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Happy Birthday, Quirky QWERTY!

This past weekend the Quirky QWERTY turned a year old. Yep, I was able to stick around for at least a year to serve you typewriter entertainment and information. This year alone the Quirky QWERTY held a record three type-ins on its own, not to mention the numerous others that were held by other organizers. To celebrate this blogs’s first birthday, I’ll review some of my personal favorite posts from this last year, along with a link to their destinations.

JUNE 2018: 8th PHOENIX TYPE-IN

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Starting in June, Cameron Peacock of the Changing hands Bookstore in Phoenix held the 8th Phoenix type-in. Many familiar faces made the event, Including Joe Van Cleave, all the way from New Mexico. He, of course, brought his recording equipment and interviewed several typewriter aficionados, consisting of Cameron Peacock, Ted Munk, Bill Wahl, and myself.

Until a longer one is held, this seven hour type-in as far as my knowledge goes holds the world record for longest type-in. It consisted of many great events, including a speed-typing contest, where the winner received a 1940s Underwood, and a viewing of the typewriter documentary, “California Typewriter”.

This type-in will always live in the type-in hall of fame, at least in my opinion.

8th Phoenix Type-in Review

JULY 2018: SCIENCE FICTION STORY

In July, I started participating in Joe Van Cleave’s typing assignments, in which he gives his audience a month to write a prompted short story, where it is then featured in a video of his. The Prompt of this short story was to write about science fiction. This really brought out the creative juices in me, and so I whipped out the old Royal QDL and got to work. I eventually came up with a story about animal species evolving rapidly, and claiming the Earth away from the humans. I titled it Evolution.

Science Fiction Story

SEPTEMBER 2018: FREE TYPING PAPER

In September, Joe published a creative video called Free Typing Paper. It’s pretty much exactly what it sounds like. With the purchase of an item at any store, it is more than likely that you will receive a receipt. As Joe explains, these slim little pieces of paper are perfect for typing out little poems and thoughts. He even demonstrated how to make it look artsy by applying coffee stains. Of course, I had to try this for myself, and I loved my result!

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Free Typing Paper

OCTOBER 2018: TYPEWRITER ART

Another video by Joe displayed creative typewriter art one can create with just a crayon, a blank sheet of paper, and a sturdy typewriter. By typing over a thick layer of crayon on the paper, one can create colored type, but I took it up a notch and created shapes with them.


Typewriter Art

and last but not least, the most recent post…

FEBRUARY 2019: HAYDEN’S FERRY DAYS

I spent a Sunday afternoon with the legendary Bill Wahl at the Tempe History Museum at an event known as the Hayden’s Ferry Days. Here he displayed machines from the early 20th century on a large table while he and I informed people of the pre-computer era. It was a lot of fun, and I got to walk around and view other local business stands, enjoy free ice cream, and get a couple of free poems.

Hayden’s Ferry Days

That about wraps the last year up. There were so many great posts, and I look forward to the year ahead!

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Hayden’s Ferry Days

A couple of months ago, Bill Wahl of the Mesa Typewriter Exchange invited me to join him for a while at an event in Tempe, Arizona, known as the Hayden’s Ferry Days.

Hayden’s Ferry Days is a yearly celebration of the history of the city of Tempe. Held right outside the library and museum, they offer games, food, and fun. Bill Wahl has been invited year after year there to showcase his large collection of antique typewriters, most from 1902-1910, and to educate people of all ages about the “computer of the 20th century”.

Rows of machines, seeming to still evolve, line the table, such as the bright 1930s aqua Underwood, eager to stand out in a wave of dark machines of early-century machines

Though the event goes on every weekend for a month, Bill was only here for a few hours on Sunday. During this time, Bill and I introduced some new faces to the machines, and some ones that seemed overjoyed with meeting them again.

As you may see in the background, Poems on Demand attended the event, always looking to pound out a masterpiece for anyone who dares ask. I, of course, can’t come across them and walk away empty handed, so I asked for a poem about the prehistoric machines featured. I was lucky enough to come out with two, one each from a separate poet. One of the poems was about a secretary who might have toiled away at one of these machines, and the other was about the words hidden within a paper, that only the typewriter can free:

I especially loved this poem, as it provided the concept of words being trapped within paper, an idea that has never crossed my mind

While the poets were hard at work with my piece, I got to walk around and explore the beautiful typewriters. Seeing these prehistoric machines in person amazed me, and I couldn’t walk away without capturing them in their unique beauty.

This particular machine reminded me oddly of a modern three-hole punch. Perhaps its physique and color made it so

An interesting fact worth noting of the Bennet above, is that when any key is held down, it’s design made it so all the keys came down with it. For example, if the space key on the top was hit, the T,Y,G, and H keys came down as well. If the W key was hit, the S and X would also lower.

The unique Oliver No. 5 made an appearance, sure to catch the eyes of anyone used to the block-like design of any other typewriter

The Blickensderfer featured above is an interesting German sounding machine. Looking at it, it reminds me of a manual machine stripped of it’s shell, equipped with a ball similar to that of one in an IBM Selectric.

The fading keys of this Wellington is made up for with the well-kept body and seemingly working-order

Though I didn’t get a picture of the front of this 1902 Underwood (what a great machine!), I thought a feature shown from the side of it was worth noting. This is the only machine featured here at least, that did not come equipped with it’s own ribbon reverse. Imagine every so often, having to take the the dial shown in the rectangular hole, and spin it by the handle until the ribbon was reset. Talk about first world problems! Despite being 117 years old, this is probably the easiest machine to type on I have ever had the honor of tending to. They sure don’t make them like they used to!

Alas we come to the black (or rather turquoise) sheep of the crowd. This 1930s Underwood almost wasn’t displayed, until I heard an organizer begged Bill to keep it out, as it is arguably one of the most beautiful machines ever produced.

Normally I only write about typewriter-related subjects on this blog, but walking around the event, I saw something so different and creative, I can’t help but share it.

Parked proudly in the middle of the event was a classic BMW automobile, but what was done to it was the fascinating part. Upon closer inspection it is clear that the whole body had been painted with chalkboard paint, earning it the appropriate nickname, “chalkboard car”.

Standing next to it was what I assume to be the owner passing out chalk, free for any artist to draw whatever comes to mind on the vehicle.

All in all, it was a great event, and I owe it all to Bill for inviting me to go. Hayden’s Ferry Days in Tempe is still in progress every weekend until March 16th. The event was free the day I went, but some activities may cost money. I would highly recommend checking it out. If you want some more information, click the link below:

Hayden’s Ferry Days

The Typewriter Break

If you’re like me, you obviously have a passion for most typewriters. You create art with them and collect as many to your heart’s content (at least as much as your wallet will allow). However if you’re still like me, you might find that sometimes you’ll fall out of routine with your machines. They’ll stay in their cases longer, you might not be trying new things with them, you’ll stop reading typewriter blogs, and yes, you won’t update your blog quite as often. This is the subject I am addressing today.

To get rid of the elephant in the room, I admit I have not been blogging as often as I should, and it’s because I have “fallen out of routine”. It happens to the best of us. My good friend Bill Wahl at the Mesa Typewriter Exchange has talked about this matter before as well. He says he sees the public of typewriter enthusiasts like a wave. At some times, the wave is like a tsunami, and lots of enthusiasts are gathering, blogging, organizing type-ins, etc. At some times, it’s quite the opposite. People fall out of interest for a few months. Not as many type-ins are gathered, and bloggers might not update on a routine basis. I have been at the low end of the wave for a while. Ever since the last type-in in December, I just got burned out. The machines have been staying in the cases, and I just haven’t been updating. This kind of thing happens every once in a while, not just for me but for the public.

However, there is light at the end of the tunnel. The good thing about this “break” is that we can slide the carriage right back, fresh and restored. And after the break, the interest pops right back up again, and we break out the old friends. I believe this to be the stage that I am at right now. And after this, it’s possible that I might only post once-a-month, or on another routine like that. The important thing is, I’m ready to serve the typewriter community again.

I won’t leave you without some pictures just for fun though!

Here, I display the 13-inch carriage Olympia SM9:

Here, you can see the intricate cracks in the nameplate unseen from afar

3rd CSL Type-In Report

And yet another type-in is concluded. These events always lift my spirits.

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All the usuals showed up, such as Bill of Mesa Typewriter Exchange, Ted of the Database, and Cameron of First Draft Book Bar.

Though we didn’t quite get to the story time, I think it was alright, as all the attendees seemed satisfied at the machine they were currently putting to use. Besides, it was made up for with the festive lights that lined the tables.

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Festive lights added a fun theme to the type-in

And of course there were the snacks that immediately disappeared when feeding the hungry typers hard at work.

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Bars, water, and cookies were popular offerings for the guests

Unlike the last couple of type-ins, this one offered a steady stream of guests, rather than large waves all at once, which was wonderful, as it gave me an opportunity to take time to help each newcomer, even a young set of triplets! As the grapevine says, they were the lucky to go home with a Webster, though I don’t know exactly what model.

 

There wasn’t a drawing this time around, as we could not snatch up a nice typewriter from around the valley soon enough. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable event.

As always, a bounty a typewriter coloring sheets were provided, and entertained some young guests.

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Coloring sheets and utensils lay about, eager to be used

And I always thank the library for the clever button making machine:

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I even went home with some new pins added to my collection!

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Clever typewriter themed pins were a fun momento of the type-in

Something new that showed up at this type-in provided by the library were cards with typewriter-themed quotes. I took one home for myself:

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I can always thank the library for the generous display of typewriter books, always there to entertain the guests.

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This just about concludes the report of the the 3rd CSL type-in. As always, thank you so much to the librarians at the Chandler Sunset Library for making this such a successful event!

Before I go, here are some final pictures of the type-in in action:

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An Olivetti Valentine sits right next to the Sears Citation

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Every machine at the event was happily tended to!

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This beautiful ’36 SC (according to the Database) was a pleasure to type on

Thanks to all who came!

Don’t Forget: 3rd CSL Type-In Tomorrow!

Yes it’s that time of year again, type-in season! With the Phoenix Changing Hands type-in wrapped up, now it’s time for one at the Chandler Sunset Library TOMORROW, from 10:30 am-12:30 pm. The usual activities will be featured, along with a “typewriter story time”, featuring any soul brave enough to take the floor and read an original winter-themed piece put together at the keys of a typewriter.

Again, I apologize for not writing in a while, but I assure you that more great typewriter news is yet to come. See you there!

Chandler Sunset Library Address: 4930 W. Ray Road Chandler, AZ

Type-In 2018

Sorry It’s Been a While…

Even though it’s only been about two weeks since I last made a post, I recognize I typically update the blog much more frequently than that, and for that, I apologize.

A reason for this, is that I am currently working on setting up a separate blog for a friend, based on life on a farm.

I can assure you, though, that exciting news is headed this way. In early December, I’ll have a fun post that’s out of the ordinary. Until then, keep typing!

Phoenix Changing Hands Type-in Report

Sunday, November 11th, 2018 was the 2nd Phoenix Changing Hands Type-in, and I had a great time. There was a wider range of diverse machines. Even a Hermes 2000 that typed completely in Hebrew made an appearance!

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Perhaps the most interesting factor about this machine, was that it typed right to left, versus the usual left to right

Some of the diverse machines included one I’ve never had the pleasure of meeting before: this lovely Remington 666- truly a pleasure to type on. Using this machine was such an ease, I almost checked the back to see if it had a plug, resembling an electric!

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Most of the usuals were there- Bill spreading his typewriter repair knowledge to each and every machine that needed tuning up, Ted, handing out pamphlets for the Typewriter Database while hanging up the famous type-in banner, and of course, the Daily Platen himself, keeping the entire event in check. Sadly Joe could not make an appearance, but through the comment section on various blogs, he made it clear he was with us there in spirit.

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The Phoenix Typewriter Round-Up banner, which has never missed an event, watches the active type-in scene proudly

Poems on Demand made an appearance, typing up a true original to anyone who asked. I approached the poet and asked for a poem about goats, my favorite animal, and the result is what follows:

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Capra Aegagrus Hircus is latin for Goat

Lovely pieces of art created by the keys of a typewriter were proudly presented in between machines:

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A camera

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A close-up of a typewriter

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Piano keys

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Even an image as simple as a stapler can be portrayed magnificently by the pattern of letters, numbers, and symbols on a page, all in a pattern

That wraps up most of the main news for the event. Without further ado, presented below is a video and some pictures that caught the type-in in action:

 

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Even a couple a electric Coronets made an appearance, black sheep among the crowd of manuals

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The Daily Platen’s Hermes 9 made the event, as usual

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Though it is unknown to me who brings it, I seem to come across this lovely maroon Corona at every event

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I had a great conversation with the owner of this 1936 Underwood. She just bought it in August, and it is in pristine condition!

Sadly though, the time came, and I had to pack up my machines until my next type-in on December 8th.

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I did not leave though, without some souvenirs! The Daily Platen passed out numerous First Draft Book Bar stickers, and I was able to snatch up a few, to slap on my cases!

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In the car with newly gained stickers after a long day of typing

I’m not done yet, though. As a typewriter blogger, it’s my duty to inform  you of each and every type-in in Arizona, even if it does compete with my own. On December 8th, from 11:00- 2:00, there will be the first ever type-in at Union Coffee with a holiday theme.

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I wish I could go, but obviously I will be busy with my own type-in at the Chandler Sunset Library at the same time. See you there!

Type-In 2018