22 de abril de 2011

Imperial Typewriter Tourism

A typewriter enthousiast´s blurred vision of the former capital of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.
Admiral Tegetthoff monument




Three Wise Owls

The Republic of Kugelmugel

Orson Welles' Ferris Wheel
 

20 de abril de 2011

First Traincast

The Hermes Baby was marketed as being the top travelling typewriter of its time, used on the plane, ships, trains... so I thought to give it a try on a modern train... so here is a first train typecast (traincast?) ;)

Hermes Baby in action
somewhere in Tyrol, Austria



 

17 de abril de 2011

Typewriters in Music

I am planning a series on typewriter sounds, and as a prequel searched for songs featuring typewriters. Here are the results, for your entertainment only:

We start with a recent song of a young Canadian artist, Meb. It's called Anne Niverre and was made for the december episode (2008?) of Urler.tv on the theme Anniversaire. A very nice song also featuring an ukelele. Anyone recognize the typewriter brand?


Next comes Jerry Lewis' classic interpretation of Leroy Anderson's "The Typewriter" in the 1963 film "Who's minding the store?".


Greatly interpreted here:


See also a rare brilliant version on German TV 1973:

In case you wonder: at the very end the host calls "Jerry, Jerry" and he responds "Besetzt!" ("Busy!").

Going more rock, here is one of my favourites: Procol Harum's "Typewriter Torment", here in a live version from 1995. Note the excellent lyrics.


Next is the Bo Katzman Gang from Switzerland, who in 1983 released their hit "I'm in love with my typewriter". The song was composed in Basel and features a Hermes Baby (I heard this on Swiss radio).


Ten years earlier, Brian Eno is clacking away in "China My China" (1974):


Here is Tom Tom Club's funky "Wordy Rappinghood" (1981), sending in what sounds like a heavy office machine:


Too funky? Here is Dolly Parton, "9 to 5", which surely hasn't lost any relevance in today's working world:


Ok, let's chill out. Yann Tiersen's "Pas si simple", which is part of the soundtrack of "Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain" (2001):


The secretary and typewriter theme mustn't be missing. Here is the song "A Secretary is Not a Toy" from the 1967 film version of Frank Loesser's "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying", directed by David Swift. Also a child of its time!


That's all folks, or is it? Thank you for your hints.

update: "Evas Apfel Konzert in Weimar, April 2010" (Too sexy...)


update: Marian Call performing her "The Nerd Anthem" (two versions, featuring two different typewriters!):



Here is the second one:



update! Serge Gainsbourg, "Laetitia", featuring his Remingtion portable typewriter:


update 6-6-2011:
Stereo Total, "Dactylo Rock":


and the video version:

15 de abril de 2011

Ala - one more wing found

Good news! I just received a parcel from Germany - inside a rather rare Hermes Baby variant, namely the Italian made "Ala", licensed from Paillard, who produced the Hermes Baby in Switzerland. According to Schramm, Liste der Herstellungsdaten deutscher und ausländischer Schreibmaschinen, the Ala was produced from 1935 on, which is to say from the very start of the Swiss production. This machine has a rather low serial number - 1068 - and came in very good cosmetical condition. Mechanically, everything is in place, altough the rewinding mechanism of the draw cord is stuck - I guess I can solve this problem. The keyboard is Italian, but as I said, this machine was offered to me from a nice woman in Northern Germany whose grand-mother had used it.
Ala portable typewriter (6)
Ala, serial number 1068
Ala portable typewriter
ala decal - Italian for "wing"
The decal on the top left side is a silver wing - "ala" is the Italian word for wing. To the difference of Shane Slater's Ala (serial number 2991), there is no fascist "prodotto in Italia" decal on the top right side. Also, the serial number of my "ala" stands alone, whereas on Shane's machine, it says "(serial number) ITALIA".
Ala portable typewriter (2)
low serial number
Ala portable typewriter (3)
Top view with Italian keyboard
Ala portable typewriter (4)
Ala portable typewriter (10)
The Ala is still a rare find. Apart from Shane's coverage of his Ala n° 2991, I am not aware of other internet sources on the Ala. In ETCetera No. 80 of December 2007 (1), Jos Legrand presents an Ala n° 2315 (greenish colour). Just as the one presented here, these are "first generation" Alas (ribbon spools are not covered). The ETCetera article also features a "second generation" Ala with covered ribbon-spools (n° 3844).

(1) Jos Legrand, Matouš and the Baby... But who is the Father? On the Origins of the Hermes Baby, in: ETCetera No. 80, December 2007, pp. 3 - 5

11 de abril de 2011

Typing it all up

Dear readers, I am happy to announce the proceedings of the First Official Swiss Typosphere Reunion, which took place this last Saturday, 9th of April 2011, in both Geneva and Lausanne. Please refer to Adwoa's detailed report. The video below gives a short impression of our indoor typing, which was later-on followed by typing at the lakeside.






in front of the Perrier Museum

preparing for the Swiss Championships...

at the lakeside - still typing!