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A really rich life
Bruce Rutledge
August 22, 2020

We are launching an environmental imprint
Bruce Rutledge
August 3, 2020

Announcing our autobiographical novel writing contest
Bruce Rutledge
July 24, 2020

Discover Nikkei reviews Persimmon and Frog
Bruce Rutledge
May 13, 2020

For Ellis
David Rutledge
April 9, 2020

A Review of The Italian Barrel, 1240 Decatur
David Rutledge
March 30, 2020

Report from the French Quarter
David Rutledge
March 25, 2020

A Vida Count of Our Very Own
Tracy Wang
October 25, 2017

Bookshelves: the Ideal, the DIY, and the Real Life
Emmaline Cotter
June 5, 2017

Eggnog, Hot Cider, Mulled Wine, and What Else?
Jin Chang
December 15, 2016

+ see all archives +

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 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\" 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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