≡ Menu

What typewriter is this?

Every now and then, I get a request from a reader, inquiring about a particular machine. “What is it?” they ask. “Is it valuable?” My first reaction is to wonder why they haven’t Googled it, but then I relent. A few clicks later, boom, I’ve got an answer.

Rewind to 1947. Some soul finds an odd-looking machine in storage and wonders about its history. In the days before Google, citizens wrote their local newspapers, who in turn wrote their readers. Such was the case for a recovered Calligraph, which stumped everyone including the resourceful minds at the Waxahachie Daily Light. “Its origin, its history is unknown,” wrote the paper. “All that remains is a description” — which they amply provide.

The paper concludes with the following thought:

“With a scrub brush and patience, the old machine might have possibilities. And though it can’t write its own forgotten lore, it might, with the dust shaken from its interior, serve a new generation.”

Here’s the article:

From The Waxahachie Daily Light (Waxahachie, Texas), Aug. 29, 1947.

© 2016, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 1 comment }

The song is “Run” by Tiggs Da Author featuring Lady Leshurr. Catchy. The first six seconds of the commercial feature a string of typewriters. Can you name them?

Also, goodbye QWERTY? According to the Wall Street Journal, Apple is working on a new keyboard:

Although the Apple keyboard would be a standard feature, it is likely to hold added appeal to those who frequently type in more than one language, including people in international business and students. People who use software with specialized commands, such as graphic designers and gamers, are also expected to welcome the versatility of the device.

For everyday users, the new keyboard would also make it easy for people to spice up their communications with emojis and other symbolic substitutes for words, which have gained widespread popularity through the spread of smartphones and social networking apps.

It’s Goodbye QWERTY, Hello Emojis as Apple Rethinks the Keyboard (Wall Street Journal)

© 2016, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.


Typewriters, girls, and drama…


Ouch! From the Daily News-Democrat (Huntington, Indiana), Jan. 15, 1907.

Traveling in the Central African Republic in 2012, I spotted a sign in a cafe reading, “Wanted, Pretty Girls for New Airline.” I did not know that people still regarded woman as “girls” in the 21st century, let alone that they could be seeking “pretty girls.” Alas, CRA is yet a developing country.

In the late 19th century and through a good part of the 20th, women were often called “girls,” and typists “typewriters.” A sampling of news and humor from this period serves as an interesting time capsule —


Call this a reversal of fortune! From the Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia), Oct. 28, 1888.

Put a cork in it! From The Daily Times (New Brunswick, New Jersey), May 25, 1896.

Put a cork in it! From The Daily Times (New Brunswick, New Jersey), May 25, 1896.

Wickedly funny. From the Daily Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa), June 21, 1892.

Wickedly funny. From the Daily Citizen (Iowa City, Iowa), June 21, 1892.

Two parts of one clipping:



From the Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Aug. 10, 1892.

© 2016, Mark Adams. All rights reserved.

{ 1 comment }