Typer, typer, burning bright
A few weeks ago I felt compelled to paraphrase the great Ogden Nash by commenting, "I think that I shall never get to see, an ETCetera cover lovely as a Royal McBee. Perhaps, unless the Burns should fall, I'll never see a Royal McBee at all." ETCetera ephemera columnist Peter Weil, who has researched and written extensively on the Burns typewriter, immediately hit back with a rewording of William Blake:
Typer, typer! BURNining bright
In the collections of the night
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy shining symmetry?
ETCetera editor Ed Neuert responded to this little outburst of amateur poetry among the journal's board members by challenging them to come up with something which rhymed with Blickensderfer. I'm not sure the entries are fit to print.
But Peter's "Typer, typer!" effort just happened to coincide with a bonfire in Bonn, Germany, where a Nakajima Elite RS 500 portable appeared to have been set alight. It was all in a good cause, apparently - to take photographs to illustrate an article on "Freedom of expression, journalism, writers". It's described as a "Representative photo on censorship and repression. Our picture shows a burning typewriter, a burning book and a burning newspaper."
Remembering Ernie Pyle
Rachel Goodman of the Indiana Daily Student reported that the great Scripps-Howard war correspondent Ernie Pyle was remembered on Saturday, the 70th anniversary of his death, when a wreath full of red and white flowers was placed next to his statue outside Franklin Hall, Indiana University, Bloomington, along with two single flowers in front of his typewriter.
Other happenings included the reopening of the Ernie Pyle World War II Museum in his birthplace, Dana, Indiana, and a ceremony where Pyle is buried at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific at Punchbowl, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. Pyle was a journalism student at IU and then became a reporter at the LaPorte Herald and the Washington Daily News. He died on April 18, 1945, on Iejima (then known as Ie Shima), an island north-west of Okinawa Island, after being hit by Japanese machine-gun fire.
Not so sure that I can explain these images of American writer Bret Easton Ellis with the same brevity as I could the Bonn burning of a Nakajima Elite RS 500. So I won't try. Except to proffer the opinion that it's a little Underwood F-Model. And add that the photographs were taken by Tom Craig in the hills of Los Angeles. Nice pics, though ...
Right Royal back off!
But of all the typewriter-related pictures I've seen this month, this is my pick. I love it. It was taken at a stenographer's competition in the US in 1930. The second pic(k)? Harpo Marx, The Marx Brothers in The Big Store, 1941:
And the third pick. Six weeks after Idi Amin fleed from Uganda on April 11, 1979, officials told people who had had typewriters looted during his reign of terror to go to Mekerere University in Kampala to look for their stolen goods.
Imperial Desk Companion
I've no reason to be the cause of further frustration for Sydney typewriter collector Richard Amery, especially now that he has officially retired from politics and is a man of leisure. Yet it seems that just about every time Richard gets a notion into his head that his extensive collection of Imperial typewriters is almost complete, I come across another one.
A couple of friends of mine were clearing out their house when they came across this Oxford Monthly magazine they'd souvenired on a trip to England in 1961. It has an advertisement for an Imperial Desk Companion. It may be no more than an Imperial Good Companion Model 6 or 7 with a wide carriage and carriage supports. But it looks larger than that to me, more like a semi-portable. Has anyone ever seen one in the metal?
Typewriters in the News
Write your own book on a typewriter at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books Smokin' Hot Indie Lit Lounge.
What is it? It’s a typewriter! by Carole Currie, Asheville, North Carolina, Citizen-Times. "In all the Goodwill donations, flea market and garage sales I have participated in, there is only one thing I regret getting rid of and that was my father’s old Underwood typewriter. It was a small black machine, and by now it would look like a museum piece."
Protect Your Typewriter! by Vance Lauderdale, Memphis, Tennessee, The City Magazine. "A 1903 newspaper ad offered customers a way to 'Protect Your Typewriter' — something few people worry about today. I don’t know anyone who still uses a real, manual typewriter today. Believe it or not, I have a few of them, and just for a lark I’ve banged out letters to friends, who no doubt thought that once again the electricity to the Mansion had been cut off. Well, not always. I just liked the way the letters looked, and especially the different shades and texture of the type on the paper, depending on how hard you struck the keys.And mistakes? Well, they just added to the vintage charm. Anyway, like everybody else, one day I was looking through a 1903 issue of the Memphis News-Scimitar - just a typical night at the Lauderdales’ - when I spotted this ad for a gadget that would, as the ad clearly proclaims, 'Protect Your Typewriter'. And it must have done its job well, because just look how calmly that man is walking down the street, with not a care in the world for the valuable typewriter at his side."
With Typewriters And Rotary Phones, Tech Firm Goes Analog For April Fools’ Day, Cambridge, Massachusetts. "A Cambridge technology firm built a time machine on Wednesday, rolling back the clock to April 1, 1957. Workers arrived on the 14th floor of Endeavour Partners’ Kendall Square office building only to find rotary phones and manual typewriters where their computers used to be. A portrait of President Eisenhower looked down sternly from the wall."
WHAT'S A TYPEWRITER? It's what this Typhoon Yolanda survivor still uses to work her kids through college, wrote Lottie Salarda about Marilyn Ecap in Tacloban City, The Philippines. "For 24 years, a woman with a small table and an old mechanical typewriter have been fixtures in front of Liceo Del Verbo Divino, formerly known as Divine Word University, along Imelda Street in Tacloban City."
Typewriter Alert! Neenah Police in Wisconsin investigated suspicious packages found near Kohl's. Police say a woman had two typewriters with her and took them out of her car to make room. She forgot to put them back in and left them. Witnesses then saw two men in a car drive off fast, saw the typewriter cases and called police to report what they had perceived as suspicious activity. The owner of the typewriters called police to clear things up.
This lithograph for an Adler Modell 7 was created by Lucian Bernhard (1883-1972) in 1909. It was printed by Hollerbaum & Schmidt, Berlin.
Now for the BAD news ... the News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, chose to illustrate Teresa Leonard's Past Times piece "In the ’20s and beyond, the typewriter was the key to feminism" with this inappropriate image. There's barely a trace of a typewriter in it!: