Recently prompted by a newsletter from Janine Vangool of Uppercase magazine, I was inspired to do something I had been thinking about for a long time, and that was to buy an old fashioned typewriter. I had been watching a few on Ebay for a while (surprised at the variety available), and very nearly purchased an old vintage Imperial in red enamel, and another equally as old. But, given that the ribbons for the older machines are very hard to find, and are themselves ‘artifacts’, and also that I wanted the machine for practical purposes as well as aesthetic, I plumped for a 60′s portable Smith-Corona Calypso in Teal, with white and red keys. The seller (Mark Law) was very helpful, and included instructions on where to get new ribbons and respooling. It arrived today, and it’s fabulous.
Like most women of my generation, I learned to type at school, in a big room, with about 40 other girls, all typing very badly to music (which got faster and faster, causing much hilarity) on big old black and gold Imperial machines. You had to be strong to thunk those keys down, and I remember the A/a always being so faint on the paper. We were being taught ‘touch typing’, and the ‘a’ key is assigned to the little finger of the left hand. Ironic I always thought, that the most used key is assigned to such a weak little finger!!!
I always have enjoyed typing (therapeutic in many ways), and loved the old machines. One of my earliest memories is going to my mothers office and being allowed to have a go on her typewriter. I loved bashing away on it as fast as I could, copying my mother (as she could type, then and now, faster than I can form words). When I was older I was given a small Petite typewriter for my birthday (which was gold coloured), and I was so proud of it. As I got older I had many others, and I think the last one I owned that I typed my first dissertation on, had a ‘golf ball’ mechanism.
Anyway, I have looked forward o my teal coloured Calypso arriving with great anticipation, as has my little girl, and envisage lots of fun showing her how to use it. So, look out for more hand typed entries…