Sunday, June 1, 2008

Tale of the Typewriter

So JenMarie and I drove down to CO Springs yesterday to pick up a 1940's Royal typewriter.

Joy, the woman we bought it from, said it belonged to her mother who used it a total of 3 times over the course of 40 years. Anyway, we got it home and it works great. The type is clean as the day it was made and there's even some ink left in the ribbon, if you can believe that.

I soon discovered, however, one small flaw: There is no exclamation point(!) There is a 1/4 and a 1/2 button and I'm thinking: why? You can make those with a one, a two (or a four) and a slash....and now that we're on the subject: why not 3/4?

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Travis, that's a cash register!" But trust me (we brought it to the doctor and had it tested) it's a typewriter.

JenMarie, being naturally understated, didn't see any of this as a problem. I, on the other hand, am something of a textual exhibitionist and was more than a little disturbed to find my available range of typographic expression so inexplicably limited.

Do you think people in the Olde Days were just less excited about things? I mean...with the Great Depression and all?

1 comment:

Syllogistic Bibliomancy said...

dear Travis,

In effort to maximize the key set on old typewriters, the exclamation point was effected by first typing a single quote or apostrophe (') then, backspace and type a period or full stop under it (.). This perhaps was also engineered so that writers would have to think twice before using them.