Sunday, February 3, 2013

Catching up with ITAM, and a few intriguing sightings


Speaking of catching up, I haven't exactly been hunting for new finds, but as you know in Geneva the sightings are virtually unstoppable. Here are a few of the more interesting ones recently:

J was excited to discover this Lettera 22 yesterday in our local Salvation Army. With crude paper stickers on the keys, he thought at first this was a QWERTY keyboard (yay!), until we removed the scotch tape and discovered it was AZERTY (boo). Still, no big loss - I have my pretty pink Lettera 22, after all, and it's enough for me.

Another Olivetti that popped up in the same location a few months ago - an absolutely mouthwatering bright red Dora (here branded Underwood 319). Just luscious, but I restrained myself to just taking pictures.

Not exactly a typewriter, but - an original Dictaphone popped up in our flea market last month. How exciting! It still counts because it is typewriter-related... after all, when this was in use, it would certainly have been by a secretary with a typewriter, as seen in this photo from Wikipedia:

Here is a closer look at the Dictaphone:

How extraordinary that it should be so well-preserved! I hope it found a good home; it is certainly a special find.

How are you observing ITAM this year? I am now off to catch up with all the posts in my RSS reader... happy typing, everyone!

16 comments:

  1. Happy ITAM!

    Nice typeface. That Dictaphone is really neat. I wonder what recording media it used.

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    1. Some sort of wax cylinder, presumably? Technology likes this always reminds me of the movie My Fair Lady, with Eliza having to listen to Professor Higgins's voice recordings on the gramophone to learn how to speak properly...

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  2. Oh, that red Dora would be very tempting...

    I believe I saw a Dictaphone yesterday (See tonights blog), but I didn't pay attention to it.

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    1. It was! I did look at your post but did not spot the Dictaphone...

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  3. I love those old dictaphones. I'm hoping to get hold of one at some stage.

    Lovely finds you have there. Excellent!

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    1. Whatever would you do with a dictaphone? Oh, wait, don't answer that, someone's probably asked that about typewriters too at some point. I hope you manage to find one, it'd be fun to see your write-up!

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  4. Bill M, they used wax cylinders. You can see a couple of them under the machine in storage, ready to roll. You could only listen to them a couple of times after they were recorded before they had degraded too far to be usable.

    When recording, these machines just hovered a cutter over the wax cylinder, which was vibrated via sound being spoken down a horn tube that was connected to it.

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    1. Thanks for the fine explanation! Which takes me back to the question of - would these wax cylinders even be usable today? And we thought it was hard getting hold of typewriter ribbons!

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  5. Love the dictaphone too. Welcome back for ITAM!

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    1. Thanks, Peter! Let's see if I can keep up with all of you... :)

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  6. welcome back! I hope you are getting type samples and serial numbers off of these machines you're finding (:

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    1. I'm afraid I'm not much of a serial number hunter, as poor Georg has learned. I just like taking pictures, and I do make sure I peer at the type slugs just to see if there is some unusual typeface lurking there...

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  7. Good to "see" you again, Adwoa!

    Just last week I saw a Dictaphone at the the local thrift store where I found two typewriters -- a Remington Standard and a....still have to post about the 2nd one...anyway they wanted $350 for the Dictaphone! A bit out of my price-range.

    Best of luck with your "catch-up" month!

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    1. Good to "see" you too, Cameron! By Dictaphone you mean one exactly like this? They are seeming to be a bit more common than I had thought - still, nice to see they are being preserved somewhat. Expensive, though; I didn't ask about the one I spotted, but with finds like that you can already see the dollar signs in the sellers' eyes from a distance...

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  8. I suppose location is relative. You say "boo" to AZERTY keyboards, I say "boo" to QWERTY keyboards here in the U.S., especially since an AZERTY would have made such an impression when I was taking French classes last semester :). You have a wonderful website!

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    1. My frustration with the AZERTY keyboards - it is not so much the switched-about letters, which are bad enough, it is that you also have to shift to type numbers! That takes it over the edge of useability for me, I'm afraid. My AZERTY aversion has led me to give up some rather lovely finds, including a beautiful red Everest K2 I still remember fondly.

      I agree the accents are useful for typing in French - but that's the beauty of the Swiss-French QWERTZ keyboards. Still familiar enough to be useful for the QWERTY habituée, but with all the accents you would need for French and German.

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