Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Typewriter

Smith-Corona Coronet Super 12 from the 1970s.  I really don't know much about it, except for the fact that it was made after 1973 when Smith-Corona introduced the cartridge ribbon.  I just don't know much about typewriters in general, but I like old machines.  It has been in the family for a long time, but I'm not sure if it has been since new.  I found it in the basement maybe six years ago and Mom succumbed to my curiosity and taught me how to use it.  I've never done anything useful with this typewriter because there isn't really a practical use for it anymore now that computers are so widely available.  Even though I don't get to use it much, it's just nice to have.

I've seen baby blue ones online, too.  Either way, the colors of these are very pleasant.  


So, yeah. I don't know anything about this typewriter, I basically just know how to use it.  I tried doing a little research before writing this but there weren't very many useful results.  It has a steel body and weighs about 25 pounds. There's not a single scratch on it, the paper sticker above is still intact, and it still works like a dream.  I'm still not sure how long my family has had it because we always take good care of our stuff.  I guess I could just ask my mom.

The only sign of use is the white dust around where the letter strikes the paper.  

Click to enlarge

The keys on this typewriter are very sensitive, yet super satisfying to push.  For that matter, all of the moving parts on this machine just feel so beautifully balanced.  As I said before, I'm not an expert on these things so I can't relate it to other typewriters.  Anyway, the power switch is like a scroll wheel.  It feels heavy as I roll it upwards, smoothly and solidly sliding into the "on" position.  The typewriter makes a smooth whirring sound.  I'm not sure what it is exactly, but the power needs to be turned on for the arms to work so there's obviously something between those and the keys.

Ever wish caps lock applied to the top row numbers too? I sure did, and that is the case for this typewriter.  


The paper margin is set by pressing and moving two tabs to both edges of the paper.  As you type and come near the edge of the paper, a nice "ding" goes off.  It generally lets you finish the word as long as it doesn't get within maybe a quarter inch of the paper's edge.  The "Enter" or "power return" action is intense.  A gear or something disengages from the thing that holds paper and a spring pulls the entire, massive assembly to the right and it slams into place.  Something interesting I found just yesterday is that the space between the "Set" and "Clear" buttons above the keyboard acts as what I assume is a "Tab" or indentation key. I'm not sure what "set" and "clear" do, but I'm guessing it has something to do with indentation and left/right alignment for writing letters.  I don't know how to use those.

To go with the typewriter, Mom also showed me these correction cartridges: a white "Re-rite" and a "Lift-rite."

See "easily and" and "fiddle with"

To correct a mistake, there is a backspace button where the "tab" key usually is on a computer.  That moves the paper back by one letter.  The black ink cartridge is then swapped for the white "Re-rite" cartridge and the error letter is re-typed, covering the mistake perfectly.  If the typo was in the middle of the word, the backspace button would have to be pressed again so the new, correct letter can be laid over the void.  After that, simply switch the black cartridge back in and keep typing.

You could say that your "delete history" is visible with this tape.  

This "Lift-rite" cartridge doesn't seem to do anything.  
Not sure what's going on - it might have already run out or gone bad over time.

I wonder when the "^" took the place of the cent symbol above the 6 or if it was just characteristic of certain typewriters.

I forgot that too many keys pressed at once means the arms get all jammed up. Could lead to damage, I'm sure.  Oops.  I'm not sure if that would be much of a problem in normal use because keyboard smashing on a typewriter would just be a waste of paper and ink.  I'm going to assume that the action gained popularity after the computer did.  


This typewriter types loudly.  I'm pretty sure this it's not just because I'm used to computers; it's actually really loud.  Especially the power return that I mentioned earlier.  Every keystroke has a powerful, weighty response as if every component in this typewriter was built to last forever.  


That's it, I guess.  A wonderful machine it is.  I really would not like to get rid of this thing simply because it's just so interesting.  I could probably use this for art projects or something, or maybe for creating some cool effects with text alignment because it's so easy to do on a typewriter.  The font is really nice and unlike anything on my computer, so I could take advantage of that.

If anyone has more information on these typewriters, please comment!