Thursday, June 23, 2016

gone electric

Happy International Typewriter Day. I bought my little red beauty at a flea market on the Rhine for less than 10 euros. I remember seeing it almost as soon as we got to the market. I snapped it up immediately and as we browsed it quickly grew heavy. It is a portable, though, with a handle and a case that snaps shut. The maker, Triumph-Adler of Nuremberg, first made bicycles, then branched into typewriters.

I love typewriters because they’re beautiful and the writer’s totem. When I was a child, my father, a reporter, had a small study upstairs and you could hear the typewriter clacking away, busy and productive, a positive presence. Sometimes he let me sit on his lap and peck at the keys. It was our piano. I also went to high school at a time when typing was an elective class. My European colleagues have always found this funny, but in a good way, as a sign of how practical Americans are. Indeed, it’s a great skill to have. 

One of my favourite typewriter scenes in movies is the opening of Atonement, where the sound of typing soon mixes in with a piano. This is a book I wish I had read before seeing the movie, since knowing the twist takes the air out of it. It's a good twist, though. 


Kathleen said...

Indeed, I've not yet read the book, given the movie. But I may still try. Love your typewriter. I am the typewriter "expert" at work. (Meaning someone who knows how to use one.)

ron hardy said...

My first typewriter was a portable boxed gray Smith Corona with green keys. I wrote stories on it when I was about 9-12. Later at the airbase weather site in Ramstein I encountered a large Remington electric. It sat there looking at me every day. It was a mystery as to why it was there. But one fine day I began to write poetry on it. Last year Sierra asked her grandmother for a manual typewriter for Christmas. She found one at a yard sale. It was an almost identical Smith Corona. Talk about full circle.

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