Sunday, May 3, 2009

1969 Olympia Typewriter

Machines like this make a satisfyingly loud smacking sound as the keys hit the cardstock.

I can remember preparing to go off to college in the fall of 1969. My parents needed to equip me with a typewriter. We went to a typewriter store and learned all about the pluses and minuses of manual versus electric typewriters. Back then, the fanciest machines were IBM Selectrics that had a typeball and featured variable spacing. Most machines used the Courier font and had non-variable spacing.

My dad, ever practical and frugal, decided a West German manual typewriter made of steel would be the best choice. His $129 investment would pay off by giving me a typing machine I could use for the rest of my life. The machine you see here did get me all the way through college and graduate school. I used it to type a few articles on sailing back when I fancied myself to be a free-lance writer. I did earn a little money that way, but I think I was paid something like $0.10 per hour.

Well, I still have the Olympia and I still use it occasionally. It's fun to use a machine like this.

The kindergarten kids enjoy it. Most of them have never seen a manual typewriter before. We're using it to make little books out of index cards with words or short phrases typed on them. Whatever I type, the rewrite in their own hand, for practice writing and reading.

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