Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Who Says Creativity is Dead, or Oh the Irony


I have recently been having some lively conversations with family members about my quite-recent typewriter obsession. I believe they think I've gone batty...well, except for my darling, and he's every bit as batty as I. In fact, he is at least partially to blame, because it was he who spotted First (RS#5) to begin with. That bit is a story for another post, however (as in, the one when I finally introduce First to the world).

As we were sitting, lurking upon the internet and watching television the other night (simultaneously, I might add; I'm not certain if we're fantastic multi-taskers or dreadful wasters of electricity), I stumbled across an article reposted on the Typosphere about the underground typewriter revival. The sub-heading read: "Hipsters and newbies alike rediscover those beautiful machines that go clickity-clack" I read through the article, which I enjoyed. But then a thought dawned upon me, and so I posed it to my husband out-loud.

"Since typewriters have become hipster-fodder, does that mean I have an ironic typewriter? Oh no, I have an ironic typewriter, don't I?"

First, he gave me that funny look that he gets when some absolutely absurd conglomeration of words falls out of my mouth, then replied.

"You don't have to have an ironic typewriter. Your typewriter can be perfectly...uh...'ronic."

And at this, I giggled. But it was the beginning of a conversation we have had many times before, which generally consists of the topics "Why is Everything Ironic to Hipsters?" and the timeless classic "How the Hell Can Facial Hair be Ironic?" And from there, it generally devolves into a mutual, good-natured, laugh-filled rant.

The very next day, I was speaking on the phone with my cousin, and boring informing him of my newfound time-consumer. He then made the mistake of asking, "How did you get into these typewriters, anyway?" Which launched me into a fifteen minute monologue on how we discovered First, my forays into typewriter research which put the fire beneath my bum to restore it, and how I felt I had probably rescued it from a key-chopper. After my mini-speech, things turned into a Q&A session.

"A key-chopper? What's that?"

"Someone who cuts the keys off an old typewriter, uses them in some craft and tosses the rest of the machine."

"So, what were you gonna do with it?"

"Well, I wasn't sure at first. I figured at the very least it could be an accent piece in the livingroom or something. But since I began researching it, I decided I wanted to restore it. Then, I can take it to type-ins and mount a case on the back of my scooter for it, maybe use the keys as a template for new-made, keytop-lookalike objects that I can use in my steam-punking, possibly even produce enough to save some more old typewriters from key-harvesting."

He then laughed. "Who says creativity is dead!?" 

After that, I got to thinking about those poor, disfigured machines. After reading several blogs today about beautiful and rare machines being abducted by key-choppers before the collector cavalry could ride in (and feeling absolutely sick about it), I looked over to the corner, where my work-bench sits. I had an antique ammo pouch on it, and I happened to see the end of a shell sticking out of it. I looked from it, to the typewriter and back again, and decided that if I ever come across a harvested machine, I'll refashion keytops for it out of spent casings. I think it would be an interesting project and a little poetic justice in the realm of upcycling.

I do feel sorry for my family. They listen about my new disease quite a bit, and none have complained yet. They all seem to be happy I have something to waste copious amounts of time on...maybe because I'm no longer on the phone with them as much anymore?

Use your words as your weapon (you may be able to bore an enemy into submission with them!),

Anna Strad.


  1. Its a fun journey you are beginning. One that will last a lifetime (or two)!

    1. Thank you Deek! It has proven fun so far! I've met some very gracious people during the course of my research, and I've decided I really like this community and the machines it revolves around! I can certainly see how it'd take me a couple go-rounds to get through all the great typewriters and related ephemera!

  2. shell casings as keys? that could work. I hope you shoot a lot of 303 or 30-06, tho. seems about the right size for most glass-key models. for newer plastic-key models (yeah, keychoppers vandalize those too), you may have to haul out the .45acp or the .50 BMG.

    PS. if you come to the next type-in, we might get to meet, assuming you're still somewhere around Tombstone.

    1. I actually have a 1942 Mosin Nagant which takes 7.62x54r. The round is very close in size to 30-06. I would LOVE to get my hands on a Lee Enfield, which uses the 303 British, but they're a little out of my price range right now. I have seen jewelry advertised that has been made out of the plastic keys, and I just can't help but think 'gee, you can't use a computer keyboard for that?' I think I can figure something out if a plastic-keyed project presents itself.

      While I'm no longer close to Tombstone geographically, I have plenty of reason to go there! When is the next type-in in your area?

    2. ahh, some people I know have Nagants - they seem to be the most available surplus rifle these days. Back in the 90's it was the SKS & Enfields that were glutting the surplus market. (:

      Next type-in is as yet unknown. It's Magoc Margin who puts 'em together with his fantastical organization skills. Will let you know.

    3. Haha, I think you're right about the Mosin Nagants. I see quite a few of them when I go out to get tackle or ammo at pretty much any sport or gun store. I wish I could have gotten in on the Enfield wave; they're hard to find here now, and expensive when you do. And SKS's are a touchy subject here in the golden state; the Norinco assault rifle has been banned, and it seems that, at least, the Chinese SKS may be falling into a darker gray area at this time. I have two books on the legalities, one specific to the state, and it is about the size of the Los Angeles phone-book!

      Please do keep me posted on the next type-in; I JUST found a typewriter that would be perfect to bring! It's a Remington Noiseless 7 and it's in great condition! I'm very excited about it--and to begin typecasting! I will be bringing it home next Tuesday.

      Thanks again!

  3. Your family actually enjoys 1) talking with you on the phone and 2) listing to you talk about all your interesting interests and hobbies.

    Guess who...

    1. Hee, I know who this is. Well, thank you! At least I know I'm not boring you all with my weird blathering! I hope I keep you amused. :-D