Thursday, October 14, 2010

Antique Artifacts

As Richard Polt posits, human constructed artifacts are created in a particular context of technology and culture. Technology and culture will then march, or perhaps drift on, slowly altering that context until such artifacts are antique, and are little connected to the technology and culture of our present.

The typewriter existed in a constellation of office culture and precision mechanical manufacturing expertise of the late 19th and most of the 20th centuries. Today, it is hard to believe that typewriter repair shops existed in every major city and that anyone could do work in an office punctuated by the staccato of type arms striking paper. The word processor has replaced both the typewriter and the typing pool.

The images are of a Remington Rand Deluxe Model 5, a portable manual typewriter that was manufactured before and after World War II. This particular typewriter was manufactured between 1946 and 1949. I found it at a garage sale and purchased it for a few dollars.

I learned to type on manual typewriters in a junior high school typing class in the mid 1980s. The sounds of the strikes on the paper and the ding when you near the right side of the paper are still a kind of music. It makes you think of the writer's den, the newsroom, and the busy office.

Some fun websites on typewriters are listed below. Craigslist, Etsy, and eBay are potential Internet sources for old typewriters. Garage sales, estate sales, and thrift shops are potential local sources.