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The Typewriter Renaissance
Olenka Burgess
June 23, 2016 (0)

The Impossible Reading Lists of Summer
Olenka Burgess
June 20, 2016 (0)

Happy Sushi Day! How About Some Sacrilegious Asparagus?
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Week of Literary Love: Holden Caulfield
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The High Art of Smelling Books
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Pike Place Location Opening and Lizard Telepathy Fox Telepathy Open House
Staff
July 28, 2014 (1)

Indie Book Publisher Opens Office/Retail Space in Seattles Pike Place Market
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July 16, 2014 (0)

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Oprah Outs Armstrong; Irvin Mayfield Next?
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Friends of CMP
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The NOLA-Nippon challenge: week 2
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Viewed Sideways: a collection of essays by Donald Richie
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Bruce Rutledge
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An even dozen: slow books in a fast world
Bruce Rutledge
June 29, 2011 (1)

Last Chapter for an Island Bookstore?
David Jacobson
June 24, 2011 (0)

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Bruce Rutledge
June 16, 2011 (0)

Hurricane Story - Free Offer!
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Books for Katrina-hit New Orleans Schools
David Jacobson
May 25, 2011 (0)

Todd Shimoda wins Hawaii's top literary award
Chin Music Press
April 12, 2011 (1)

"The Apprenticeship of Big Toe P": A Review
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A great sorrow
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Blog Entry
The Typewriter Renaissance
Olenka Burgess
June 23, 2016

Nearly 150 years ago today, Christopher Latham Sholes of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, patented the typewriter. Although similar machines had been invented previously, the Sholes, Glidden and Soule Machine was the closest to the modern typewriter (if one can call a typewriter modern).

Once the typewriter came into wide use, many authors became passionate typists. Ernest Hemingway, Hunter S. Thompson, and Jack Kerouac were classic typewriter users, but even some contemporary authors like Cormac McCarthy insist upon continuing to type. Even when the typewriter fell out of favor and was supplanted by the computer, there has always been a faction of loyal typists. (Sometimes this loyalty was less passionate than passive—an office job I held through college continued using a typewriter for label making, I think simply because the typewriter existed in the office and did the job just fine. If it ain't broke, don't modernize it.)

Still, the past few years have been particularly rich with typewriters and typewriter enthusiasts; book and stationery stores around the country feature Typewriter Day celebrations and periodic type-ins throughout the year, and it has never been easier to find a mint-condition restored Olivetti or Hermes. In addition, typewriters have inspired some fantastic developments in art and technology as of late.

Entry Level
Tom Hanks, a charmingly outspoken typewriter advocate, partnered with Hitcents.com to develop a typewriter app.

Associate Level
You can now use a typewriter keyboard with your tablet or computer! For an old-school approach, you can convert your old typewriter with a USB adaptor ("A groundbreaking advancement in the field of obsolescence") or start fresh with a wireless typewriter-inspired keyboard called the Qwerkywriter. Get it? QWERTY mixed with quirky...not sure whether to love or hate this. Another development of ambivalece: the Comic Sans typewriter.

Senior Level
If you already have a beloved vintage typewriter and want to upgrade your output, typewriter art provides a world of astounding possibilities. Rachel Mulder is one such typewriter artist, and she will be featured at a Typewriter Day event in Portland, Oregon, at Oblation Papers and Press. Oblation is one of the West Coast's best spots to acquire a beautifully restored vintage typewriter—they even have an outdoor public typing station!

Dominic in Blue by Rachel Mulder

"Dominic in Blue" typewriter portrait by Rachel Mulder

As you can see, you have plenty of options for keeping the Typewriter Renaissance going strong. For further inspiration and information, check out the Typosphere blog and The Typewriter Revolution. If you happen to be in Portland, stop by the Typewriter Day event on June 25th, and if you're in London before July 17th, make sure to visit the Olivetti exhibit at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.



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