Buying a Typewriter

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  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 10:54:57 16,956 posts
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    Thinking of buying a typewriter, as I'm having a weird mid-life crisis thing going on and I want to get back to writing. I'm sick and fucking tired of staring at a computer screen and the thought appeals to me. Something that will be a bit more slow and deliberate without a myriad of distractions everytime I try to type 2 lines.

    Not sure what the hell I should be looking at. Anyone have / had one and can offer advice? A few sites offering up restored models from the 30s up to the 80s but I don't know what kind of things I should be wary of.

    Probably not, but thought I'd ask anyway.

    Also, I'm not a fucking hipster.
  • Wayne 24 Mar 2021 10:57:56 3,357 posts
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    If you take it to a coffee shop, you are definitely a hipster.
  • ZuluHero 24 Mar 2021 10:58:01 10,145 posts
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    Why don't you get a typewriter keyboard that mimics the feel and sound of one, without all the faff of using tipex strips and stuff?
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 11:08:22 16,956 posts
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    It's less the feel of the keys and more the whole screen thing tbh. Also, all that faffing with correction fluid etc appeals to me. Don't ask me why. I just have it in my head that I'd like it to be less easy to fart words out, possibly (hopefully) prompting me to be more considrate with what I choose to write and how I write it.
  • DaM 24 Mar 2021 11:31:58 17,681 posts
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    Also, I'm not a fucking hipster.
    I think we'll be the judge of that.
  • barchetta 24 Mar 2021 11:43:43 3,218 posts
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    Didnít Tom Hanks write a book about typewriters and collecting? Think he is something of an enthusiastic officianado. Might be some pearls in there if you want something Ďclassicí.
  • urban 24 Mar 2021 11:52:32 13,125 posts
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    He did! Tom Hanks - Uncommon Type
  • Salaman 24 Mar 2021 11:58:58 24,083 posts
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    Get an electric one! They're neat.

    /doesn't own a typewriter

    edit: or is it called an electronic one? I can't be arsed to look it up.

    Edited by Salaman at 11:59:19 24-03-2021
  • quadfather 24 Mar 2021 12:14:12 38,649 posts
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    I've got one and they're good, but you'll be spending a while adjusting to typing correctly, as you've spent the last 20 years on a keyboard with a convenient "backspace" key.

    Buy a lot of tippex.
  • fontgeeksogood 24 Mar 2021 12:17:25 12,913 posts
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    wuntyate wrote:
    It's less the feel of the keys and more the whole screen thing tbh. Also, all that faffing with correction fluid etc appeals to me. Don't ask me why. I just have it in my head that I'd like it to be less easy to fart words out, possibly (hopefully) prompting me to be more considrate with what I choose to write and how I write it.
    Just blu tac drawing pins to the vowel keys on your computer keyboard
  • RawShark 24 Mar 2021 12:21:36 1,744 posts
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    I'm going to save my typewriter days for when I turn into Angela Lansbury.
  • Razz 24 Mar 2021 12:23:28 979 posts
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    @Salaman I think we call those word processors. I always wanted one when I was a kid.
  • barchetta 24 Mar 2021 12:31:22 3,218 posts
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    Ah yes, Stanley Unwin, iirc, did an ad for Amstard when they were flogging PCWs I think...


    Ha, I meant Amstrad, but I think that Iíll leave it be.


    Unless anyone has some tipp-ex to hand?

    Edited by barchetta at 12:32:32 24-03-2021
  • Dirt3 24 Mar 2021 12:37:41 1,616 posts
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    I think this is one of those things you need to re-experience in order to realise how shit it will be. I have done similar.

    Luckily there must be quite a few of these things hanging around at low cost, as no one in their right mind would want something so outdated and difficult to use.

    Check out ebay. You'll probably be able to scatch the itch for less than £100.
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 12:39:57 16,956 posts
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    @quadfather What one have you got?
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 12:41:02 16,956 posts
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    I remember reading a news article on Hanks last year now I come to think of it. He sent a boy who was getting teased over his name a typewriter that shared the same name. Something to do with Covid as well... Corona, that was it I think.
  • MrWorf 24 Mar 2021 12:43:07 64,128 posts
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    @barchetta I still ahve my Amstrad PCW and a few discs with very bad star trek fanfic on them, nothing naughty, just very bad writing.
  • quadfather 24 Mar 2021 13:28:20 38,649 posts
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    wuntyate wrote:
    @quadfather What one have you got?
    It's an old American one. Looks like 1950s, but I'd have to get it checked out.

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/1tCzhK3XCHSRoXt56

    The good news is that ink ribbons are plentiful and cheap too
  • imamazed 24 Mar 2021 13:32:12 6,635 posts
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    quadfather wrote:
    wuntyate wrote:
    @quadfather What one have you got?


    The good news is that ink ribbons are plentiful and cheap too
    Sure, but you can only carry so many in your inventory slots.
  • quadfather 24 Mar 2021 13:37:46 38,649 posts
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    This is true.
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 13:46:23 16,956 posts
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    @quadfather That's nice, it's that type of thing I'm thinking about. Have you used it much?

    There is a more modern looking 80's era Imperial 200 being sold nearby for a mere 30 squid that I'm thinking about. If it works then I can fanny with it and see if it's something that I wil actually get into and if not, I've not tossed many beans on it.
  • quadfather 24 Mar 2021 14:05:00 38,649 posts
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    @wuntyate

    Not used it for a while, but I did check it out a few months ago to make sure it's working ok. It needs a good clean. You normally store them in the case, but as I'm a complete wanker, I just have it on a shelf.

    They're pretty solid things tbh, they can take a battering.

    I'm sure you could pick up one for buttons nowadays.
  • Your-Mother 24 Mar 2021 14:11:35 7,368 posts
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    Iíve gone down this exact route and it doesnít work. If you canít write without some specific aesthetic thing going on (especially if youíre considering it as a rudimentary system for more thoughtful writing), you arenít going to write full stop. Easiest solution if youíre sick of a screen is to just freehand notes using pen and paper and then type them up later.
  • barchetta 24 Mar 2021 14:17:22 3,218 posts
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    How is OCR these days? If you are after the physicality of analogue and the time to consider composition, but want the convenience of digital, type it or indŤed write it then correct on re-reading the converted result.

    Though quite a faff .
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 14:23:01 16,956 posts
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    Your-Mother wrote:
    Iíve gone down this exact route and it doesnít work. If you canít write without some specific aesthetic thing going on (especially if youíre considering it as a rudimentary system for more thoughtful writing), you arenít going to write full stop. Easiest solution if youíre sick of a screen is to just freehand notes using pen and paper and then type them up later.
    This is what I'm thinking partly. But yet again it might just be I need some kind of whimsical catalyst to kick start me into writing again and if it does that, even if I ditch it and go back to the laptop after a short while, then it's done it's job.

    Then again, as you say, it could be that I just can't be arsed writing in the first place, in which case it's not going to matter at all.

    That £30 one nearby is still available apparently. I can risk that I think for a failed experiment.
  • Your-Mother 24 Mar 2021 14:32:15 7,368 posts
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    Yeah, at the very least itíll end up being some nice decor and statement of ethos, like buying a nice montblanc pen or something.

    One other thing that killed it for me fwiw is the speed. Iím a fast typer and I ended up just getting super frustrated with both my fingers and brain going faster than the typewriter could handle, with letters getting stuck every few minutes. Slowing down didnít necessarily bring any better or more considerate writing, as ultimately thatís an editing process step anyway and doesnít really matter for first draft step for me.

    I did consider getting something like this at one point - https://getfreewrite.com/collections/writing-tools/products/freewrite-traveler - but again it was a case of ďif youíre not going to write without it, youíre not going to write with itĒ kind of deal, at least for me.

    Edited by Your-Mother at 14:33:05 24-03-2021
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 14:47:16 16,956 posts
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    @Your-Mother Aye that's the other thing that has crossed my mind, the typing speed. Back when I did bother my arse to write I know that in full flow I would just be battering words down to keep the momentum going, so it may end up just being frustrating, instead of a leisurely considered process.

    More food for though, cheers.
  • Rum_Monkey 24 Mar 2021 14:56:03 2,673 posts
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    One of lifes greatest sounds, such a satisfying sound.

    Still a hipster wanker though.
  • wuntyate 24 Mar 2021 15:44:37 16,956 posts
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    And then despite all that, I find myself hovering over the buy button on this:

    https://charliefoxtrotvintage.co.uk/collections/typewriters/products/typewriter-underwood-315

    I can see myself just sitting typing away on this. Mug of hot coffee off to one side, bottle of beard oil on the other.

    Even if I don't use it for writing stories, I can see myself using it to write my lyrics on.

    Edited by wuntyate at 15:45:36 24-03-2021
  • LegendaryApe 24 Mar 2021 15:48:04 2,414 posts
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    @wuntyate

    Oh Deanna Troi,
    The sexiest betazoid,
    Sit on my lap
    And I'll grease you like a haemorrhoid
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