On the occasion of Remembrance Day, as we think about the heartbreak and sacrifice of war, these typewriter ads from the 1940s offer an interesting perspective on how even typical business was affected—and the significant impact the war had on women in the workplace.
These ads are from my personal collection and are part of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.
On this special day, I am happy to finally reveal the cover of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine. It's International Typewriter Day, commemorating this day in 1868 that Christopher Latham Sholes was granted a patent for his invention.
When I embarked on this project two years ago, I had no idea that the book would take so long to make. Epic floods, moving offices, personnel changes, working on the magazine and so on... there have been many obstacles. During that time, typewriters have only gotten older and more interesting! (And my collection of artifacts and vintage ads has grown considerably.)
The book will be heading to print in late summer. Please preorder yours in the shop. Thanks!
In addition to a few of my own photos, there are photographs by Brianne Walk, Andrea Corrona Jenkins, Cari Wayman, Celina Wyss, Cori Kindred, Denise Regan, Jane Bernstein, Joanna Brown, Sarah Book, Shelley Davies, Svenja Schulte-Dahmen, Tracey Ayton and Vanessa Pham.
Thank you to Caitlin and Kristen at Chronicle Books for being so lovely to work with!
Sets can be purchased in our online shop along with Shoegazing Notecards, a previous collaboration with Chronicle. Thanks!
As you might have read on the project page, the release of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine was delayed by some trying and time-consuming events this year — moving the studio and the big Calgary flood being some major unforeseeable circumstances that seriously infringed on my time. I am happy to say that the book is on track for release in early 2014. I will be posting regular updates in the new year here on the blog and on the project page.
In the past year, my collection of interesting and visually inspiring typewriter-related advertisements, ephemera and memorabilia has grown. (Thank you to some intrepid interns who helped scan over 500 items!) I also have met with some typewriter experts such as collector Martin Howard who will be providing some images for the book, Berkeley Typewriter, the proprietor of Canada's oldest business machines and some other fine collectors. It is nice to know that appreciation for the typewriter remains strong!
It is that time of year when I bring out my typewriter Christmas tree! Finley was spending the afternoon at the office, so I let him do the honours of unfolding the tree.
I didn't have any decorations for it—normally its tinsel branches and strange typewriter base are enough for me—but Finley thought it needed something more...
Lucky for us, I have no shortage of creative odds and ends... like a jarful of vintage buttons. These are the leftovers from assembling the goodies that come with the Dottie Angel book we published a few years ago (by the way, there are just a few copies left in the shop). Since all these buttons have shanks, we couldn't include them in the flat goodie envelopes that come with each book.
I also made a string garland of buttons by knotting the shank of the buttons at even intervals on a 6-foot length of string. The waxed thread worked really well since nothing slips out of position.
This was a fun! And super easy. The best kind of spur-of-the-moment creative activity.
During my trip to Toronto, I was fortunate to visit Martin Howard and his beautiful collection of early typewriters. His website offers clear and detailed photographs of his collection and is certainly the best site and photographs that I have come across. I am pleased that Martin will be sharing some of his images in The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.
I had not previously had the opportunity to see these early typewriters up close, let alone to see how they work. Martin graciously demonstrates two models, a Standard Folding and a Mignon 2, in the videos below.
A note on the photographs The photos above are ones that I took during our visit. Martin and I both kindly request that respect be given to our images and ask that proper credit is given if you use any of these images on your blog or post them to Pinterest or elsewhere. Personally, I have come across many unauthorized uses of my typewriter photographs for blog headers and commercial purposes. We invest a lot of effort into preparing the machines, lighting, equipment, etc and photographs of the machines are copyrighted to the photographers. Just because it is a picture of something old, the photographs themselves are not "public domain". thank you.
I'm having a terrific weekend for typewriter sightings! My friend Paige and I combed the aisles of the St Laurence flea market here in Toronto this morning. I always enjoy going to flea markets with Paige. We both love old stuff, but she's also a great companion because we're each on the lookout for different things, so we're not competing for the ultimate find!
Visit my Instagram feed to see more vintage finds (all of which stayed behind at the tables).
You did it! Thanks to your generosity, the funding goal of $25,000 for The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been met. The amount will be used towards production and print costs for this forthcoming book.
Now it is my turn to get the book finished!
The production schedule has been delayed—having to find a new studio really put a wrench into my plans and out of necessity I had to put the project aside for a few months. But rest assured that this book will be available just as soon as it can be. I'm very excited to start sharing images from the book with you.
Thank you to everyone for your continued support of my publishing endeavours. I am very grateful and motivated by your enthusiasm.
(If you'd like to preorder the book, you can do so right here at "The Standard" level. I will leave the perks up for a few more days before taking them off the site.)
"Jonathan’s work deals with the strange and complex relationships that exist between object, written language and the body. Interested in how language can shape thoughts about an object and its context, his works often being inspired by the text’s narrative."
I believe that some of the letterforms are from typewriters and apparently he has designed a typewriter to type out his own handwriting.
During my last few hours in Boulder, I was happily surprised with an invitation to visit Brad O'Sullivan's letterpress studio. (We featured Smokeproof Press back in issue #8's Letterpress Sampler. Copies are still available for sale in our shop.)
Thank you to Allison of Bird Dog Press for making this happen and for my Crafting Content partner-in-crime Heide Murray of All Good Wishes who also drove me to the airport after our visit. (Check out Heide's amazing felt creatures.)
In addition to the typewriter collection, there were plenty of things to keep an eye happy at Smokeproof Press.
Thanks again, Brad, Allison and Heide for your hospitality.
The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is just about at our goal! We're just $1,690 away.... please pledge to one of the various levels of support and get the book plus a project perk. Or simply preorder the book for $45 (we would need to sell 38 preordered copies, for example.) It would be great to see this reach 100% this week!
There's an interesting article on the Dell website about our project and the challenges of crowdfunding outside of the popular Kickstarter platform.
A French romantic comedy set in the high-stakes world of typewriting competitions? Mais oui! C'est Populaire!
Spring, 1958. 21-year-old Rose Pamphyle lives with her grouchy widower father who runs the village store. Engaged to the son of the local mechanic, she seems destined for the quiet, drudgery-filled life of a housewife. But that's not the life Rose longs for. When she travels to Lisieux in Normandy, where charismatic insurance agency boss Louis Echard is advertising for a secretary, the ensuing interview is a disaster. But Rose reveals a special gift—she can type at extraordinary speed. Unwittingly, the young woman awakens the dormant sports fan in Louis. If she wants the job she'll have to compete in a speed typing competition. Whatever sacrifices Rose must make to reach the top, Louis declares himself her trainer. He'll turn her into the fastest girl not only in the country, but in the world! But a love of sport doesn't always mix well with love itself ... IMDB
If you follow me on Instagram, you'd have seen a flurry of floral typewriter pictures this afternoon. I was experimenting with photos (digital camera, Polaroid, Instagram) for some the Typewriter Notecard collaboration with Chronicle Books.
TYPEWRITER NOTECARDS is a boxed set of 20 notecards and envelopes featuring photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers. It will combine our love of this outdated-but-not-forgotten icon into beautiful notecards suitable for a variety of occasions.
There's still time to get your photographic submissions in! Full details are right here.
I received a submission this week to share with you. I had already bookmarked Jessica's paintings before but they definitely merit posting on the blog!
Jessica Brilli explores the beauty in artifacts that have withstood a radical transition of function—from practical use to design inspiration and decor. These artifacts have an immediate and lasting appeal, now captured in Brilli’s paintings.
Although many of the objects—vintage typewriters, cameras, and radios—are not widely used anymore, they still have a place in our lives, for admiring and remembering more than using. Brilli investigates our cultural fascination with near-obsolete commodities. Will today’s technological devices have a similar effect in the future, or will their impression be fleeting because of their transient nature?
Jessica is a graphic designer/painter living in Quincy, MA. She works at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. "I design by day, and paint by night," she writes.
Getting my babies all in rows for a photoshoot this afternoon!
The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is at 75% of its funding goal. Your support would be very much appreciated! If you love typewriters, graphic design, beautiful lettering and vintage fashion, then this book will be for you!