As regular readers know, I just love old typewriters. Most of my productive journalistic days were spent pounding on a variety of Olympias, Underwoods, Royals, Remingtons and Smith Coronas.
There is nothing quiet like the experience of hammering away on long-travel mechanical keys, enjoying the tactile feedback as the typebars rear up and strike the paper through a grainy old black/red fabric ribbon. This is even without the nirvana of using a sheet of clapped-out old carbon paper to make a flimsy copy.
I’ve missed all this since the computer took over from the typewriter. Today’s chiclet keyboards and, even worse, the iPad’s virtual keyboard, are pretty uninvolving by comparison
Now, though, you can buy a Bluetooth typewriter such as the Royal in the picture. Converted by Jack Zylkin of Pennsylvania, this range of old typewriters can work with iPads, Macs and most computers. They even type on paper so you can rush off a good old-fashioned letter and have the file saved to the computer. Look, ma, no carbon paper. But where is the return key? This is the best bit: It’s the big chrome carriage return, so you can crash it to the right just as you did in the good old days.
This Royal Aristocrat from around 1945 costs $699 plus $95 shipping to Britain (typewriters are heavy beasts). If you are nifty with your fingers and the soldering iron, though, you can supply your own typewriter and buy a do-it-youself kit for a bargain $74. Jack claims it will work with most mechanical typwriters as you see here.
by Mike Evans, 12 September 2012