Friday, April 20, 2012
Nor-Cal Mini Type-In 2: Non-Electric Boogaloo
Cameron had the presence of mind to bring a real camera, whereas I was stuck with my cell phone and some notably low-res photos. Truly a celebration of low-tech on this fine day. Expect crisper photos from Cameron when he's able to get back to a computer and upload them.
Despite Cameron's apologies about minor paint scuffs and the nylon ribbon, I found the Corona really very nice to type with. Playing "find the controls" was another highlight. The backspace key floats over near the right spool, and the margin release is actually a pair of levers on the carriage. Double line-spacing is activated by rotating a small metal shape on the left of the carriage near the ratchet -- that's the best way I can describe it. Neither of us could locate the control to disengage the feed rollers, if there is even such a thing on this machine.
Since I already have to look at my hands to type, playing "find the punctuation" was an added bonus to the typecast. As you can see from the type sample, the apostrophe hangs out about the "J" key, which explains my intermittent typos. The other gaffes are purely just my inability to type properly, as usual. I got a little faster by the end of the page, and didn't have to adjust myself mentally as much to remember which shift button to press. I appear to use my left hand almost exclusively for shifting, and unhelpfully, both left-hand keys are labeled "FIG."
Corona owners: are there nuts that fit atop the spools? They seem to want to pop off when the machine is being folded. The Erika that I owned had them, but these spool posts didn't look threaded to me. We don't know if these are the original spools or not, though Cameron has the booklet for this machine, so perhaps there's a helpful illustration in there. We didn't check.
We got a number of passers-by this time as before. The table where we were situated is located in the middle of a professional building complex, and is a shortcut for pedestrians looking for a little shade. We got the usual comments like "haven't heard that in a while" or "I haven't seen a Corona in years!" Just as we were packing up, a woman in her 70s(?) came up to me and actually thanked me: "So many memories -- thank you so much for doing this."
Yeah, that was a pretty amazing feeling.
Cameron decided to bring the Corona, since all his "problem child" machines are currently in a working state thanks to a fortunate combination of luck and judicious cleaning/random prodding. This type-in was purely about the bling, and that Royal is probably the nicest-looking machine I own. It also is the first one I bought once I found that fateful "Typewriter Brigade" post of Duffy's, way back when, and it's the machine that made the inaugural typecast on this blog just a touch over four years ago, almost to the day. And here I brought it along just because it was shiny. Coincidences abound today.
I couldn't remember at the time, but the Royal is a 1932 model, so these two machines are roughly ten years apart. The Corona is a sprightly 90, and the Royal is a handsome 80 years young. More than once today did I make the tired joke about "I hope I look this good at 90!" That's ten years of technology advances in that photo, then, or put in modern terms, an iPhone 4S next to the original iPod.
Hey, Bay Area Typospherians! Maybe we can get together for a bigger 945xx zip code type-in. Say "hi" in the comments if you're interested.