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For those of a certain age, you'll remember the noise of typewriters.

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JR, Jul 6, 2007.

  1. goalmouth

    goalmouth Well-Known Member

    I learned to type on my mother's Royal manual, that's why I regularly break keyboards with my two-finger bashing. Moved up to a Smith-Corona electric later, which finally broke amid a senior weekend storm of college term papers. That same storm also claimed my friend's Olivetti, which had a sweet feather touch.

    As late as 1991 I was still typing copy on ruled paper with carbons for a magazine outfit in NYC.

    Don't get me started on TRS-80s. I once took a $70 cab ride to a Radio Shack while on assignment in Atlanta to get a new pair of acoustic couplers.

    Speaking of teletypes, 1010 WINS in NY still plays a teletype soundtrack under the news to give their broadcasts that newsroom feel.
  2. SF_Express

    SF_Express Active Member

    I wish I had one of my old typewriters, and regret that I don't.

    I love the sound, and ditto on the sound of the newsroom with the teletype machines and and the bells, etc.

    But I'll say this: When I wrote papers in college, if I had more than a couple of whiteouts on a page, I'd retype the whole page. And that was a major pain.

    I would have written 10 times better papers, and been a better writer, had computers been around when I was coming up. So I guess there's a plus there, too.
  3. ServeItUp

    ServeItUp Active Member

    Simple, SF. Do coursework on computers, newspaper work on typewriters. :)

    And yes, I regret I never entered a newsroom in the era of teletype and typewriters. I hear there also were flasks of comfort in desk drawers, which we need now more than ever (see any thread on Gannett, JRC, layoffs or all three).
  4. Songbird

    Songbird Well-Known Member

    Kind of funny because I constantly had to unlatch the ribbon spools and rewind them to the start to be able to use any remaining ink. The peck-peck, according to the yard sale dude, was from the early '70s, though I couldn't confirm that. I found that story a few weeks ago and read it, and it made me laugh, more out of the cornballity of it all. But I'll never throw it away. I wish I had that peck-peck. There's a possibility I know who may have it, but finding her could be tricky.
  5. Dave Kindred

    Dave Kindred Member

    For a birthday some time ago, my mother gave me a Royal typewriter, a portable that may have weighed 15 pounds. The first letters I typed, and I remember them because I said I'm going to remember these, were: S-t-a-n-l-e-y F-r-a-n-k M-u-s-i-a-l.

    Later, because I could not figure out how to format my computer to do letters, I did all correspondence on another Royal portable, a beautiful machine that I bought at an antique store. I bring it out every year or so just to smell the ink and oil.

    As I've said in other venues, you know you've mastered the art of concentration when you can hammer out a column on an upright Royal with a rainstorm beating down on the tin roof of the Augusta National Quonset hut press barn and you're sitting next to Art Spander. I always imagined myself in a barrel going over Niagara Falls.
  6. friend of the friendless

    friend of the friendless Active Member

    Sirs, Madames,

    Learned on a manual Smith Corona. Got it when when I was six years old (forward thinking mother). Hunt and peck, one finger, I started handing in my class assignments typed in first grade. Used the one ribbon over and over again, rewinding it by hand. By third grade anything I knew about cursive writing was out the window. (I actually print in all caps, rather than write.) Still hunt and peck, one finger (mostly, left hand for shift and the letter A).


    YHS, etc
  7. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    ahh yes, I remember it well -- through assignments and term papers...
    Might even have ours sitting at my parents house...

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  8. OTD

    OTD Well-Known Member

    I've got a few manual typewriters, including one that was my great-grandfather's that is very similar to the one in JR's picture. I've also got a couple of the gray Smith-Coronas with green keys like this:


    And yes, my first newspaper story (and many subsequent ones) was typed on a manual typewriter.
  9. Clever username

    Clever username Active Member

    Typewriters used to have blank keys? How did that work? Was it still a QWERTY keyboard?
  10. Bob Cook

    Bob Cook Active Member

    I feel like a fucking Andy Rooney convention just broke out.
  11. JR

    JR Well-Known Member

    No, the typewriters we had in our grade 9 typing class had blank keys. So you couldn't cheat.

    It was learning by rote. Yes QWERTY board.

    You typed f-r-f-j-u-j about a million times.

    At the end of grade 9 I was at about 75 words a minute.

    I always said learning to type was the only practical thing I learned in hs.
  12. jgmacg

    jgmacg Guest

    I also have one of these:


    Carved from what seems to be a solid block of lead, I defy any man less than 14 stone to lift it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
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