Saturday 2 September 2023
Friday 1 September 2023
Of the 2937 posts on this blog, one that I am most proud of was published on March 13, 2019, under the heading, “Betsy Beaton, The Boy With Green Hair and the Underwood 6 Typewriter”. There wasn’t a lot in it about typewriters, but it took many, many hours of research to identify the lady in the photo with the Underwood standard – and her achievements. The end result was satisfying to say the least. The post opened, “On the 30th anniversary of the World Wide Web, I went through an exhaustive exercise of exploring the Internet’s many failings, its virtues and the boundless opportunities it offers.” My old friend Bill MacLane commented, “Congratulations on another fine investigative report on someone new to me. I'm always amazed at how good you are at finding information on relatively unknown (at least to me) people and such detail you are able to post.”
Earlier this year I had cause to comment on Instagram and Facebook, “One of the best things about [blogging] is making contact, through comments, with descendants of people who have featured in past posts … [including] the grand-daughter of Betsy Beaton, who wrote 'The Boy With the Green Hair' … There was almost nothing online about Betsy Beaton until I researched her life story, and now I notice the IMDb, which previously had no details, has updated its entry on Betsy using info from ozTypewriter - without, of course, any acknowledgement. But, then, that goes for images I see almost daily on Instagram. I suppose I should be glad to be of service!”
This was in response to a message on Instagram from Susan Forman, saying, "Hello Robert, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful piece entitled, 'Betsy Beaton, The Boy With Green Hair and the Underwood 6 Typewriter'. If possible, I would love to have your email address. 'Wendy', Betsy's daughter, is my mother, technically mother-in-law, but we are very close and this article has meant the world to her. She too, would love to contact you." Needless to say, I've heard no more.
But this week I received another comment on the Betsy Beaton post. “KL” wrote, “This is incredible! Your post was exactly what I'd been searching for regarding the life of Betsy Beaton. I was wondering ... do you know where I can get a copy of her short story, ‘The Boy with Green Hair’? I was trying to locate it online with no luck. I see you have an excerpt here. I'd really like to read it all. I just found a copy of ‘Another Man's Shoes’ online and I'm tempted to buy it. I'm curious to read it as well.” The line I liked best was, "Thanks for taking the time to recognize a woman writer who was obviously undervalued at the time (and still is)."
Well, for that “KL”, here it is in full:
Friday 28 July 2023
I’ve been asked to service before sale this 1903 (serial #302981) Underwood 5. It’s history includes a thorough rebuild in the 1920s or 30s by an Elizabeth Street, Sydney, outfit called Typewriter Trading Co.
The Underwood is pretty close to being immaculate for its age, but I’m intrigued by the lack of a shift lock key. The right shift key automatically activates the lock, which is a lever with a small black knob on top.
I’ve looked at a 1908 Underwood 5 (#231413) on Ted Munk’s database and it appears to have the same arrangement. I also looked into Underwood 5 patents and noted that 120 years ago on this day, July 28, 1903, Edward Manning and Oscar Kavle were granted a patent for “an improved shift-key mechanism [which] has particular reference to the device for locking the platen in its upper position …”
This is clearly for the shift-lock key with which most of us are more familiar. So I'm guessing the earliest Underwood 5s didn't have a shift-lock key, but the lever instead. There are also one or two other tiny differences from the later model Underwood 5s I’m more used the working with.
Saturday 24 June 2023
World Typewriter Day was marked yesterday and merely acted as a reminder that Latham Sholes’s earliest patents were barely practical and needed a lot of work before a fully functioning typewriter could emerge. One man responsible for much of that work was Jefferson Moody Clough (1829-1908). The 1916 Encyclopedia of Massachusetts states Clough was also “paid handsomely” to perfect the Hammond and Yōst typewriters.
Sunday 12 February 2023
Saturday 11 February 2023
Friday 10 February 2023
Sunday 1 January 2023
Barbara Jill Walters (September 25, 1929 – December 30, 2022) was an American broadcast journalist known for her interviewing ability. Walters appeared as a host of numerous television programs, including Today, the ABC Evening News, 20/20 and The View. Walters was a working journalist from 1951 until her retirement in 2015. She died at her home in Manhattan on Friday, aged 93.