Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Poetry Writing in Northern Virginia

I grew up in Northern Virginia, in Fairfax County.  My parents still live here, and it is quite different from west-central Virginia in the mountains which is home to me now.  These are some poems I wrote while sitting in a Northern Virginia Starbucks during my holiday visit home this year.  I hope you enjoy them!
A somewhat cynically designed building that has been near my childhood home as long as I can remember, described in a poem below. 
Semblance is the correct spelling, oh well.  I liked the word "balance" being part of the word, so we can pretend this is not an accident...

Same building at night as viewed from the Starbucks. 
Google it, the Evoque is certainly a "city truck".

My faithful Consul 221, a great typewriter indeed!  And the orange car in the background may indeed be an Evoque... there are a lot of them up here in Fairfax County.

My car in a crowded parking lot, the subject of the poem below. 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

More Ridiculous Typewriters in Ridiculous Places

An IBM Selectric Personal at a local bar in Blacksburg.  I got quite a few looks, but it was pretty fun and totally worth lugging it around.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Typing Beach Poems

Corolla, North Carolina Outer Banks 

Duck's Cottage Coffee and Books Check them Out! 
Touched and surprised to see a two year old note I wrote them so they would know they are awesome. 
Ducks Cottage is the best place to type if you are in the northern Outer Banks.  It is right in Duck by the water tower. 

Underwood 319s probably float...right? 

Yours truly.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Jeweled Escapements

Addendum: One of my readers, Adam, sent me an eBay listing of an encased escapement from one of these and it is clear that there also is at least one jeweled bearing on which the escapement wheel rotates.  It is possible that the dogs mentioned below are not jeweled, but to my eye they still appear to have tips which are not steel.  It is most likely that just as in a watch several parts are jeweled.
It is my mission now to find one of these in horrible shape which I can tear apart so we can have more definitive information.  I am somewhat considering tearing apart my own Classic 10, but it's probably still in good enough shape I shouldn't.

Surely some of you have seen this symbol on some Smith Corona typewriters, this example being an early sixties Classic 10.  You have probably wondered what a jeweled escapement is.  Maybe you have seen watches labeled as being 7, 15, 17, or 21 jewels.  The jewels used are often corundum (gem varieties being ruby and sapphire) and they are used either as bearings or in places where they are struck to reduce wear and friction.  Corundum has a hardness of  9 on the Mohs scale, just below diamonds which are hardest. 
The escapement in a typewriter works like an escapement in a watch.  There is a gear with long curved teeth which can be sort of seen in the very center of this photograph.  Each tooth is a space.  Sometimes if one tooth is missing or damaged a machine might skip every certain number spaces, that number being the total number of teeth on the escapement gear.   The movement of this gear is restricted by little escapement dogs, and those are the parts which are jeweled.  In the picture below we zoom in roughly to the red box seen here.
Here we have one of the teeth on the escapement gear indicated by a blue arrow.  The two dogs are both indicated with green arrows.  If you look closely at the tips of these you can see they are a different color, sort of a black in contrast to the steel.  These are the jewels.  If you google "Pallet Stone Jewels" in regard to watchmaking you can probably find a pretty clear diagram.  Since they are a blackish color my guess is that these would be sapphires, but obviously not ones which are gemstone quality.  They are however, indeed literally jewels.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Creative Writing Piece: Night Driving

I was told by a fan of this blog I should post more, and furthermore that they would like to see some of my creative writing.  I had a vision of this being a blog just about typewriters and typewriter-esque things, but I am happy to share some of my writing if you want to see it!  I will clearly be marking all of my poetry or creative writing as such so that those of you only interested in typewriter things can just glaze over it.  For the rest of you who are interested, please enjoy and look forward to more posts like this one:
Sometimes saying to oneself "Ok, let's just write like Kerouac" is a method for writing terrible stuff, and sometimes it turns out all right.  I did this bit in three quick drafts in rapid succession, the first to just barf it all out.  Then I read it aloud, noted to myself which parts I did not like, and then wrote the second draft copying the first draft and making adjustments and adding and subtracting a few things.  Then I read that aloud, and marked and made changes with a pen, reading it several times.  I then typed this draft you see having made all my changes in pen and adding just a few more, mostly adding or removing punctuation or single words.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pop's Ice Cream and Soda Bar : A Perfect Place to Type

Strawberry banana ice cream soda and a Hermes 3000 I bought and blogged with 
Brandon making a tasty treat on the 80 year old soda fountain 

Friday, June 17, 2016

Word on the Street - Hand Typed Poems

My FAQ designed so people could answer questions while I thought or typed.  Very few people seemed interested in reading it though. 
These excellent photos were taken by my friend Curt Ramsey.

Monday, May 2, 2016

My Favorite Typewriter (is mine now!)

I guess I have two machines I often call my favorite; one is a favorite for writing and one is the one I most enjoy owning.  I love the Royal Aristocrat/Arrow/Quiet De Luxe for writing and I own several.  One particular Aristocrat is my favorite and another Aristocrat is my most used (the one pictured above).  It is hard to top these Royals for typing experience, at least in regard to my own personal tastes.  The Underwood I love for several reasons.  I am pretty interested in World War 2 and I have been for most of my life.  A typewriter that served my country was really high on my want list for a long time before I found this.  There are machines labeled as Navy and others labeled as Army but I was particular to the Navy once since my father was an officer in the Navy and so are a handful of my extended family and friends.I grew up around.  The Underwood has a few features modified for military use including an easy to read 9-pitch typeface and a shift lock to keep the carriage from bobbing in an airplane. 
So, what if these two favorite machines could be combined into just one?  Well, here is a 1942 Royal Arrow built for and used by the U.S. Navy during the second World War.  I am so psyched to have this.  It was actually a gift from a fellow typospherian who knew I wanted it badly and decided he would like to give it to me.  Wow!  This has been THE top machine on my want list for a few years now, and well, here it is!  Will it be the sole favorite machine?  Probably not, because the large all caps typeface is not always appropriate or preferable, but it is way more a favorite than the Underwood already was.  And it types just like those other Royals... and sometimes you do need large all caps... ok, it's probably the best candidate for Mark's favorite typewriter.  It's so awesome.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Typewriter Pricing

I hope this information will be helpful to anyone unsure about decisions related to purchasing a typewriter.  Learning how to buy typewriters is a process just as anything is, but with the right attitude I think it can be pretty straight-forward and simple.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Smithsonian Typewriters

Firstly I'd like to recognize that work from several people went into this.  I was lucky to meet a few, including two I met personally: Stacey Kluck and Heather Paisley-Jones who were both incredibly friendly and happy to answer questions and let me have a closer look at some of the things on display.  Thank you so much and we look forward to more events!

The event was called the "Type-O-Rama" and was part of The Object Project, which is an initiative by the Smithsonian to engage museum-goers with machines and inventions on a more personal level than the other side of a glass case.  The exhibition was small but covered large floor space and the noise of typewriters attracted plenty of people (I snagged this picture early on).  
Not just any Underwood 5, but the one used by Mildred Wirt Benson to compose the first 23 Nancy Drew books.  For me at least there is something deeply special about a machine used to write so many influential and bestselling books.  I love the places where the paint is worn, and the missing pieces on the carriage top.  It certainly seems well used!
This machine is a Bing, labeled as an Anfoe Student, which was owned by Shirley Temple.  This was my first time seeing a machine that had been in the Soboroff collection (I was told he donated it).  So this one has a big provenance, with a little extra bonus provenance.  Very cool an in excellent shape. 
A Royal KMM used by Carlton E. Morse for an old radio show "One Man's Family".  I will admit I am not familiar with it but I can attest the KMM is a good choice for consistent work over a 15 year time span (the length the show ran).  This one bore a plaque that my camera didn't like to try and photograph in the strange light that says "One Man's Family / on / N B C / 1932-1947"  Hmm, this machine could only have actually been used for the last 8 years, and it has rectangular shift keys, so maybe only the last 7 years... that's only half the show!
This is the Typewriter Rodeo making a glorious ruckus.  Closest is a Royal QDL, then an Imperial 70s portable, a nifty Oliver portable, and last a very nice Remington 2. 
This was taken just moments later from the other side. 
I stood in line to have David write my poem, which was a nice coincidence because he is a like-minded Royal Quiet Deluxe fan and his machine is exactly like my favorites. 
Not part of Object Project, this piano looking thing could be spotted on the way in and is an 1868 patent model for the Type Writer built by Christopher Latham Sholes, Samuel Soule, and Carlos Glidden.  All of you typewriter fans owe a great deal to those men and this exact machine among other prototypes leading to the eventual debut of the Sholes and Glidden.  It's pretty surreal to stand right next to it even with a plate of glass between.