Friday, April 20, 2012

Nor-Cal Mini Type-In 2: Non-Electric Boogaloo

The typecast in progress

typecast 20120420

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.

Folding Corona in profile

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.

Cameron at work on the Royal

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.

Old Iron, getting some sun

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.


Richard P said...

Typewriters and Python? Perfect.

That comment from the woman is wonderful. People should thank us for typewriting. Absolutely.

My Corona's ribbon spools are just held on by pressure against the shafts.

maschinengeschrieben said...

Looks like a very nice type-in.

J.A. said...

Really nice! Thanks for the detailed and happy report. I'll be getting back with the indie bookstore owner this weekend - to see if he's willing to host a Type-In there. Stay tuned!

Bill M said...

Very nice type-in. Your post shows they need not be large and can be held almost anywhere.

Very nice looking typewriters.

Anonymous said...

Next time, hit me up! Annie Yu and I have been leading occasional letter socials, featuring some of my (less distinguished) collection of typewriters.

We've got another scheduled for June 1 in San Francisco at Arch Drafting and Supply...but we'd love to come type with you!

find us on twitter @snailmailsocial
or email me through the GMD blog!

lucia said...

Hi! Is the June 1st open to the Typosphere?

Dwayne F. said...

That looks like a nice way to spend a sunny day. Both machines look great.

My Corona 3 is an earlier variation with the shift keys on one side only. It has threaded posts with small knobs holding the spools in place. It looks like the one on except with a slotted segment.

notagain said...

Mine (1920) has nuts on the spools. I was told to snug down the takeup and slack the feeder when changing directions. You can see them in a photo from the first Snohomish type-in, about the seventh one down.

Unknown said...

My plastic fantastic and I would be glad to join you. I just recently joined the typewriter owning ranks (thanks to Mike Speegle) since my mom sold the S&C Corsair I learned to type on in middle school. I should warn you that I have a small problem with outdoor locations.

Cameron said...

Great reporting, Mike! You covered our event very well.

The camera I used was borrowed and quite an "antique" as far as digital cameras go. (Isn't it funny that it's only 6 years old!) Therefore, YOUR pictures are actually much more crisp than mine.

I'll be posting after I get back home to The Woods, probably on Monday. The folks I'm staying with are technologically challenged and don't have a scanner.

Thanks again for another extremely fun meeting, although it was far too short! Quality...not quantity.

Duffy Moon said...

So, in a certain way of looking at it, I had something to do with you having that beautiful machine?

Well, then. You're welcome.

Great write-up, Mike. And I thought the pictures were perfect.