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 :)

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