Saturday, October 6, 2012

A Different Sort of Manifesto

Salutations Typospherians,

As most of you know, I've been cooking up a way to re-key typewriters that have fallen victim to keychoppers. I've partnered up with another tlogger across the pond to begin collecting machines before they make their ways to the dump and we're going to throw several re-keying ideas at them and see what sticks. Our next course of action is to begin collecting machines, which is going to require contacting the sellers of cut keys and key jewelry, et cetera, and see if they still have any of the disfigured machines or would be willing to sell them to us in the future. Wish us luck on this.

While in the R&D stage of this project, I feel we're almost there, and we're anxious to get started. Last night (well, early this morning, to be technical) I got inspired to write a different sort of anti-keychopper manifesto. I had to write it out by hand, as Darling was sleeping, but I got it typed out this evening.

Please take it. Save it, share it, post it wherever you see fit. It was meant to be shared.

If you like it enough and feel strongly enough about its message, that is.

Brought to you by the Gray Ghost, the QDL with tombstone keys that has fast become my go-to machine.




  1. Good luck! The holidays are coming and I have noticed an upswing of bids of the key chopping variety on ebay.

    1. Thanks Dwayne! We've been noticing that, too, and finding it very disturbing. There is at least one keychopper local to me, and I'm starting my crusade with him. He and hubs are on the same forum, so hubs is going to send him a message about his machines. Next, onto Etsy. It'll be very difficult for me to be cordial through these messages, but I will do my damndest.

  2. Nobly stated. Typewriter quixotism forever!

    I've added a link to the manifesto on my blog.

    1. Thank you, and thank you again! I may turn it into a page, too.

      We've contacted our first six choppers. Awaiting the response is nerve-wracking!

  3. Uh, while I love the sentiment, here's my reservation: it increases the incentive to keychop. Now not only do they still sell the keys as before, but they make even more money by selling the carcass, too, which is an additional market.

    And I'm really curious about your re-keying methods. Surely you won't be buying the remains from seller A and some matching keys from seller B and then stamping out new key levers to mate them up, because if you could afford to do that, you could outbid the keychoppers in the first place.

    So maybe you are getting replica keys from China, but if you're doing that you could shorten the circuit by flooding the key market with a cheaper and easier source of crafting material---which I think is a great idea. Combine an awareness campaign via your manifesto with easily-spread word of the availability of a more reliable and cheaper source of keys. (They could buy as many "Shift", "Release", "Self Starter" and personal-initial keys as their customers want without having to pay for the "double period" slow-sellers.) Here's where a consortium of us with our many contacts and Kickstarter might quickly make a difference. Of course, there will then arise a snob high-end market for "genuine" typewriter keys, but it is bound to be smaller than the current one.

    Beyond that, you probably have an even more clever idea, so do tell.

    Of course buying the remains as parts machines is useful but, again, it increases the incentive to cut the keys off and we're still faced with a big shipping cost for a box of parts.

    Hope this doesn't seem negative; look at it as building up the curiosity about your project. As a wise woman once said, "Awaiting the response is nerve-wracking."

    Michael Höhne

    1. You do bring up very valid concerns, Michael, and the re-keying is still in the planning stage, but I assure you I'm not going to be buying chopped keys to go back onto a machine! That would, indeed, be silly.

      Outsourcing to China is a thought, but I would also like to make keys myself. I'm not going to go into the particulars here, because I'd like to see if the theory works in practice.

      But don't bogart the resources, man! We will need all the help we can get with this, including re-homing some of these machines, whether they are finished, as parts machines or what-have-you. I have a tiny flat that's already quite full of machines that are mostly working, as well as some worthy projects. Too many more and I'll be swimming, the seams of my home bursting, and typewriters flying everywhere.

      As far as the profit the choppers will make from the carcass, if I can get it for free, wonderful, and I'm not willing to offer too much to them for many reasons. But if a few dollars will save a disfigured but redeemable machine from making a trip to the dump, then so be it. They're going to continue to chop, whether we buy the carcasses or not. Like the pelt hunters driving the buffalo to the brink of extinction and leaving 90% of the animal to rot in the sun.

  4. I'll add your manifesto to my blog.

    Too bad we cannot chop the fingers off of all the key choppers. It would be one thing to make jewelry from non repairable terribly damaged cosmetically machines and others in similar condition, but keychoppers destroy good machines!

    1. Thank you, Bill!

      This is my point exactly. They don't use trashed machines for the most part, but perfectly usable ones! Inevitably, some of the machines salvaged will go to parts, in one form or another, but it's better than going to the dump.

  5. Good luck in your mission!
    We're all counting on you.

    1. Thank you! We shall do our best!

      Actually got out this morning and picked up a very lovely, very dusty KMM in excellent condition. Found it on Craigslist at a downsizing photography studio for $25. Kechopper's got to get up pretty early in the morning to beat me!

  6. Heck yes.
    Well, if we all tried to spread the word to save machines from key choppers I'm sure more people will hop on the initiative.

    Blogging a anti key chopping thing today!

    1. Yes. Even of two people told two people, and those two told to more each, it would multiply exponentially. Hopefully it will spread like wildfire!

      Can't wait to see your post!