Thursday, August 5, 2010

Fabulous & Frugal Fun: All Keyed Up.

When I tell people that at my first job in journalism I wrote all my copy on an electric typewriter, they have a hard time believing me. So it goes without saying that I still have a fondness for typewriters.

I love the way a typewriter's keys press the type into a page and the clattering sound it makes in the process. And then there is a carbon-like smell that comes from within that may come from the ribbon that allows words to appear on a piece of paper.

This Olivetti number sat in a window for Selima Optique at Bond 07 just a few blocks away, showing off the French brand's eyewear as the machine appears to spew out pages of type.

Any time I've seen one of these technological relics from the past sitting in a room and filled with paper, you can bet that someone has fiddled with the keys and left a message. I know I certainly would!

Always Frugal, Always Fabulous,

The Elegant Thrifter


  1. I love tinkering with typewritters. I've never had to use them in my working life but I remember having one as a child, bashing on the keys and dreaming of one day being a hack.

  2. i asked for a typewriter for christmas when i was 6 or 7 years old. of course my grandparents obliged me. i would sit for hours, writing my memoirs and the next great child-novel. thank you for rekindling this little memory!

  3. Watching "Mad Men" and their IBM Selectrics and that typeball brings back memories...I had a red one that was thankfully 'self-correcting' as I was more of a 'sexetary' than a 'secretary' who thought the office was a fashion runway instead of a think tank. Still a good typist, but I prefer forgiving 'virtual' copy!

  4. I dunno...I think it all depends on how good a typist you are! I spent years working on manual and electric typewriters, and now I swoon with love for word processing!

  5. Lord have MERCY! An ELECTRIC typewriter is a relic?

    I "studied" professional typing on an IBM Selectric at Katie Gibbs, the (now defunct?) posh NE secretarial cum finishing school that all the female Ivy League grads went to *after* that BA Latin/English Lit/Womens'Studies from Wellsley/Swarthmore/Vassar. Goal: get a job on "Mad" Avenue working for some rich guy and MARRY him. How very "Mad Men" indeed.

    If the IBM Selectric is a relic, I HATE to think what that makes me, lol. When I was in high school, my mother bought me a manual typewriter, which I lugged from place to place. When I took a hammer to my tortured IBM due to a creative dry spell during my senior year at college (yeah, I know, what a waste. But it FELT good), I finished that year typing out 100, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000, 000 etc. term papers out on that little MANUAL (I was a LIT major, with Psych and History minors, lol, after all).

    I notice you did not mention duplicates. Here's a memory for you: Gibbs demanded that every time we typed out a "business" letter for our imaginary boss and his company, we do it in TRIPLICATE. Does anyone remember heat waves, carbon paper, no central air-conditioning, spilling White-out on your best blouse or skirt (irreparable damage), carbon smudges all over your face, etc. etc.?

    A big event of my year at Katie Gibbs was having the Olivetti people come to speak and showcase their New Word Processors--a "wave" of the "future". Very impressive.

    PS: I had that manual up until the early 90s. I remember being able to buy ribbons for it until 1993. It may still be in my attic.

  6. about "Honeywell" and "Wang?" Carbon paper still gives me nightmares, and would get through an entire letter only to mess up on the closing. White out? How about those horrible little white paper lifters? I should have bought stock in them.



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