeals to me.

You can find both manual and electric typewriters on eBay, but I don't even know where to start. New ones (at Staples.com) are quite pricey. Will I be able to find ribbons or repair shops? Does anyone else have a typewriter they like to use? Should I just face facts and admit I live in the 21st century? :)

MMo
05-03-2005, 11:06 PM
Okay -- if you must, first check out Brother and Smith Corona. You definitely want an electric one; preferably a portable so that you can move it from room to room or place to place. They shouldn't be horrendously expensive (if still made), and a lot of the supplies will also work on their Word Processors, so ribbons and correction tapes should be available.

When shopping, you'll want to avoid the print-justifiable type (ala IBM Executive) and go for a monospaced serif font, preferably Courier, 10 cpi. The confusing thing about fonts we had to learn when going TO a computer is that cpi and pitch are reversed: 10 cpi (pica) = 12 pitch; 12 cpi (elite) = 10 pitch.

If you're going for the "feel" of a typewriter, I'd suggest the old fashioned type-bar style as opposed to the daisy-wheel type; however, I do know that at one time either Royal or Smith Corona made a portable electronic typewriter that contained printer technology so that it could be used as a computer printer, if wanted. (This is not the same as the typewriter/word processor combo that both SC and Brother at one time had.)

If you don't find a new portable that you like, you might prefer to go to a smaller office machine, such as the IBM Selectric (probably have to find that used or reconditioned) with the replaceable type ball (same font suggestions apply). This makes a really nice "typewritery" sound, although not the same as a type-bar machine. With a used machine, whichever brand you obtain, you need to make sure that the platten (the hard rubber roll the paper wraps around) is not "dead," or if it is, that it can be replaced.

Mo

Dawno
05-03-2005, 11:18 PM
If nostalgia is what you're after I'd go for a manual circa 1950's with a re-inkable ribbon. Very low maintenance and no worries about replacing the ribbon. Major issues are the lack of automatic correction features.

My daugter's school still uses IBM Selectrics because the district still requires multiple copies of certain forms which are done on the colored NCR paper. They don't seem to have any issues keeping them in repair or getting supplies, according to her (she's an office assistant).

Staples.com offers a few typewriters, Brother and Smith Corona brands, along with supplies for them. Saw a Professional Electronic Office Typewriter with display and disk drive (not too nostalgic) for just over $500US. Cheapest one was just over $100US.

book_maven
05-03-2005, 11:25 PM
Jana, if you are not certain how you'll feel after several pages or chapters, is there a place you can rent or try out a typewriter? My library still has a few that you can rent by the quarter hour, or perhaps a school might have a room with a couple they would let you use in off-hours since summer vacation is coming up. Another thought is looking through ads in the garage sales or office furniture section of your newspaper, or even placing an ad in the "wanted" section offering to take it off someone's hand's for a few dollars.

Let us know how it comes out.

DaveKuzminski
05-03-2005, 11:40 PM
I started out on typewriters many years ago. Manual typewriters were still more prevalent, in fact. I later went on to electric models, models with memories, and then to computers.

I prefer a computer. You need to only once reach a point where you have a major section of your novel in need of rewriting or restructuring in order to see the wisdom of using a computer. I won't list all the other reasons. Those will soon become quite evident on their own when you encounter them.

paprikapink
05-04-2005, 12:14 AM
I loved, loved typing on my (company's) IBM selectric. I'm not surprised that right after the Selectric, came word processors. Because I'm sure the typewriter peaked with the Selectric. You could correct with that little white ribbon on the orange spools, you could change fonts by snapping in the little ball, the machines were solid, the workings smooth, and you still had a real piece of paper with real ink on it at the end of your efforts. Ahhh. I definitely miss it.

-pk

astonwest
05-04-2005, 02:21 AM
I wish you would have spoken up earlier...
I just got through with an estate sale this past weekend, where my grandparents had an old manual typewriter which never sold...oops.

Although I do have two electrics myself...an Olympia and a Panasonic...
I, too, thought that I'd like to try writing on a typewriter like I did when I was younger. Then I came to once again realize what a b***h editing was that way...

The easier way to do it would be to find an add-on for your word processor in which the sounds of a typewriter play in the background...
:)

zizban
05-04-2005, 03:29 AM
I have a huge black Underwood which I actually learned to type on as a teenager. It will strengthen your arm muscles.

reph
05-04-2005, 04:29 AM
I still have an Olympia electric. It's handy for addressing envelopes, filling out forms, and typing on index cards (as for greeting-card submissions). One problem is that the ribbon seems to deteriorate with the passage of time even if the machine isn't used much. The type grows faint just because the ribbon's been there a long time.

Celeste
05-04-2005, 04:33 AM
There's a site where you can install the sound of a typewriter for your keyboard/computer.

Here's the link:

http://www.colorpilot.com/home-typist.html (http://www.colorpilot.com/home-typist.html)
http://www.leeos.com/noisy_keyboard.html (http://www.leeos.com/noisy_keyboard.html)

SRHowen
05-04-2005, 06:07 AM
There's a site where you can install the sound of a typewriter for your keyboard/computer.

Here's the link:

http://www.colorpilot.com/home-typist.html (http://www.colorpilot.com/home-typist.html)
http://www.leeos.com/noisy_keyboard.html (http://www.leeos.com/noisy_keyboard.html)

Somehow those never sound like my old manual one. I had an Omni keyboard metal, with a breaker switch on the keyboard--it was great felt and sounded like a manual typewriter but you had the computer.

mdin
05-04-2005, 07:51 AM
Every single thrift store I walk into has at least three old typewriters. I bet you can find a good one wherever you live without having to worry about shipping fees.

JanaLanier
05-04-2005, 04:46 PM
Lots of great advice here -- thanks everyone. Rep points all around! :)

I always entirely re-type my second draft from a hand-corrected hard copy of my first draft, so I don't think the editing would be much different.

Maybe I'll use The Navigator's advice and call local thrift shops to see if they have one of the typewriters MMo mentioned.

allion
05-04-2005, 10:38 PM
I have an IBM Selectric I found on Ebay. Heavy as a boat anchor, but I love the sound of the keyboard. The type balls are also readily available, and repairs aren't a problem where I am. I learned to type on a Selectric, so that could be where my love affair started. Built to last.

I have also had a Smith-Corona manual that is supposed to be portable, if you enjoy lugging around about 20 pounds. I had an electronic typewriter that I loaned to a "friend" and then it disappeared. That's another story - GRRRR.

I also have an old IBM keyboard for my computer that makes a similar clacking noise. It drove a coworker nuts, as I type fast and all she could hear was bangbangbangbangbang all day. She had other issues, but I did switch keyboards to keep her from going postal on me. As well, the old keyboards were built to last. Heavy, full of metal, not the plastic crap we have now.

I agree, editing on computer is so much easier now than having to retype a manuscript (did it, don't ever want to try it again).

Buying a keyboard is difficult for me, as it's never easy to try the things out in the store with the keyboards screwed to a shelf so someone won't swipe them.

Karen (who has kept people awake with her typing)

reph
05-04-2005, 11:22 PM
I use my old Olympia only for small tasks. When electrics replaced manuals, they seemed so much easier to type on. You didn't have to hit hard. Computer keyboards, however, make typing on an electric feel like hard work. I have two laptops whose keys require so little pressure that I can go much faster than on the Oly.

Strange thing. Computer keyboards are less demanding physically than typewriter keyboards, but I never heard about carpal tunnel syndrome until computers were popular. Why is that?

MMo
05-04-2005, 11:29 PM
Strange thing. Computer keyboards are less demanding physically than typewriter keyboards, but I never heard about carpal tunnel syndrome until computers were popular. Why is that?

Position of the hands and the wrists. Typists, as were pianists, were taught how to hold their hands. There was none of this laying them down on the rest and making the fingers do all the (upward) walking, just as there was none of the repetitive mouse work.

Mo

book_maven
05-05-2005, 12:22 AM
Some of you might get a kick out of these web sites related to typewriters:

http://members.aol.com/typebar/collectible/typewriter.htm

http://typewriter.rydia.net/etcetera.htm

http://typewriter.rydia.net/jamboree2004.htm

http://www.landbee.co.uk/links.html

http://staff.xu.edu/~polt/typewriters/tw-links.html

http://antique.designerz.com/antiques-typewriters.php

arrowqueen
05-05-2005, 12:56 AM
I was going to recommend charity shops/yard sales too, but somebody beat me to it.

I have an ancient Imperial, circa 1924, in the loft. If you melted it down and recast it, you could probably build a battleship!

book_maven
05-05-2005, 01:04 AM
Arrowqueen, check those web sites. You might have a collectible on your hands.

JanaLanier
05-05-2005, 01:55 AM
This is going out on a limb, but one of the reason I'm interested in a typewriter is so that I can 'see' the words as I type them.

A reading experience is textural: black ink on white paper. When we type on computers, it's black words on a flourescent screen. It's not the same thing at all. Would I be closer to my reader if I can see the words the same way they will?

I know what you're saying, I'm pretty young to be so eccentric. :)

Julie Worth
05-05-2005, 02:02 AM
It's not the same thing at all. Would I be closer to my reader if I can see the words they same way they will?



You can get closer to the reader on the computer. You can set up a format that exactly duplicates the font, justification, hyphenation and so forth that you'll get in a published book.
At least, that's what I do.

JoeEkaitis
05-05-2005, 02:16 AM
. . .or you can buy a work of art. . .or both. :)

triceretops
05-05-2005, 11:17 AM
Typed my first six books on an IBM selectric--wow, what a machine, I'm hear to tell you.

Tri

JoeEkaitis
05-05-2005, 11:08 PM
Typed my first six books on an IBM selectric--wow, what a machine, I'm hear to tell you.

Tri
One of the characters in my middle reader novel, a griffin, ghost-writes myth-and-legend novels on an IBM Selectric. My favorite font for manuscripts is Prestige Elite, based on the Selectric type ball of the same name. :)

paprikapink
05-06-2005, 08:52 AM
Strange thing. Computer keyboards are less demanding physically than typewriter keyboards, but I never heard about carpal tunnel syndrome until computers were popular. Why is that?

MMo's response is true, I think. And also, secretaries used typewriters. Secretaries are predominantly women, and not paid well. Were. Computer programmers use computer keyboards; they were predominantly men, and highly paid. When highly paid men are disabled by their work, you hear about it. A workplace health issue that affected mostly women just wouldn't get the press that a men's issue would back in the days of typewriters.

Thank Cod that's all changed and that whole gender salary gap thing is gone!
:faint:
Sorry. That's not even funny.

-pk