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Posts Tagged ‘typewriter

“Isn’t Baldwin a well-known pervert?”*…

 

Your tax dollars at work: the FBI’s files on James Baldwin…

Baldwin was “Jimmy” to most of his friends and to himself as well when he meditated on the various aspects of his personality. The numerous “strangers called Jimmy Baldwin,” he observed of his own diversity, included an “older brother with all the egotism and rigidity that implies,” a “self-serving little boy,” and “a man” and “a woman, too. There are lots of people there.” This secret FBI summary made the mistake of treating variations on Baldwin’s name and identity as a set of potentially criminal pseudonyms. For the Bureau, “James Baldwin,” “James Arthur Baldwin,” “Jim Baldwin,” and “Jimmy Baldwin” were “aliases” needing correlation and correction.

More memos on “aliases,” sexuality, and The Blood Counters at: “A look inside James Baldwin’s 1,884-page FBI file.”

* J. Edgar Hoover

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As we shake our heads, we might recall that it was on this date in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes, Samuel W. Soulé, James Densmore, and Carlos Glidden received the first patent for a commercially-made typewriter.  This early version looked like a piano with ivory keys for the alphabetical keyboard. The patent was sold to Remington & Sons who began production and later developed the Remington Typewriter with the now standard Qwerty layout.

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Written by LW

June 23, 2017 at 1:01 am

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain”*…

 

The Wizard of Oz, alphabetized.

* The Wizard of Oz

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As we strive for order in all things, we might recall that it was on this date in 1714 that English inventor Henry Mill was granted a patent (UK #395) for an apparatus “for impressing or transcribing of letters singly or progressively one after another, so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print, very useful in settlements and public records”– generally agreed to be the first description of a typewriter, the device that revolutionized the ability of creative minds worldwide to put their thoughts into print.  Mill never actually manufactured a typewriter for sale; in fact, it took many years to develop a truly functional prototype– the first of which was probably built by the Italian Pellegrino Turri in 1808 for his blind friend Countess Carolina Fantoni da Fivizzono.  Indeed, most early typewriters were aimed at giving the blind a means of communicating in print.  It wasn’t until the late 19th century (and the introduction of a QWERTY keyboard design as a standard) that typewriting became a wide-spread practice.

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Written by LW

January 7, 2016 at 1:01 am

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”*…

 

If New York, as E.B. White said, is a city that “never quite catches up with itself,” no one may be more aware of it than [Paul] Schweitzer. He is believed to be among the nation’s last typewriter repairmen, and he largely rejects computers, iPhones, laptops, and even credit cards in his workplace. Like a speaker of a vanishing language, he laments the loss of his tribe.

“There are fewer and fewer of us that do this,” he said. “Years ago, if you looked at the yellow pages, there were six pages of typewriter companies in Manhattan. Now, there’s us.”…

The poignant– and powerful– story of “The Last of the Typewriter Men.”

* Ernest Hemingway

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As we tap away, we might send darkly humorous birthday greetings to Samuel Barclay Beckett; he was born on this date in 1906.  A novelist, poet, and theatrical director, Beckett is best remembered as the playwright who created (with Eugéne Ionesco) what Martin Esslin dubbed “The Theater of the Absurd.”  His Modernist masterpieces– Krapp’s Last Tape and Waiting for Godot, for instance had a profound influence on writers like Václav Havel, John Banville, Tom Stoppard, and Harold Pinter.  Beckett was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1969.

No mean typist, Beckett turned out typescript for James Joyce (to whom he was an assistant in the 1920s), for the French Resistance during World War II, and of course, for himself.

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Written by LW

April 13, 2015 at 1:01 am

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed”*…

 

Readers may recall our old friend Michael “The Man of 1,000 Voices” Winslow.  On the heels of yesterday’s visit to the Crypt of Civilization, here is Michael’s tribute to one of the items therein: “The History of the Typewriter.”

email readers click here for video

* Ernest Hemingway

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As we capitulate to QWERTY, we might send deeply-thoughtful birthday greetings to a eloquent employer of the typewriter, Hannah Arendt; she was born on this date in 1906.  Though often categorized as a philosopher, she self-identified as a political theorist, arguing that philosophy deals with “man in the singular,” while her work centers on the fact that “men, not Man, live on the earth and inhabit the world.”  One of the seminal political thinkers of the twentieth century, the power and originality of her thinking was evident in works such as The Origins of Totalitarianism, The Human Condition, On Revolution and The Life of the Mind.  Her famous New Yorker essay and later book, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil— in which she raised the question of whether evil is radical or simply a function of thoughtlessness, a tendency of ordinary people to obey orders and conform to mass opinion without a critical evaluation of the consequences of their actions and inaction– was controversial as it was widely misunderstood as defending Eichmann and blaming Jewish leaders for the Holocaust.  That book ended:

Just as you [Eichmann] supported and carried out a policy of not wanting to share the earth with the Jewish people and the people of a number of other nations—as though you and your superiors had any right to determine who should and who should not inhabit the world—we find that no one, that is, no member of the human race, can be expected to want to share the earth with you. This is the reason, and the only reason, you must hang.

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Written by LW

October 14, 2014 at 1:01 am

Dude reads like a lady…

But not this dude (source)

In an interview at the Royal Geographic Society earlier this month, during which Nobel Laureate V.S. Naipaul provoked fury by suggesting that women writers are “sentimental” and “unequal to me,” he also claimed that “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not.”  Can you?

Take The Guardian‘s Naipaul Test and see.

As we X ourselves Y he might say such a thing, we might recall that it was o this date in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden, and Samuel W. Soule of Milwaukee, Wisconsin received a patent for an invention they called a “Type-Writer” (U.S. No. 79,265). It only had capital letters and fit in a box about 2 feet square and 6″ high.  The typists didn’t know if they were making errors because the paper, which was inside the machine, could not be seen as it was being typed.

The Sholes Type Writer (source)

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