Had the Typewriter Fates been a little kinder to me this year, right now I'd be in Milwaukee for the International Typewriter Collectors' Convention. The convention opens tomorrow and continues until Sunday. The city has been selected primarily as the home of the Dietz Collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum.
It's a shame I couldn't make it, but. as Ned Kelly once said, such is life. I had to make a decision last year between attending Herman Price's gathering at the Chestnut Ridge Typewriter Museum in Fairmont, West Virginia, or waiting the best part of a year and attending the Milwaukee gathering. I couldn't get to both, and I couldn't wait. Of course, I was thrilled to be at Herman's marvellous event. Still, for a while there I did hold on to some slim hope that I might be able to get to Milwaukee as well. It didn't work out that way.
If I had I made it to Milwaukee, I would have loved catching up with such wonderful people as Richard Polt, Peter Weil, Martin Howard, Herman Price, Martin Rice, Michael Brown, Mike Campbell, Jim Rauen and Dennis Clark. But also in Milwaukee are people I have yet to meet, such as Tony Casillo, the outstanding German historian Berthold Kerschbaumer, Cologne auctioneer Uwe Breker, Jack Knarr, ETCetera editor Ed Neuert, Robert Blickensderfer and the legendary Flavio Mantelli. For me, at least, this chance might not come again.
At the 2000 Philadelphia convention: Back Row: Tony Casillo, Uwe Breker, Mike Brown, John Ziegenhagen, Peter Weil, Jack Knarr, Ray Thomas, Martin Howard, Mike Campbell, Bruce Boyd, Jan Beck, Hoby Van Deusen, Chuck Dilts. Middle Row: Rich Cincotta, Paul Robert, Fernando Costa, Susan Howard, Jann Dorothy, Lin Lewis, Rick Spadaro. Front: John Lewis, Don Hoke, Angie Jimenez, Dave Lewis, Jason Brown. Leaning: Jay Respler.
Back: Don Sutherland, Dennis Clark, Bob Moran, Jack Tanner, Berkeley Rice, Larry Wilhelm, Chet Robinson, Remy Rubin, Fred Angus, Ken Gladstone, Rob Blickensderfer, Lou Schindler. Middle Row: Herman Price, Bill Kortsch, Darlene Lewis, Luisa Lopez Gomez, Jill Moran, Nancy Van Deusen, Valerie Gladstone. Front: Robert Nelson, Ron Ronzio, Jim Rauen, Francisco Diaz, James Siena.
The Milwaukee convention, the first of its kind in 14 years (the last, in Philadelphia in 2000, was attended by Australian Bob Moran), has been largely the work of New Yorker Gabriel Burbano. I did get to meet Gab at Herman's gathering last October:
Gabriel Burbano demonstrates his typewriter ribbon testing "gizmo" at Herman Price's gathering, as Martin Rice and Richard Polt look on.
Gab with Michael Brown
Among the presentations to be made in Milwaukee is one from Richard Polt on his book The Typewriter Insurgency: A Field Manual for the Typewritten Revolution. Richard's book looks at the creative new uses of typewriters in the 21st century and provides advice on selecting, using, and caring for machines.
Peter Weil will talk on Keys to the Office: Typewriters and Women; Mike Campbell on Rubber Tech, on rubber resources for the restoration and maintenance of vintage typewriters, including replacement rubber feet and roller recovery; and Thomas Fehring, a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, will discuss Milwaukee's typewriter heritage.
There is to be a manual typewriter Fastest Typist Contest, which will use copy from a 1924 speed typing competition. I wonder if Jack Knarr has entered? If he has, I'd be backing him - based on past form!
Jack Knarr demonstrates his typing skills for Jett Morton, Herman Price, Peter Weil and Devin Thompson. Looks like there is a Kofa and an Underwood 10 among this lot.
Gigi Clark will present A Touch of Class: Learning about Teaching Typewriters, in which she will share her discoveries and in-depth research of teaching typewriters, the 1930s machines that helped children learn how to type. This talk will feature the Corona animal keyboard portable:
To my good friends in Milwaukee this weekend, I will be thinking of you ...