This blog began as my way to document older and interesting books I encountered while working at a used bookstore (see Archives). I subsequently concentrated on recipes, some from old cookbooks, but then the blog languished. After completing a Letterpress class, I begin 2017 with renewed enthusiasm (on my part) and focused more generally on the process of creating books.
The circa 1920’s typewriter in the above photo sat unused and gathering dust for decades until a creative project required a typewritten poem. Without belaboring the point, typewritten script has a unique appearance that a computer does not. So, I found a typewriter repair shop (more easily than I thought), and when I dropped my machine off was surprised at the dozens of typewriters—including electric—that lined the shelves for repair or maintenance. Whatever the reasons, there is definitely a renewed interest in typewriters.
A little history: Royal produced the first upright (as opposed to flatbed) typewriter beginning in 1914. The oldest models had two beveled glass panes on each side. In 1920, the Royal 10 models had a single beveled glass pane on each side (see photo). These machines are incredibly heavy. Royal launched portable typewriters in 1926. The first electric typewriter was produced in 1950. We all know what happened to typewriters after desktop computers.
When I look at my Royal I like to remember writers, like Ian Fleming, author of the James Bond books, who allegedly used the 1947 Royal Quiet Deluxe model. Remember the sound of a typewriter, somewhat addictive like that of coins falling into a slot machine? I had forgotten how difficult it is to punch the keys or correct a misspelled word. The only “cut and paste” with a typewriter is the literal one. No delete button. Even newly cleaned and oiled, my old Royal will not replace my computer. So I plan in 2017 to think about how things are changing for writers/artists/publishers/editors. For example, will online books replace print? What has texting, blogging, twitter and so on contributed to or taken away from writing? Like the typewriter, what else will we leave behind?