Thursday, June 07, 2007

Where's the one?!?

My wonderful wife recently brought me home a present:That's right - a working electric typewriter!!! SO MUCH FUN. Now, I love Microsoft Word as much as the next person, but this thing is really cool. Sitting down with it, I feel like I should be starting the next great American novel, or perhaps writing a letter to the editor of some now-defunct newspaper. The thing vibrates when it's on, and there's a really satisfying "thunk" sound each time you type a letter and a great "ding" when you reach the end of a line. So I started messing around with it when I noticed that there is no numeral one anywhere on the typewriter. In the place where you'd expect to find the 1, there's a mysterious "M-R" key (any ideas as to what this does?). It seems that you can't type "1" without resorting to elementary arithmetic. You need to type:and "cancel" the 2 or 4. The strange lack of 1, notwithstanding, it has a decent set of features. It has a correction ribbon and a whole slew of characters:

Then I realized that I'd never seen an email address, and certainly never a blog address typed on an actual typewriter, so there was only one thing to do:
Also, if anyone knows where to get a ribbon for a Smith-Corona Electra C/T, please let me know at the above email address.

16 comments:

  1. Eli can it type an uppercase one: !, cause if you type ! with caps-lock on, you get 1.

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  2. Unfortunately, not only is there no 1, there is no ! either. I guess people in the typewriter days weren't very expressive.

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  3. Nooooo! The point of the fun toy was that it was FREE. If we by accessories it increases the cost infinetly.

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  4. ha ha, you used the coriour new font didn't you! classic

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  5. It was a dark and stormy night...

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  6. Since no one else has provided the answer to your query, and assuming you weren't joking and really did not know the answer, you need a real baby boomer to answer your questions:
    l. There is a one on the typewriter, it's the lower case letter "l" as I typed at the beginning of the line. (l vs. 1)
    2. MR stands for Margin Release; if you need to type one more letter or two at the end of the line, you can go beyond the fixed margin.
    3. I think my typewriters had an exclamation mark, but I don't remember.

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  7. Of course it looks better with Courier than Arial fonts.

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  8. Anonymous,
    1) I thought about that, but then I saw that the typeface for the "one" in the fractions is different than the typeface of lowercase-l.

    2) Cool!

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  9. Anonymous, there is no such thing as an exclamation mark. Instead use a lowercase i, and flip the paper upside down when you read it.

    i.e Eurekai
    Uh, wait that doesn't work.

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  10. i think my savta still has an electric typewriter, although we did finally convince/teach her to use the computer seven or eight years ago. she even does email now!
    for a while when i was in high school, my dad had one of those typewrite-computer hybrid things that had a 5 line screen with a rudimentary word processor you could use before printing. he used it to do some of his billing forms...

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  11. Hahaha! I'm sitting here with an old Smith-Corona Galaxie. I googled to this blog looking for the purpose of that "M-R" key. :) To make an exclamation point you can do one of two things.

    1. Hold the space bar down and type single-quote period or
    2. Type single-quote backspace period

    !='. :)

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  12. I was the orginal anonymous, and I thought you made the exclamation mark using two characters and back spacing. I figured it included the period, but couldn't remember what the other character was. Thanks.

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  13. I love the anachronism of the last 2 pics. Reminds me of this.

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  14. Eli can you confirm that 14 comments is indeed a world record?

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  15. 15, maybe?

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  16. I took typing in High School in the 70's, so here is what we did: To make a 1, just use the lower case L = l. To make exclamation point, use the apostrophe, then backspace and use a period.

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