New store for paper and typewriter-lovers: The Paper Seahorse

I'd like to introduce you to The Paper Seahorse, a new shop in Tampa, Florida, that is celebrating their grand opening this Saturday. Proprietor Tona Bell has been a very loyal subscriber for a long time and I had the opportunity to meet her a few years back. 

Tona writes, "We are a Southern Paperie + Makerie. We love all things writing and keeping in touch.  Stationery and writing implements, pens, pencils, typewriter, notebooks and such.  We love letterpress, custom and handmade invitations. To celebrate the creative spirit there all sorts of creative classes and workshops….writing, art, crafts, jewelry, sewing, creative business and making! We offer creative parties and special events. We are home to Tampa Type, the largest collection of manual typewriters for sale in the South."

Put a typewriter on it, Portland.

I'm on my way to Portland later this week and I'd love to see you at some UPPERCASE events this Saturday, October 10 and Sunday, October 11. 

First up is the Typewriter Jam at the Independent Publishing Resource Centre from 4-8pm. See lots of beautiful machines, explore some artifacts, type some letters and connect with fellow collectors at this free event. I'll be there with The Typewriter book for sale. If you are planning on purchasing a book in person, let me know and I'll bring a special vintage ad just for you! I'll have other goodies for UPPERCASE readers, too, whatever fits in my suitcase... which I have yet to pack.

Then, at 7-9pm at the same venue, the IPRC and I are hosting an UPPERCASE party. There's a brand-new issue to celebrate, a chance to pull your own letterpress print, food and drink... and I encourage you to bring your portfolio or crafts or other creative endeavours that you'd like to share with me and fellow readers. I love seeing what people are making and doing! You could be featured in a future issue.

On Sunday at 7pm at Shattuck Hall, I'll be doing a presentation about The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine. Tickets are $10, available here. If you're planning on getting a book on Sunday, if you can let me know in advance, I'll make sure to reserve one for you along with a vintage ad. 

Have a good week and I hope to see you this weekend!

International Typewriter Day!

June 23 is International Typewriter Day, marking this day in 1868 that the patent was granted to Christopher Latham Sholes. I'm excited to announce that I've just launched a website dedicated to The Typewriter, my forthcoming book. 

Here's an excerpt from The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine:

Christopher Latham Sholes

Christopher Latham Sholes

The Father of the Typewriter

The notion of a machine to replace handwriting had been toyed with for centuries. English engineer Henry Mill patented the concept in 1714 as “an artificial machine or method for impressing or transcribing of letters, one after another, as in writing, whereby all writing whatsoever may be engrossed in paper or parchment so neat and exact as not to be distinguished from print.”

Though there is a long list of inventors preceding him, Christopher Latham Sholes is the man history has awarded the winning title of inventor of the typewriter, patented on June 23, 1868. His machine was the first to be commercially successful and from it all other modern typewriters evolved.

“I do feel that I have done something for the women who have always had to work so hard. This will enable them more easily to earn a living.”

–CHRISTOPHER LATHAM SHOLES

To read more about The Typewriter, preview content and to place a preorder, please visit the book's website.

Secretary of War

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.

Uncle Sam wants every typewriter you can spare.

Uncle Sam wants every typewriter you can spare.

Limited wartime typewriter production.

Limited wartime typewriter production.

Twice-welcome is the girl who brings with her not only the will to serve, but the skill to save precious hours of working time.

Twice-welcome is the girl who brings with her not only the will to serve, but the skill to save precious hours of working time.

Any job a woman takes which releases a man is a war job.

Any job a woman takes which releases a man is a war job.

Here's to the girl doing one grand job... your own private "secretary of war."

Here's to the girl doing one grand job... your own private "secretary of war."

To the Girl he left behind him... these are lonesome, waiting days for you. The telephone is strangely silent. No door bell rings. Across a thousand, thousand miles of straining heartstrings, his hand rests on your shoulder. "Keep your chin up," he seems to say. "I'll be back for you."

To the Girl he left behind him... these are lonesome, waiting days for you. The telephone is strangely silent. No door bell rings. Across a thousand, thousand miles of straining heartstrings, his hand rests on your shoulder.

"Keep your chin up," he seems to say. "I'll be back for you."

These ads are from my personal collection and are part of The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine.

International Typewriter Day: book cover reveal!

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!

chicks at a typewriter

With cute chicks, pretty flowers and a typewriter, this Easter postcard from 1910 looks cute—but look a little closer and the whole scenario becomes a bit more sinister!

Typewriter Notes

Typewriter Notes is a box set of 20 different cards capturing the timeless appeal of the typewriter. Published by Chronicle Books, I curated and designed the set. It features photographs by UPPERCASE readers. The cover photo is by Jane Bernstein.

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!

another year

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make it an old-fashioned typewriter Christmas

1949

1949

1950

1950

1951

1951

1956

1956

1956

1956

1958

1958

1964

1964

A few more from my collection of old typewriter ads! To find out more about The Typewriter book that I'm working on, click here. If you'd like to support the project through a book pre-order, you may do so in the shop. Thanks!

The Typewriter: update

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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!

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button tree decorations

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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.

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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...

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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.

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Also on hand? Some handy waxed thread from the Maine Thread Company—we profiled them in issue #16 earlier this year.

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Finley and I proceeded to string multiple buttons onto lengths of the thread and I tied them into a loop.

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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.

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This was a fun! And super easy. The best kind of spur-of-the-moment creative activity.

the Martin Howard collection of antique typewriters

Martin Howard and his collection of early typewriters.

Martin Howard and his collection of early typewriters.

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Martin's display of typewriter tins above the workstation where he cleans and repairs his machines. 

Martin's display of typewriter tins above the workstation where he cleans and repairs his machines. 

In addition to machines, Martin has an extensive collection of artifacts, like this advertisement for the Crandall Typewriter. 

In addition to machines, Martin has an extensive collection of artifacts, like this advertisement for the Crandall Typewriter. 

A gorgeous Crandall from 1886.

A gorgeous Crandall from 1886.

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.

flea fun: typewriters & tea cups

Paige's lucky table! 

Paige's lucky table! 

I purchased this toy machine. It will polish up nicely for inclusion in The Typewriter book. 

I purchased this toy machine. It will polish up nicely for inclusion in The Typewriter book. 

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).

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I'm willing to suffer new shoe discomforts for a glimpse downward at my new striped sandals.

I'm willing to suffer new shoe discomforts for a glimpse downward at my new striped sandals.

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The Typewriter: goal reached!

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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.)