Thursday, November 20, 2014

Try, Try, Try Again! Back to the Future with this blog!

Well, Hello!

After many false starts, real-world excuses (I promise, no more of that!)... I'm attempting to stick with this blog for good. Simply put, Hooray! ;o)

Many hours of research has been invested to bring you information at the expense of this blog (not to say, acquiring a HUGE batch of typers in a short amount of time ;).  And with it, a brain that kept backfiring, like some old car-- forgetting what's what... I even forgot to post when I promised to do so! But that's not all:

My deepest darkest secret had created a crazy sabotage of its very own:

I'm confessing my worst fear and hurdle: Yours truly is very afraid of sharing erroneous information, that I actually kept myself from accomplishing, rather, really starting this very blog I've promised for so long! There, I said it!

As you can see, I'm trying to face my fear(s) and overcome my obstacles, so I can move forward and share my thoughts and indulge in our passions of collecting typewriters and embracing its designs and history. So I beg you dear readers, I can't do this without your help. If you see something that isn't right, kindly tell me right away, so I may fix the problem(s) and nip them to the bud-- posthaste! It seems I have the equivalent of obsessive-compulsive disorder when it comes to information. I love to see things done correctly, and would actually stop a project from reaching fruition if it is missing a 'few steps.' My poor ailing brain is leaking like a sieve, and many times I found myself rereading material only to forget a short time later-- again! It's tiresome, to say the least! So I'm trying to be brave, and blow past this wall/loop I'm facing in the hopes one of you will remind me of what's already in my files, or what I may have forgotten to share. ;o)

Without further ado, here's a recap of the "A Touch of Class: Learning about Teaching Typewriters," presentation I gave at the International Typewriter Collectors Convention on August 9, 2014. This presentation is quite involved; there's a ton of pictures and much more! If anything, it will take several days/weeks to cover what transpired in full detail. I simply couldn't stop researching this material, so I found even more information to share with you all!

Lastly, I must share the link of the special Masters of Education thesis I discovered which was written in 1939, that comes complete with pictures of the children using the Corona Animal Keyboard Typewriter. This remarkable paper substantiates and verifies the power of interactive learning... back in 1935 no less, when 100 of these Animal Keyboard typewriters were first created and tested with second graders in Chicago! Amazingly this Animal typer is quite rare today... and my burning question is, where did they all go? (Really, how can 100 typers disappear? ;o) I'll get to that special teaching typer in the next few days, as I must start with my presentation introduction-- but of course.

Away we go!

Below is my introductory slide followed by a text version of what I basically shared at the International Typewriter Collectors Convention:

Slide01: A Touch of Class: Learning about Teaching Typewriters

 Followed by the next one, introducing myself:

Add captionSlide02: Who Am I?

Hi everyone! My name is Gigi Clark, and I have a confession to make: I am hearing impaired and have been so since birth. What I don't have in my ears, I have in my eyes, and it gives me an unique  prospective of our universe at large! I managed to earn not one degree, but four! 

You could say I've been busy acquiring a lot of education, that my hubby John and I, jokingly call it being 'edumacated!' What it really is, is a wide range of disciplines. I was trained to be a chef with my first degree, switched gears and became a photographer, with my second. My third degree is in Visual Arts, and thereupon learned to be a very versatile artist, exploring all genres, from installations to multimedia presentations. 

My fourth degree is a big kahuna of sorts, as I have a passion for education, and helping others acquire information and helping them retain it. I have a Masters in Education; more specifically in Multi-Media, Interactive, Instructional Design. This degree also made me into an inspirational photographic arts instructor; I have taught all over the world, so to speak. 

But why typewriters? I used to hand set type for the letterpress, and it was a natural transition for me. ;o) Not only that, I learned typing in high school and I have fond memories of trying to get things right for my typing class!

As any good instructor, I gave unusual presentations, and used a picture of an old Remington Standard Model 12 I found off the web for one of my lectures. I wasn't happy with the picture quality, and couldn't enlarge the picture much beyond it's limited resolution/size. Next thing I knew, rather, told myself: I can do better than this! After all, I am a photographer by profession... 

It goes without saying that I'd decided to purchase a vintage typer, and create a beautiful image of it. Well, one typer became two, two became three, and I was truly, gosh golly, hooked! I couldn't stop researching their history, the way they were designed from an art point of view, the mechanical way they were made. Needless to say, these typewriter purchases and research became a quest, a crime of passion! ;o)

Slide03: Details, Melpomene

Some fun details to know: let me introduce to you, the lovely lady at the top of the screen. She's an interesting person, one of the 9 Muses of Greek Mythology, named Melpomene. You will always see her carrying the mask of tragedy, and wears a wreath of ivy. Directly behind her is the leaves of myrtle, which means fidelity and commitment (to projects). In the older version, her name means to celebrate with dance and song, which could mean storytelling, and the tools associated with them.

Loosely translated, today she is known as Goddess of Writing, as well as Learning, and of Creative Problem-Solving. These admired traits are found in all of us, as we pursue our quest of all kinds of typewriters, be it historical, repairing, writing and researching. We are here today because of her influence, sharing our collections and background information for the future. As my presentation is about teaching typewriters, I find her an appropriate choice to share with you, to inspire you in your quest! 

Below her, is a banner in written in Latin, which translates to: Creativity (aka Creative Endeavors) Opens Many Doors. If anything, I found in all areas in my life, that Creativity truly does opens doors, allowing you to meet all kinds of people; people I wouldn't ordinarily meet on my own. It's my hope I can enlighten you further, in a fun way. ;o)

Slide04: History Lesson #01, Typers become TOYS!, Interactive Experience

As with any culture, what the parents do, the children want to emulate! (Toy) Typewriters are no exception. Playtime is crucial to great child development, and with it, expanded knowledge and skill to participate in various areas of life as they grow up. 

Interactive Experience(s) is engaged learning situations; how several variables works together to accomplish one or more things that helps you in other areas. What's interesting, that very few people know about, is that when you learn one thing, the information is transferable in other areas, quite akin to cross training! Studies have indicated that musicians of instruments excel in different areas like languages and mathematics. The actual skill you acquire is the ability to be flexible, and adapt accordingly. Namely, creative problem solving.

When a child learns how to type, he/she is burning new passageways in the brain to store this knowledge. The more passageways you have, the more accessible your brain becomes in acquisition of new experiences, and with that, increased knowledge, skill or expertise. 

I'd like to call this phenomenon, 'Invisible Learning,' as it is not immediately apparent that the child, nor adult for that matter, does learn unique ways or patterns to expand oneself. But, given time, you can observe this phenomena in action!

Slide05: History Lesson#02, Show n' Tell, 1920s Typers

With this in mind, teaching typewriters have a special depth, for both child and adults alike. Let's go down history lane and check out what existed over the years, beginning with 1920s typers. I have three examples to show you:

Slide06: 1920's Typer#01: Index Typers--Gunka, Scripto, Frolio, "MW" to share a few

Here you see an example of the very simple index typewriter that was fabricated beginning of 1924 onwards. They come by several names: Gunka, Scripto, Frolio, to share a few. You move the large round knob (usually black) in front first, along a row of teeth directly beneath the 'keyboard' plate, and select a letter/number/symbol that you require. To the best of my knowledge, the person next operates the 3 knobs on the upper left, which controls the actions of the 'keyboard' selection, allowing for shifting for caps/choice from 2-3 rows of characters, to add a space between words, and allowing for carriage return. By pressing the black knob down, you activate a character wheel in the rear that impresses the paper via ribbon or stamp pad. 

Above, you are seeing an image of Robert Messenger's Frolio 5 machine, from his oz. typewriter blog/site. 

(I must say, many thanks to Robert Messenger, whose picture is displayed above along with a wonderful story about the Frolio 5 typewriter on his blog.)  

Here's one link to his site/blog:

A side note: 

Robert, I sincerely hope you'll forgive me for borrowing this picture, as I'm composing this naked typewriter blog out of town, and as luck would have it, I'm missing my slide of my MW index typer... I simply couldn't leave a blank space, as you well know! ;).

Let's move on to typers that often been called 'toy' typewriters, yet they were designed as affordable teaching and working typewriters:

Slide07: 1920's Typer#02 + 03: Cover of both Bing and Anfoe Typers

Slide08: 1920's Typer#02 + 03: Shared Body Type; Bing (black) and Anfoe (white) Typer

Next, I'm sharing the family of Bing and Anfoe typers, circa 1926-1927.  These are very lightweight typers, made almost entirely of tin. Bing Model#01 and Model#02 has plastic like, silver colored keypads, whereas the rare Bing 'Student Type' model has distinctive metal rimmed keys. As you can see in Slide#07, the covers dent very easily due to the soft nature of the tin metal.

Interestingly, I was able to discover the uber rare white Student Type model by Anfoe, only a few months ago, quite by accident. Since both Bing and Anfoe share the same body and cover, suffice to say I'm showing you just the Anfoe model. 

Despite numerous attempts, I couldn't locate much information, other than Anfoe, a toy manufacturer, must've shared licensing with the Bing Werke (also a toy company, based in Nuremberg) to be able offer this really hard-to-find white colored model with a gold trim, plus metal rimmed keyboard. Since no serials exists for these machines, nobody knows how many of them were made... of all of the models. More often than not, I've seen both Bing and Anfoe (when found) heavily used, with lots of wear and tear to the painted enamel surface. Luckily, the previous owner bothered to tag this machine, as I could barely see the logo on the cover. It is easy to imagine students of the 1920s using these affordable typers for learning how to type.

Well, today's missive is getting a bit long! Let me pause here, and resume the next part in the next day or two.

Thanks for taking the time to read this blog; I'm SO honored by your presence! 

A word to the human gobblers, lest I forget! May your Thanksgiving be wonderful and safe! 

(Kindly let me know if anything is amiss so I may correct it. Thanks in advance! ;o)

See you soon!

Warmly, Gigi :)

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hello World! I'm Baaack! It's Back To School Time, that is!

A musing:

In the beginning of time... there was word. And the word was typewritten.

Tick, Tok, Tick, Tok, Tick, Tok...

My, how time flies when you are having fun researching! Presenting, and what have you!

I'm finally back on Planet Earth, after a crazy summer. And yes, I have very, very good reasons being away from my blog for SO Long! Trust me, it's well worth the wait!

But first, a batch of kudos to Gabe Burbano for hosting the fabulous International Typewriter Collectors Convention 2014 in Milwaukee the second week of August!  I've made many wonderful friends, and gave a presentation there that was well received. It was my first time teaching-- rather, giving a seminar in quite some time, and it felt great getting back in the saddle again! Thank you all for making me feel so welcome, after hiding behind my computer screen for a bit.

Speaking of which:

Today is the first day of school for a lot of young (and older) ones, especially on the East Coast. Growing up, I remember always starting school after Labor Day, and with it, hearing previews of my current teacher's lesson plans for the next month or so.

Hopefully, I can keep your interest these upcoming weeks whilst I go through a merry list of topics to cover in this blog. My brain is so scattered nowadays, I've created lesson plans of my own, to help me 'focus' and better share with you what I've discovered! Once a teacher, always a teacher, you know?

But... what does that have to do with typewriters? Plenty, let me tell you! It's my hope to share with you all things related to learning about typers; starting with the wonderful teaching typewriters and subsequent topics that branch off from them: a bit of history, a dash of art, calculate some math, a pinch of reading, deal with graphic design (typology), a smattering of psychology or cognitive science, fondly called 'cog sci,' and so much more-- that's background information about typewriters.

By popular request, my first blog entry starting tomorrow, will be recapping my presentation "A Touch of Class: Learning about Teaching Typewriters," along with that uber special weblink everyone is/was asking me about. Not only that, pictures galore as well.  There's so much to tell, that I may have to take several days to do so! ;o)


Detour Time:

I confess, I'm swooning. It's SO HOT in my office, and no a/c in sight! Brain is so fried right now, can't barely get the words on the page... I'm going to have to close this missive. I tried to type these words on my "Barely There Shamrock" Torpedo for a typecast, and my fingers kept slipping on the keys (or am I chasing them?). Not fun!

Please forgive me o, typospherians! May the grammar gods forgive me as well!

Stay tuned... I will prevail! See y'all tomorrow!

Warmly, Gigi :)

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Growing Up and Deal With Bumps In The Road: Martin Luther King's Story Continues

Hi all,

Bumps in the Road, aka Part II:

I left you all in hanging last month, awaiting a new typer that has a sad story with a happy ending. You know, like Part II? :)

Thank goodness, it's still Black History Month! So, if anything, my story is still quite relevant.

A quick recap, please forgive if I repeat myself:

As you will recall, I chatted about my discovery of eleven year old Martin Luther King's typewritten letter to his dad, three days after his birthday, January 18, 1940 "on a child's typewriter."

After connecting with Stanford MLK Research and Education Institute, they weren't able to send me an actual sample of the letter due to copyright issues, nor has the national institute at Atlanta gotten back to me, despite leaving numerous messages. All I had to go by were clues from a small sample of this aforementioned letter typewritten on loose leaf paper; verbally and visually 'translated' by a helpful researcher named 'Dave,' residing at the Stanford MLK Institute. He stated: "It's really small sample; it looks like a Western Union telegram, all capital letters and quite blurry."

My first thought that the typer MLK used was the Bantam, which was produced for just one season in 1938, by the General Shaver Corporation, a division of Remington Rand. (Kindly review my last post, on January 21, 2014 for both story and pictures.)

To help the Stanford researcher give me a definitive answer, I quickly emailed, rather, texted him a quick snapshot taken of my Bantam typed efforts on my iPhone to see if the typefaces match. Needless to say, his response was that: "It's very close. Our sample is too small/blurry to make a perfect match."

Still, something bothered me-- nagged my tired brain. Even though my sample typed on the Bantam was a near match: all caps, with a sans serif Modern Gothic No. 14 10cpi typeface, the recomposed letter by me was too spaced out-- rather, too long to fit width-wise on the page (Modern Gothic No. 14 had more spacing between the words), and the lack of numbers impeded my efforts to recreate the actual letter.  Not only that, I found a November 2, 1933 Western Union telegram in my files, and it comes complete with sans serif typeface and numbers sent by Rosa Ponselle to give me a better idea of what telegrams looked like back then:

Western Union Telegram, November 2, 1933; Sent by Rosa Ponselle, Professional Singer
(Surprisingly, the telegram typeface proportional spacing actually looks and acts the Bantam's Modern Gothic No.14! Notice the spacing between the words, and the taller letters? Very, very similar. Still, numbers and equal signs are not part of the Bantam's keyboard-- so onwards, as they say.)

What to look at next? I needed to rationalize why another typer would be used-- better yet, to see this situation from entirely a different angle... I thought to myself, wouldn't Martin try to use his dad's typer, or better yet, type on one owned by the church that his father worked at?

To be more specific: I have had many happy recollections as a child, playing at our family store that's existed since the turn of the century-- having a blast stamping paper and whatnot, with their huge array of rubber stamps, typing on their typers and a host of other office activities at the same age. Surely, eleven year-old Martin would do the same?

But what of the institute comment? "Martin's letter to his father was typed on a child's typewriter..." Then I had an 'aha' moment! What if the child's typer was an affordable Depression typewriter, one that contained a somewhat complete keyboard with numbers, that would be good enough yet affordable for a humble church to own, or a minister to purchase? Perhaps a stripped down model intended for smaller budgets? That would be the Remie Scout, advertised as a 'child's typewriter' that sold for only $19.75. See the advertisement below:

Remington Typewriter Magazine Advertisement, 1932

Another holler goes to Richard Polt, whose website, The Classic Typewriter Page: presents Remington Portables, helped me understand how many Remie Scouts were made, and range of time that it would be sold. These typers were made between April 1932 to November 1934; approximately about 16,000 single case, and 24,000 double case, with or without the front frame.  In today's dollars, a $19.75 Remie Scout typer would cost about $337.21. Wouldn't that be the price of a low-end iPhone 5S, I think? Ah, the price of technology both then and now!

I pulled out my simplistic "Blue Valentine," a blue, frameless, two-tone Remie Scout that is all caps and of course, ran into my first hurdle: the paper feed rollers were flattened out. (How did I miss that when I purchased this about 4 years ago? ;) An oh, dang! moment. I had planned on typing MLK letter to his dad as I had done with the Bantam.  Here's a picture of this no shift key machine, fabricated by Remington just prior to Valentine's Day, 1933; the serial number is S28,494. The typer has a sans serif typeface, a Modern Gothic 20, 10cpi. (This time, the letters are half the height than the Bantam's Modern Gothic 14 typeface, more skinny width-wise, and less spacing between the words.) A petite typeface in comparison to the Bantam typeface, I would say.

Remie Scout Model. Typewriter #01

Well, a confession must be made-- I really, really wanted to provide a Remie Scout/MLK typecast for this blog! To accomplish that, I did a quick search online, and located yet ANOTHER Remie Scout, this time in a lovely two-tone green, without the shift keys, and also frameless. It was owned by the famous Durkee family that owned general stores up and down the coast of Maine, in a small town named Islesboro.  An estate auction was held, and the Durkee family were clearing out items from an old barn. And the kicker? The typewriter was stored for many years, and it came in pristine, brand new condition! It came with a like-new case and a very rare, almost new vinyl typewriter cover, stamped "Remie Scout Model." in gold foil. One must think the typer was bought, then put in storage and completely forgotten.

After quickly purchasing it on January 22nd, I ran into a truly big snag. I sent the seller packing suggestions, that really do work (and very easy to do) and she promised she'll follow them to the letter. Speaking of which, if any of you typecasters/collectors out there would like to have my easy-to-follow packing suggestions for your transactions, feel free to send me word! ;)

My fingers were crossed the typer would arrive in time to finish this blog for January. The big unlabeled package arrived on January 30th, and I could feel things moving loosely around inside... not a good sign! Suffice to say, upon opening the package, very little packing material was found to protect the cased typer. The vinyl typewriter cover was placed on top of the case itself, along with a small amount of erasable paper. The oh so sad part, is upon opening the case-- I could see this poor frameless typer had been banging around the case the entire trip from the coast of Maine to Southern California, where I live. Truth be told, the space bar was completely smashed (!) under the last row of keys. So much that it jammed the carriage as well. If a baby typer could cry, this would be the right moment.

Can I whine here? Really whine? No I can't, because its always counter productive... time to focus on the positive, and get this baby working again. The one good thing was that the finish wasn't harmed bouncing around in transit, unbelievably so! ;) I dare say, all this damage could've been easily prevented, but I had the seller's word that she would package this well, using my aforementioned packing suggestions. Sigh. Huge Sigh.

I will say, Good News do arrive in the midst of the carnage:

This beautiful yet damaged typer is a very, very early Remie Scout! The serial is S11,466 made early to mid April of 1932, the first month of production (Another shout of thanks to Richard Polt, who generously provided me with an exact age list for Remington typewriters, no less than a few days ago! Utter Joy! :).

The platen is virtually unused, super clean, the never handled chrome shiny, and the paper feed rollers in fantastic shape. As I name all my typers based on historical events (when the typer is made), or the previous owner-- this typer must've been created on or near the anniversary of the Titanic's sinking 20 years before-- it's tempting to call this "Unsinkable Molly Brown..." Mmmmph. But hey, I'm sure I'll come up with a better name than that!

These last few days were spent negotiating with the seller a refund to help with the cost of repair. Next, must get the poor critter in working condition, so that I may resume this blog and with that, submit a typecast of Martin's birthday letter to his dad, as it would look back on January 18, 1940.  Done! Finally!

Without further ado, here's the pictures of the repaired survivor; enclosed in its case and vinyl cover, by itself. Following is a subsequent letter/typecast on the Remie Scout, and finally, with the Bantam typecast (and Bantam typer) for comparison:

Remie Scout Model. Typewriter #02 in Case with Vinyl Cover
Remie Scout Model. Typewriter #02

MLK's Letter to Father, on Remie Scout Typewriter #02 (actual size)

MLK's Letter to Father, on Bantam Typewriter #02 (for comparison of typefaces- actual size)

Bantam Typewriter #02; added pic again to show frame + keys + appliance design

(This aside, I also purchased (yep, on a buying spree! ;) another Remie Scout that is arriving in about a week, a full frame that is black glossy with black keys, with double shift with "small and capital letters," as stated in the ad. Yet another typer in the same family is in my collection, is a pale two-tone green Monarch double shift typewriter. In the above advertisement, they both would cost almost twice as much, at $34.95. The reason these aren't shown is because the researcher at Stanford told me the MLK letter is all caps. I promise will feature the rest of the Remie Scout family at a future date. :)

I welcome all your comments! I'm still new at this blogging, tinkering my way through!

Please forgive the length of my tale, as I had to share all of it with you.

May your days be cheery and bright!

Warmly, Gigi :)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

You Can Teach Yourself Great Things: Martin Luther King's Typewriter (when he was eleven)

Just Write the Damn Thing, Part 1:

Um. Write the new blog. Oh wait! Gotta verify, verify information again… Dang, they aren’t getting back to me! Well, the first researcher did, and that’s good, but he’s not 100% certain. On the phone, he says,"it’s all caps, reminds me of a Western Union Telegram, and looks like it’s typed on lined loose leaf paper (ask self: were there lined loose leaf papers in 1940?). Still not 100% certain, because the sample is small and fuzzy. Sorry can’t send this to you…” So the search begins, and the deadline January 15th... for posting this incredible stuff has passed! Now my second ‘new’ deadline is today, a day after the national Martin Luther King holiday. Gee, I hope I can make it! 

Thus begins the travails of a very new blogger, who promised everyone she’ll follow up her first post a ‘couple of days later.’ Blogging implies responsibility, a followup of correct information to share with everyone. That’s why it took me four years to arrive at this point. It’s my 2014 New Years resolution to write a blog of sorts; I’m determined to get this wonderful story out, somehow, someway, despite me in the middle of alterations— rather customization of the blog page to make the space my own!

Bear with me a few moments, whilst I try to give you the backstory:

One of the usual New Year’s resolutions is to learn something new, and that turns my attention to writing about teaching typewriters with their colorful keyboards and how children learn from them, for my first typer blog post. 

But before I got started, I was immediately derailed by a thought  (I really should name this blog Unravelled Thoughts, eh? ;)… hmm… January… January events… oh what was Martin Luther King’s birthday, by the way? Naturally, I googled it, and boy was I buried deep in interesting information about his boyhood background and inspirational quotes! The hours flew by, and then I stumbled on a letter that eleven year old Martin wrote to his father, thanking him for his birthday present on January 18, 1940— three days after his birthday, which was January 15th. 

The Stanford MLK Research and Education Institute online archives mentioned the letter was written on a "child’s typewriter.” Oh, wait! A CHILD’S TYPEWRITER?!? Like, the teaching typewriter variety? That’s related to my original theme for beginning this blog! Thus began my quest connecting with the MLK Institute at Stanford, and subsequent phone calls to the MLK Institute at Atlanta, Georgia. MLK birthday came and went… of which Stanford kindly helped me a little bit, but was restricted from sending me a copy of the actual letter because of copyrights held by the Martin Luther King family. 

I quickly got creative and sent my acquaintance, Dave, a picture of the text from my Bantam typewriter on my iPhone. The Bantam is a most definitive child’s typewriter which sold for only one season, that of May to December 1938 (thanks Richard Polt for that information!), so he could tell me if the typefaces was a match. Long sentence that, but methinks you get the gist of it. Well, as luck would have it, he gave me a “I’m not 100% sure, it’s all caps, reminds me of a Western Union Telegram, and looks like loose leaf paper, as our sample is quite small and fuzzy…” with a host of apologies. He knew I would have to get further verification from the MLK Institute in Atlanta, Georgia that has the original for safekeeping/archives. Sadly though, my calls haven’t been returned as yet. But, I felt I had a very good idea which typewriter could’ve been used then: the Bantam, by General Shaver Corporation, a division of Remington Rand!

The Bantam typer was cheaply made from sheet metal, with colorful keys. Interestingly, the keyboard and typeface is in all caps and has some punctuation. The typer lacks numerical keys, and uses the Modern Gothic Large Caps typeface, No. 14, 10 pitch/characters per inch found in the NOMDA Blue Book- Remington Font Styles. (A shout to Reverend Munk, of To Type, Shoot Straight, And Speak the Truth… blog— I never, ever would have found this information out on my own, much less find this incredible NOMDA Blue Book for my archives! He has generously shared all kinds of typefaces for a range of typewriter manufacturers. Here’s the link:   1964 NOMDA Blue Book: Remington Font Styles

The Bantam's typeface is Sans Serif— that is, composed of clean lines that has no ‘hooks’ at the top or end points of the letters, and has very little space between the letters. What’s interesting is that there's larger spaces between the words (!); the spacebar actually inserts equal to the typeface size or larger spaces between finished words. Lastly, the typewriter sold for $10.95, plus $2.00 for the case. Below is a picture of one of my two Bantams that comes with an unusual appliance, that holds the platen in place whilst in the case… It’s a very unusual item to say the least— as I’ve never seen this elsewhere in the wild! The second image shows the appliance removed and placed to the right of the typer:

1938 Bantam Typewriter for Children

1938 Bantam Typewriter for Children (with appliance removed)

The Bantam has one of most ‘creative’ user manuals ever! It’s printed on newsprint, consisting of 6 colorful panels, that actually advertises the typer as well. The comic panel encourages parents to consider this model for the well-being of their children. See below:

Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 01
Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 02
Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 03
Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 04 
Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 05
Bantam Advertising+Manual on Newsprint; General Shaver Corporation, Division of Remington Rand
Page 06

In today’s dollars, the value of this typer would be about $174.00, a rather expensive typer for a minister’s son to type on! My hubby came to the rescue, and suggested that this typer could easily be found in at a secondhand shop, as the birthday note to his father was written by MLK two years after introduction of the Bantam typewriter. 

Instead of the usual typecast sample, I thought it would be neat do retype Martin's letter to his dad found in the Stanford 'King Papers Project' transcription, on my Bantam typer:

MLK letter to Dad typed on the Bantam typewriter; Typeface: Modern Gothic Large Caps No. 14 10cpi

On the other hand,  the typer could’ve been owned by the church office, easily accessible to MLK— But… Something bothered me… this wouldn't be a typer the church, much less Martin Luther King, Senior (aka Dad), a minister-- would use for his sermons. Ah! I have it-- but you'll have to find that out tomorrow! ;o)

May your days be cheery and bright!

Warmly, Gigi :o)

Links & Resources:

Richard Polt's "The Classic Typewriter Page" presents "Remington Portables: Bantam"

To Type, Shoot, and Speak The Truth blog: 1964 NOMDA Blue Book: Remington Font Styles

The Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford; King Papers Project

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Coming to you, very soon! :o)

January 1, 2014

Plain White Paper Alert-- albeit digitally written:

At last! At last!

A blog to share my adventures of the typer world at large!

(Confession time: this is my New Year's Resolution, to try and start writing interesting tidbits about my -- ahem -- typewriter obsession! Something I'm quite sure you all share with me! :)

A brave step for me, a chance to further explore the wilderness and compose text for you all to (hopefully) enjoy and perhaps, ponder a bit.

It's taken a better part of four years for me to finally come up for air, with a shaky hand or two-- Oh! I'm SO nervous!-- and tell you all my observations and discoveries of some fairly hard-to-find typers.

May the writer gods forgive my bad turn of prose tonight!

Hang in there a little bit longer, as I'm currently busy taking pictures, finding interesting documents within my files to officially start this blog in the next day or two. I had fun coming up with the title of this blog: The Naked Typewriter: Revealing What's There, as I've discovered all kinds of things other collectors hadn't known, plus pulling back the curtain to reveal art design of these wondrous machines... something I don't see nor hear spoken much about, along with historical information and much more.

About me:

I am a dedicated instructor, with a Masters in Education. I used to handset type for the letterpress, so when I couldn't find a great typewriter picture to use for one of my lectures, I said I'll photograph one of my own. It was a natural transition for me, from hand-setting type to collecting these machines... I was hooked!

As I began to research typewriters in more detail, I was recovering from not one, but two knee surgeries that put me out of commission for a little while. In a way, it was a blessing in disguise: you could say I was a captive audience at my computer-- the hours flew by and quite a few bits of information started to come out. I'm fascinated not only with the historical aspect, but the choices designers made in fabrication of these steel/aluminum sheets- to shape these pieces of metal in their quest to build the perfect machine! Needless to say, I began to garner interest from some of the top collectors, because of my unique research approaches, and subsequently found material that added to the pool of knowledge. With their support and encouragement, I humbly hope to share what I found with you all.

Thanks for being here, for being YOU! As always, I welcome all kinds of feedback, whilst I find my footing doing this blog.


Gigi ;o)