There are certain sounds that are like nectar from the gods. The clicking of a typewriter is one of those. (For me, at least.) When I was younger, my parents had an electric typewriter. At the time, I loved clicking away on it, writing my stories, pretending and making up “documents.” I would also, occasionally, get a finger shaken at me for wasting paper and the ribbon. My Mom clearly did not understand how important the paperwork was for my pretend world. There was always something about the feel of the paper, the click of the keys, the whir of taking the paper out, and having that freshly stacked paper just waiting to be sifted through.
As an adult, finding a manual typewriter in an antique store is always an occasion for giddy delight that produces goosebumps. For a while, I could only admire them for the few minutes I passed them in the stores, drooling and dreaming of pounding away at my (yet-to-be-conceived) novel. Most were out of my price range or not in working condition. I was in Santa Barbara, meandering in and out of shoppes along State Street, when I came upon a gorgeous 1960s mint green portable. Mint green being one of my favorite colors, I instantly fell for it. Being a vintage shoppe, and Santa Barbara, it too, was out of my monetary grasp. With a heavy sigh and a last longing look over my shoulder, I walked out and down the street. The image of that typewriter taunted me for weeks, until I found the typewriter that finally filled the void in my life.
A 1960s Remington Fleetwing. I’ve searched by the serial number, but have yet to be able to pinpoint a year. While in value and rarity, this may not top the charts, I was ecstatic to find it. It was in great working condition, had a ribbon easily purchased online, and was easy to use. I immediately started clicking away on it. I also wanted lighter weight paper, so it wouldn’t be so bulky when I started accumulating several pages. I searched online and found onion skin paper. One more thing out of my price range. I instead use tracing paper I bought for about $2 a pad. It might sound strange, but it works beautifully, and definitely allows for flexibility when the pages start to stack up. I also figure when writing letters (the ones I don’t feel like writing by hand), it will keep the envelop bulge to a minimum and the postage under control. I love it, and it doesn’t smudge. And the light-weight, airy crinkle sound it makes is beyond pleasing.
It also came with the carrying case, which definitely had some wear, but still zipped and the handle was still strong. It had some pamphlets/books in it. Unfortunately, the actual operating manual was not one of them. At least, if I ever have to write a 1960s term paper, I’ll know how. The date in that one is 1967. I don’t know if this is something that originally came with the typewriter (and that would make the typewriter a 1967?) or if it was something added in by the woman selling the typewriter. I’m sure I was told at the time I purchased it, but my memory isn’t always the best. (And maybe I was just so excited to get this, I didn’t really hear what she said.) And the “How to Type” one makes me giggle. I love the letters on the fingers picture. Not sure why really, but it just seems silly. And we can’t forget those “make a picture with Xs” creations! (I remember doing those in high school typing class. Mostly on Fridays, when the teacher just wanted to keep us mundanely occupied.)
Remington typewriters are quite common. They were a very popular typewriter and there were multitudes of names and varieties manufactured by the company. Several famous writers chose Remingtons to get their ideas and stories out to the world. Including Helen Gurley Brown, Agatha Christie, Arthur C. Clarke, William Faulkner, George Orwell, George Bernard Shaw, and Tennessee Williams.
I made this purchase at Antique Village Mall in San Marcos, California. And might I just add, this place is amazing and one of my favorite antique stores. The first time I stepped foot in it, they had the oldies station playing and I was instantly greeted by “I’ve Told Every Little Star” by Linda Scott, and later “Good Timin'” by Jimmy Jones. *swoon* So I immediately fell in love with the place and felt as if I could stay there forever and take up residency. It is a fairly large building filled with booths of different vendors. The merchandise ranges from furniture, to crystal, to old military items, and everything in between. The people who work here are incredibly friendly and helpful. The vendor owner where I found the typewriter happened to be there the day I bought it. She was a doll and even gave me a discount. This is also the place that holds my dream record player, but that is a future post.
Photos: by me
12 thoughts on “Click Click Click . . . Ding!”
Neat! I always wanted one because I love how that Clicky sound reminds me of my aunt’s office where they STILL used typewriters (1999 BTW 😛 )… I even askde my dad to get me one, but he never got around to getting me one… Forgot this for a long time… Thanks for bringing it up 😀 , now I can add “Getting a Typewirter” to my list 😀
Cheers! This Blog’s Great!
Thank you! Glad I could help you remember something to add to your list!
So cool! Not sure if you caught it, but there was a great article in the Style section of the New York Times a few weeks back about the digital generation rediscovering the merits of typewriters. I got my Adler II from my mom’s attic. It’s electric and from the early-mid 1980s. Hey, my aesthetic sensibilities aren’t as sharp as yours, but I’m trying!
Funny: typewriting was the subject of my first post (posted few days after this, incidentally) inspired by that article (from which I shamelessly lifted the picture – please don’t tell them).
Anyway, I just found this blog a few minutes ago by way of the WordPress front page. How can I pass up Nosferatu? Looks cool. Your style rules. How do you feel about Roy Orbison?
Thanks, Brandon. I will definitely check that article out. Roy Orbison is as smooth and distinct as they come. Only the Lonely and In Dreams are my favorites! 🙂
Wish I knew how to post a photo in a comment… mine Lil’ tapper is also mint greenish, portable, came with a hard case, brand name Olympia. And I got it for free -trashpicked it like 13 years ago, right next door. Actually, I had a second one as well. Left it in the shed and the case rotted. Neighborhood girls loved typing on it, so I cleaned and painted that one and gifted it to one of the 11 year olds on her birthday, and do not regret it. Even gave it with a brand new ribbon.
Now, how’s this for a perfect evening (I own all of the following vintage items):
A glass of champagne from my shallow, etched vintage glass, listening to Bing Crosby on a scratchy vinyl (and loving the distortion) while lounging in a black satin robe, typing on my mint green portable about my recent antique finds from local collectibles stores….wait, LET ME STOP NOW! I’ve just been inspired here to make this a future post! Thanks for the inspiration.
Passing on the nostalgia is glorious! I look forward to reading that future post! hahaha 🙂
i miss my typewriter. my gramma bought it for me when i started junior high and had to write “book reports”. that typewriter single-handedly took me through junior high and into high school. i don’t recall getting rid of it. perhaps it’s in the garage, in it’s case, waiting for a jolt, a fresh ribbon and some click click whiz.
again, wow. lovely. thanks.
Ah, yeah, it probably feels abandoned. You should definitely rescue it and get it back into the “click click whiz.” 🙂
Great blog and lots of great posts!
There’s nothing like the feeling of composing on a typewriter….we had a really old, odd looking black one with elite type font- smaller and more italic than most – made it hard to read to some. …the sound, the somehow moves one to an alpha wave experience… when I use keyboard around people everyone always asks why I pound and type so loudly!….Well, it’s just because is as close to you can get to that old typewriter sound!
Haha, yeah the keyboard of a computer just doesn’t produce the same lovely sound or connection with what one is writing!
Besides the obvious sound appeal, using an old typewriter has the added appeal of pressing a button and getting a direct and levered response. That is to say, you press the button and the key strikes according to how hard you press it, but stronger. The direct connection is a little more personal and the leverage effect is like launching mashed potatoes with a spoon.
By the way, I write this at work, sitting not 5 metres from a 1980’s electric typewriter which still gets used a couple of times a week, mostly for envelopes (nobody I know can get a printer to print envelopes right on a regular basis) and cheques for people who have to be paid on the spot. It had a minor (but very frightening sounding) breakdown last week. However, it was easily serviced and was up and running again by the next morning, which is a faster, better and cheaper result than those of the frequent computer problems we have.
I also have a barely used manual kid-typewriter I was given as a little twerp sitting at home in its original box. I’m almost afraid to use it.
Yes, I love (especially the manual ones) that you have to give it an affirmative strike with your finger in order to get your words on the page. It’s not only delicious to the ears and touch, but it is therapeutic as well. I don’t think I would want to use the kid-typewriter either, if it’s still in the box. Talk about a treasure!