(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘typewriters

“I just sit at a typewriter and curse a bit”*…

 

Richard Wright and his Royal Arrow

Men (and women) and their machines:  “Writers and their typewriters.”

* P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse and his Royal Electric

###

As we let our fingers dance, we might send carefully-composed birthday greetings to John Ernst Steinbeck, Jr.; he was born on this date in 1902.  The author of 27 books, including 16 novels, six non-fiction books, and five collections of short stories, he is widely known for the comic novels Tortilla Flat (1935) and Cannery Row (1945), the multi-generation epic East of Eden (1952), and the novellas Of Mice and Men (1937) and The Red Pony (1937).  The Pulitzer Prize-winning The Grapes of Wrath (1939) is considered Steinbeck’s masterpiece and part of the American literary canon. In the first 75 years after it was published, it sold 14 million copies.  In 1962, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Steinbeck’s Hermes Baby

 

Written by LW

February 27, 2017 at 1:01 am

Synaesthesia…

 

From our old friends at Colossal, “The Chromatic Typewriter“:

Washington-based painter Tyree Callahan modified a 1937 Underwood Standard typewriter, replacing the letters and keys with color pads and hued labels to create a functional “painting” device called the Chromatic Typewriter. Callahan submitted the beautiful typewriter as part of the 2012 West Prize competition, an annual art prize that’s determined by popular vote. I don’t know how practical painting an image with a color typewriter is, but if Keira Rathbone can do it…

 

As we reconsider those typing classes, we might send large and colorful birthday wishes to Diego Rivera; he was born on this date in 1886.  Rivera left his native Mexico at 21 to study art first in Madrid, then in Paris.  He established a life-long friendship with Modigliani, and travelled in the circle (Braque, Picasso, et al.) that was hatching Cubism.  But he concluded his Grand Tour with a trip through Italy, studying Renaissance frescoes. Taken with that scale, Rivera returned to Mexico, where he “re-purposed” that reverently religious approach, using fresco to create wall-sized political statements– and in the process, founded the Mexican Mural Movement.

Carl Van Vechten’s photo of Rivera with his wife, the painter Frida Kahlo (source)

Written by LW

December 8, 2011 at 1:01 am

Tap, tap, tap…

There’s a certain elegance in the the earliest typewriters–  all of that mechanical complexity wrestled into utility.

The first commercially successful typewriter– the “Sholes & Glidden Type Writer”– was brought to market in 1874 by Christopher Lathem Sholes, with backing from Carlos Glidden and manufacturing support by Remington & Sons.

The lure of the clear communications (and the market it could create) made possible by typewriters attracted inventors and tinkers by the dozens.  Over the next 25 years, dozens of variations were tried (e.g., curved keyboards, double keyboards, no keyboards…) were tired; but by the turn of the Twentieth Century, the basic parameters of the typewriter-as-our-parents-knew-them were settling into place.

Martin Howard is an Englishman, living in Toronto– and curating a marvelous collection of early typewriters.  (Martin came by his passion in the family way:  his dad was an academic who studied antique mechanical objects.)  Happily for those of us who share his passion, he has sublimated his collection onto the web. At Antique Typewriters: The Martin Howard Collection, one can find a veritable “Burgess Shale” of machines dating mostly from that last part of the Nineteenth Century…  machines like these:

As we limber our fingers, we might might wish an animated “Happy Birthday” to Ub Iwerks, who was born on this date in 1901.  Iwerks met Walt Disney when they were teenagers, working together at a Kansas City art studio.  Iwerks followed Disney to California, and spent most of his career as one of Disney’s lead animators (though Iwerks did do stints at MGM and Warner Bros.).

Iwerks created Disney’s first hit character, Oswald the Rabbit.  But Disney lost the rights to Universal, and had to ask Ub to go back to the drawing board.  Iwerks first came up with with a female cow (who later morphed into Clarabelle) and a male horse (who later became Horace), but Walt wanted something different.  So Iwerks created a mouse…

Ub Iwerks

%d bloggers like this: